Coming off an emotional loss to county rival Peebles three nights earlier, Coach Nathan Copas and his North Adams Green Devils saw their first Southern Hills Athletic Conference action of the season as they entertained the Ripley Blue Jays on Friday, Dec. 4. On paper, it looked as if the Devils could control this game with their height advantage only, but don’t sell short a scrappy Marty Adams coached Blue Jay squad.
Not only were the Blue Jays competitive, however, they had a shot at winning the ballgame. The Jays jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to a Josh Deaton three-pointer. Prepare yourselves for that phrase repeatedly, as Deaton would hit five three-pointers in the game in addition to being fouled on two other attempts. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
That five-point margin was Ripley’s largest margin of the first half. The team took a 9-4 lead, but North Adams out-scored the Jays 8-2 over the final four minutes to tie the game at 12 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a tug-of-war match between both squads. Laymon Marshall called for a pass from his teammate and drained a three-pointer in the corner to give the Blue Jays an early 15-12 advantage, and the team again was able to build their lead up to five points before North Adams rallied. Deaton was fouled on a three-point shot for the first time, hitting two of the three free-throws, and the Jays maintained a 24-22 lead into the third quarter.
Offense was the story of the third quarter for both teams. The Blue Jays put up 21 points while North Adams tallied 18, in large part to their size inside. Eight of the team’s points came from baskets made in the paint while another five came from Ripley fouls and the ensuing free throws.
That offensive output set up a final quarter that saw the Blue Jays nursing a 45-40 lead at the start. The Devils went on a 10-4 run over the first 4:34 and took a 50-49 lead. The Jays answered as Deaton hit a baseline jumper to put the team back up by one. North Adams responded in kind, using their size for an easy put back by Brandon Gingerich with 2:02 remaining to take a 52-51 lead.
Roughly 40 seconds later, sophomore Brian Dunn hit a pair of free-throws for Ripley, putting the team up by one with 1:15 left. After head coach Marty Adams called timeout, Isaiah Anderson put the Devils back in front with a jump shot of his own.
The clock ticked down to just under 40 seconds remaining when Adams called another timeout. Deaton got the ball for the Jays and missed a three-point shot. North Adams grabbed the rebound with 20 seconds to go and immediately turned it over, giving the ball back to Ripley.
Gingerich blocked the next Ripley shot out of bounds with 13.4 seconds left and on the ensuing inbound pass the ball was poked free. Referees awarded the Devils a timeout, though it appeared the Devils player may have been laying out of bounds with the ball before the timeout was called.
It turned into a free-throw battle from there. Anderson missed the front-end of a one-and-one, but got his own rebound and was fouled again. He hit the next two. Ripley had another shot to tie the game, but their three-point attempt clanked off the rim as time expired.
Deaton led the Jays with 24 points. Tanner Hatfield and his eight points were the only other Blue Jay with more than five. Trey Meade had 23 points for the Devils, his second straight 23-point effort, seven of which came on free throws. Anderson added 17 for North Adams, 11 of which came in the second half.
I didn’t think we came out with very much energy,” said Coach Copas. “We had a big size advantage and did a poor job of taking advantage of it consistently throughout the game. Ripley shot it well and played hard. We were very fortunate to win.”
Coach Adams noted that his team was not afraid to drive into the paint against a North Adams team that lists three players above six-foot-four-inches tall. The Blue Jays have three players over six-feet tall, but none of them are taller than six-foot-one-inch.
“They’re fearless,” Adams said. “They played hard. We’re not very good offensively, but the way we play defense keeps us in games. We’ve lost in overtime, lost late tonight but they’re playing hard.”
RIPLEY 12 12 21 8 —53
N. ADAMS 12 10 18 16 —56
Ripley (53): Marshall 2 0-0 5, Dunn 1 2-3 4, Moran 1 0-0 2, Hatfield 4 0-0 8, Deaton 7 5-7 24, Griffith 1 3-4 5, Himes 1 1-2 3, Slowey 1 0-0 2, Team 18 11-16 53.
N. Adams (56): Anderson 4 7-10 17, England 1 0-1 2, Gingerich 3 0-0 6, T. Meade 8 7-10 23, C. Meade 3 2-4 8, Team 19 16-25 56.
Ripley- Marshall 1, Deaton 5
N. Adams- Anderson 2
After picking up their first win on Friday night, the Green Devils were right back in action on Saturday evening, hosting the Minford Falcons in a non-conference tilt. The results were not quite the same as the previous night as the Devils dropped to 1-2 on the season, getting drilled by the Falcons by a final score of 77-47.
“We did not come out ready to play,” said Coach Copas. “Minford is a nice team but I do not feel they are 30 points better than us. We just have to get better at several aspects of the game.”
The Devils trailed at every stop, 11-2 after the first quarter, 27-15 at halftime, 56-31 after three quarters, and finally 77-47. The Falcons helped their cause tremendously by hitting 10 three-pointers in the game.
North Adams will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 11 when they will play host to county rival West Union in another SHAC battle.
MINFORD 11 16 29 21 —77
N. ADAMS 2 13 16 16 —47
Minford (77): McCormick 3 0-0 9, Rowe 10 3-4 28, Perry 0 1-2 1, Gullett 3 0-0 7, Dalton 0 8-10 8, Kelly 4 3-4 11, Alley 4 2-4 13, Team 25 17-24 77.
N. Adams (47): Anderson 5 5-6 16, England 2 0-0 6, Knechtly 3 0-0 8, Gingerich 1 0-0 2, T. Meade 6 2-3 15, Team 17 7-9 47.
Minford- McCormick 3, Rowe 5, Gullett 1, Alley 1
N. Adams- Anderson 1, England 2, Knechtly 2, T. Meade 1