For the second season in a row, the Drury girls’ basketball team won’t be playing in the opening round of the Western Massachusetts Division II tournament.
Drury’s 15-3 overall record isn’t the best in the tournament. Athol’s 19-1 mark owns that distinction. But because of Drury’s strength of schedule, it was awarded the No. 1 seed.
"It’s a good reward, good to get the recognition," coach John Franzoni said. "I think our kids are anxious to go out and play."
They’ll have to tame that excitement for the time being. The first-round bye means Drury won’t hit the court until Friday. It also means it has the chance to scout its opponent one last time.
The Blue Devils are awaiting the winner of the No. 8 South Hadley/No. 9 Easthampton game, which is being played tonight. He said the teams use different styles.
South Hadley likes to run the floor, while Easthampton is more of a half-court team. Easthampton has a 1,000-point scorer, Elizabeth Whitney, that runs the point.
Drury has a history against South Hadley, beating them 43-40 in the first round two years ago.
"The good thing for us is we get to play at home on a Friday night," Franzoni said. "We feel great about being the one seed, but we know it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go out and win."
Hoosac girls’ basketball
On the other side of the bracket are the Hurricanes
"I knew we would be in that range. We’re very happy with it," coach Ron Wojcik said. "It’s a good seed for us. We get that prelim game at home."
They also get to start the postseason with someone they have some knowledge of. Palmer played in Hoosac’s holiday tournament. Wojcik was expecting to see them in the final, but the Panthers lost to Taconic.
Having seen Palmer play could be a big help, especially since the Panthers can thrive in the underdog role. They upset three higher seeds last year -- including top seed Frontier -- to reach the Western Mass. final where Wahconah beat them. Leading the way is 1,000-point scorer Alyssa Darling, who was a major piece in last year’s team.
With that in mind, after looking at this year’s results, Wojcik isn’t sure what to think.
"I think they’ve had a rough year, too. You look at their wins and most come against non-tourney teams. It seems like anybody they played that was stronger, they struggled," he said. "I’m hoping our pressure will get to them and force some turnovers."
Greylock boys’ basketball
The Mounties likely missed out on a first-round bye when Drury lost to Pittsfield last week. Had the Blue Devils won, it would have given them two more wins over a Division II team.
Instead, the No. 3 Mounties (17-3) host No. 14 Smith Vocational (10-8) at 6 tonight.
Despite not receiving the bye, coach Bob Thistle stayed on point, just as he’s done all year.
"We’re pleased to be a top-four seed and to be playing at home," he said. "We’re looking forward to get our tournament run going."
A win puts the Mounties into the quarterfinals against the winner of the No. 6 St. Joseph’s/No. 11 Frontier game, potentially setting up the third meeting of the season between the Mounties and Crusaders. Greylock’s 2-0 so far this season.
While most are already penning Greylock into the quarterfinals, Thistle will make no mistake.
"Everybody is playing a one-game season," he said. "[The guys are] going to play hard from start to finish, get after it on the defensive end."
When you lose just three times in a season, there are bound to be some impressive numbers. Greylock’s season is no different. Since losing back-to-back games in a holiday tournament out east, the Mounties are 14-1. The one loss came to Lee on Feb. 7, and it was Greylock’s only in-county loss.
McCann girls’ basketball
Despite a 7-13 overall record, the No. 9 Hornets were able to win the Bi-County West and secure a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament.
They will travel to No. 8 Monson on Tuesday for a first round game.
The problem for McCann is it needed Mary Nguyen to get the nine seed. The Hornets must now play without her for the entire postseason after she was suspended from the team indefinitely.
Monson is one of the teams coach Mike Dowling said would be in contention at this time. He was right, and his team will need a perfect performance to win.
The lone meeting this year ended in a 59-26 thumping by Monson. No Hornet reached double figures. Nguyen and Emijah Barton had six points.
If there’s one person McCann will want to guard closely, it’s Karyce Welsh. She hit four of her five 3-pointers in that game in the first half.