AMHERST -- The Drury girls' basketball team wasn't happy being tied at 20 with Wahconah at halftime.
So Danielle Racette and the rest of the Blue Devils did something about it.
Racette took charge and led the Blue Devil attack, scoring seven of her game-high 15 points in the third frame. It was enough to give Drury a lead it never let go of on its way to beating Wahconah in the second Western Massachusetts Division II semifinal, 51-37. The win sets up a date with Hoosac Valley on Saturday for the title.
"We started pushing more in transition, which, I think, helped us a lot," Racette said. "They were tough in the half court because they sagged off a lot. I mean we have good shooters but we definitely like to attack the basket."
Attack the basket they did. The Blue Devils had just four foul shots in the first half, as they settled for long shots and allowed the Warriors to control the majority of the rebounds.
That changed in the second half. Drury scored its first four points of the quarter off foul shots. The Blue Devils drew the fouls by driving the lanes to the hoop.
"We talked about attacking the basket better," Drury coach John Franzoni said. "In the first half, we didn't go strong to the basket and we didn't get to the free-throw line. We said we had to get stronger and get to the free-throw line. We had to get them into some foul trouble."
Drury started the fourth quarter in the bonus. That
It wasn't just attacking the basket with the ball that worked for Drury. The Blue Devils also started coming up with a majority of the rebounds in the second half -- something they didn't do in the first half.
"[Wahconah] got half their points in the first half on second shots and we said we can't do that in the second half," Franzoni said. "If we want to win the basketball game, we can't allow second-chance points."
Shannon Lussier and Maddie Sprague dominated the boards in the first half, allowing the Warriors to kick the ball out and score off rebounds. The Warriors hit three 3-pointers in the first half after collecting a rebound and dishing the ball out to the perimeter.
That changed in the second half, as Drury's Emily Moulton, Shannon Garvey and Ali Tatro began to dominate the inside game.
"We tried to get the ball inside. They were quick and jumped a few passes," Wahconah coach June Blake said. "We were unable to get our inside game going, which didn't allow our outside game to open up."
Tatro was dominate for the Blue Devils down low. She recorded five rebounds and six steals to go along with her 14 points.
Racette recorded 10 rebounds on the night. Emily Moulton contributed six and Shannon Garvey had five.
"When we got the rebounds we were able to kick it off and go in transition pretty quick," Racette said.
The third-quarter run was also sparked by Megan Benoit, who scored five points in the quarter. She was pressed into increased minutes early on when starter Morgan Lamarre went down with a possible shoulder injury.
"I was really nervous. But I knew I had to come in off the bench and play hard and just earn my minutes by playing hard and doing what I could when I got in there," Benoit said. "We just came out from halftime and said we can't give up second shots. We have to go out strong and [build a lead]."
Drury's offense kicked into high gear in the third. The Blue Devils outscored Wahconah 15-8 in the third. Wahconah was quickly in foul trouble.
"We wanted to make the first run in the second half and we did that," Franzoni said. "We got the lead, and once we get a lead, we're pretty tough with our defense."
The Warrior offense wasn't able to muster double-digit points in any quarter after the first.
Drury will return to the Curry Hicks Cage on Saturday 2:15 p.m. to challenge Hoosac for the crown.
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