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Monette's Heroics Lift Middies To D3 North Championship, 43-42, Over Weston (Video Clips)

Mar 12, 2019 01:31AM ● By Bill Gilman
LOWELL -- Cinderella is heading to a Garden Party!
Senior Mitch Monette grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback with 2.1 seconds left to play, lifting the Dracut High boys basketball team to its first-ever Division 3 North Sectional championship, 43-42, over Weston, Saturday at the Tsongas Center.
The Middies (14-10) advance to take on South Champion Bishop Stang (19-5) in a state semifinal at the TD Garden, Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
"It's an unbelievable feeling for the community," said Dracut Head Coach Brian Myers. "It was a community win. It's a great community, you saw the turnout here tonight. And we're proud, we're so proud of those kids. You don't want it to end."
Myers has overseen a remarkable turnaround in his first year at the helm. The Middies were 1-19 last season. Myers, who graduated from Dracut High in 1996, said he could relate.
"My last year (at Dracut), we also went 1-19, so I understand how difficult it was for them
The snuck into the tournament with a 10-10 record but have played their best ball of the year in the post-season. Their championship run has included a road win at Newburyport and a shocking upset over St. Mary's of Lynn, a team that was not only seeded No. 1 in the Division 3 North Tournament but was also considered one of the Top 5 teams in Eastern Mass. in any division
Weston (13-11), the No. 10 seed, led for much of the game but No. 12 Dracut never let the Wildcats build a comfortable lead. The Wildcats, who enjoyed a substantial size advantage in the frontcourt, led 23-20 at halftime and 29-26 after three quarters.
After Weston pushed the lead to 31-26, Dracut went on an 8-0 run, playing its best basketball of the game, and took a 34-31 lead on a three-pointer by Adrian Torres.
But Weston had Cinderella dreams of its own and weren't giving them up without a fight. 
The Wildcats battled back and the teams traded the lead several times, setting the stage for a wild finish. Another three-pointer by Torres tied the game, 41-41.
After a Weston free throw to grab a one-point lead, Dracut worked the ball around the perimeter, looking for what they hoped would be the last shot.
JC Santiago tried a three-pointer, but it bounced into the hands of Monette, who put back a little flip shot that proved to be the game-winner.
For Monette, it was an exclamation point on a school year that began when he transferred from Central Catholic. He had played sparingly for the CC varsity as a junior and has relished his chance to play a key role with the Middies.
"I told them at the beginning of the season that we were getting a ring," said Monette. "And this is where we are right now, we're headed for the TD Garden, baby!"
Torres led Dracut with 14 points. Monette added 11 points (9 in the first half), Cam McCullough had five points and 13 rebounds, while Santiago finished with six points off the bench.

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