Class C semis: No. 3 Granby locks down defending champion Drury, earns first title-game berth since 2005

Granby’s Gavier Fernandez (5) sinks a three-pointer against Palmer earlier this season.

Granby’s Gavier Fernandez (5) sinks a three-pointer against Palmer earlier this season. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 02-22-2024 9:34 PM

NORTH ADAMS — As soon as the Granby boys basketball team learned they would be facing Drury in the Western Mass. semifinals, head coach Dylan Dubuc immediately began scouring the Blue Devils’ YouTube channel.

Every single Drury home game resides on the site, and Dubuc estimated he watched 13 Drury games – twice each – in addition to film study with his team during practice, to get the Rams ready for Thursday night’s Class C semifinal.

“You give people that much material, you’re an idiot not to take it and soak it all in, so we did,” Dubuc said. “I’m kind of a psycho when it comes to this stuff, but if it’s out there, we’re going to use it to our advantage.”

On Thursday night, that preparation paid off, as the No. 3 Rams stifled the No. 2 Blue Devils in the fourth quarter to capture a 51-46 win that dethroned the defending Class C champions and booked a spot in the championship game. It’s the first sectional final for Granby since 2005, when it beat Sabis for the only WMass title in program history.

After the first two possessions of the fourth quarter, Drury’s only made field goals came on two desperation 3-pointers from Miles Beauchamp in the final minute.

“We were packing in mostly,” Granby’s Gavier Fernandez, who led all scorers with 22 points, said. “We wanted to let them chuck shots. We knew they could hit, but we wanted to see them hit.”

Drury made trip after trip to the free throw line in the fourth quarter, but shot less than 50 percent from the stripe and spent the entire quarter down a possession or two. Outside of their success making it to the line, they struggled to get their shooters open and barely had any looks that weren’t heavily contested.

“We were calling their plays before they were calling their plays,” Dubuc said. “We were jumping their No. 1 option, their No. 2 option, it was almost not fair. We knew where they were going every time.”

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In their first year after moving up from Class D, Granby is one game away from a Western Mass. title. 

“We’ve had this goal all season,” Fernandez said. “We’ve worked every day at practice and it feels really, really good.”

The Rams will play top-seeded Mahar (15-5) for the Class C title game at Holyoke Community College on Saturday at 5 p.m. When asked if he had taken a look at the Mahar YouTube channel, Dubuc was noncommittal.