Monument Mountain's trip to Drury suspended by moisture on the basketball court
NORTH ADAMS — In a matchup between two of the top teams in Berkshire County, the game between the Monument Mountain and Drury boys basketball teams was living up to the billing in the first half. Monument held a 38-33 lead, but 30 seconds into the start of the third quarter, the officials decided to suspend the game because of excessive moisture on the court. The game will resume at a later scheduled date.
"Just a week ago we couldn't get to the car without freezing, and today we drive up here in a fog with the Housatonic River at the level of McCann Tech," Monument coach Mike Saporito said. "We were concerned during the layup line. Every player came up to me and said — 'coach, I'm losing my footing on every practice layup.'
"We brought it to the referee's attention and were actually worried about player safety in the opening warmups."
The only action in the second consisted of a Drury turnover, as Scott McGuire slipped trying to make a cut. Instead of attempting to dry the court and carry on, both sides thought it was best to suspend the game.
"It's tough to do. This is not what we wanted," Drury coach Jack Racette said. "But I think for the safety of the kids, it was pretty slick out there. ... [Graham] Herrick slips, McGuire slips. ... I don't want to see somebody get hurt."
The suspension of play leaves what was shaping up to be the game of the year hanging in the balance.
Monument entered play with a perfect 7-0 record. Drury's (7-1) lone loss came in its first game of the season against Division IV powerhouse Hopkins Academy.
The Blue Devils are known for their frenetic, up-and-down style, while the Spartans have a more deliberate approach. Early on, Drury dictated the pace, speeding up Monument with its full-court press and transition-based offense, leading to six first-quarter turnovers. Chad Lawrence started the came with a transition 3-pointer off a feed from Reece Racette. Drury scored seven of its 18 first-quarter points in transition. Max Daugherty's fastbreak layup put the Blue Devils up 14-9 midway through the first. Noel Powell ended the run with a putback layup. The teams exchanged baskets before Noah Helmke drained a 3-pointer with five seconds left, cutting Drury's lead to two.
Helmke scored Monument's last five points of the first. His offensive production was key because Herrick, the Spartans top scorer, left the game after picking up his second foul with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the opening period.
Foul trouble kept Herrick on the bench the entire second quarter, but Helmke picked up the slack in his absence. He started the second quarter with a 3-pointer from the left baseline. Drury's Connor Clark answered with a trey of his own, before Kevin Troiano tied the game at 23 with four quick points. Tristan Alston's layup put Monument back on top, but Drury used a 5-0 run to retake the lead. Drury continued to attack in transition with Racette leading the break.
With their best player on the bench, Monument's reserves helped the visitors get back on top. Ty Higgins' 3-pointer tied the game at 29 with 3:20 left in the half. Helmke sank a tough post basket, before Dion Brown's free throws extended the Spartans lead to four. After a Racette layup, Helmke helped Monument capture its largest lead, cutting hard to basket and receiving a well-timed pass from Troiano for the layup plus the foul. The And-1 put the Spartans up five with 41 seconds left. Racette notched a steal and a quick two, before Helmke sank two free throws for the final points of the quarter. Helmke led all scorers with 17 points. Racette led Drury with 11 points. Troiano added six points, six rebounds and a block.
"Helmke, he's a great player," Saporito said. "Noah really knows how to play. With Graham getting the foul trouble, I thought all the guys did their job. I thought Tristan Alston played his best half of the season. Dion Brown... I thought he settled in and made a couple good basketball plays for us. I thought we had a good team effort."
Monument 16 22 0 x — 38
Drury 18 15 0 x — 35
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at email@example.com, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.