Round two of the 2015 McDonald’s Classic took place on Dec. 23 at North Adams High School as the host Lady Devils entertained the Manchester Lady Hounds in semi-final action. It would be a memorable evening for North Adams senior guard Staci Dinsmore, as she turned in a triple-double performance to help lead the Lady Devils to a 70-37 victory, sending them to the Classic title game with the opportunity to defend their crown. The game also counted in the standings of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, chalking up another “W” there for North Adams.
“This was a solid win for us before we get a couple of days off, ” said North Adams head coach Rob Davis. “One of our main goals each season is to win the McDonald’s Holiday Classic. It is such a special event that the Gallowitz family puts together and we are fortunate to get to participate in it.”
As happens quite often with the North Adams girls, their intense defensive pressure makes a difference and it rattled the Lady Hounds early as a Dinsmore steal and layup plus a Grace McDowell three-pointer gave North Adams an early 11-3 advantage. Manchester regained some composure and made it just a two-point game with a quick six-point run as Morgan Johnson converted an old-fashioned three-point play and C.J. Hobbs hit a trey from the top of the key.
North Adams answered with five straight, three of them from Taylor Hesler, before a bucket by the Lady Hounds’ Josie Campbell cut the lead back to 16-11. The first quarter ended on a high note for the Lady Devils as Hesler drilled a three from the corner in the final seconds to give the host team a 19-11 advantage after one.
“Manchester came out and battled hard early and they were able to get a couple of quick buckets on us,” said Coach Davis. “Our girls started to get after it defensively and that led to some transition points and we were able to get rolling.”
Any hopes the Lady Hounds had of keeping the game close ended in the opening minutes of the second quarter as their offense was totally stifled while the North Adams side of the scoreboard continued to grow and grow, as the Lady Devils fired off the first 20 points of the period. Capitalizing on numerous Manchester turnovers, the home team used baskets by Dinsmore, Lakyn Hupp, Madison Jenkins, and Avery Harper to race to a commanding 36-11 lead.
The Lady Hounds did not get on the board in the second quarter until a pair of Johnson free throws at the 4:16 mark. North Adams countered that with baskets by Dinsmore and Maddie Toole made it 40-15. With 2:05 left in the half, Johnson fired in a three for the Lady Hounds, but Toole matched that by banking one home from long distance. The first half ended on a Caitlin Young put back bucket that gave the Lady Devils a 47-18 lead at the break.
The frantic scoring pace slowed down in the third quarter for the Lady Devils as Coach Davis went to his bench frequently, with 11 different Lady Devils logging at least two quarters of action in the scorebook. That number would have been 12 if not for a first quarter injury to senior Taylor Wylie that forced her out of the contest.
In the third stanza, North Adams got two buckets each from Hupp and Harper, while the Lady Hounds got 6 points from Johnson. When the third quarter came to a close, it was still a very comfortable margin in favor of the Lady Devils as they were up 60-28.
In the final wight minutes, Johnson finished up a good night for herself with 6 more points and the Lady Hounds also got a three-pointer from freshman Darrington White. North Adams got baskets from Hupp, Young, Jenkins, and Madee Shipley as they coasted home with their seventh win of the 2015-16 campaign, taking the semi-final match up 70-37.
It was Dinsmore’s triple double leading the way for North Adams, 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 steals on her side of the stat sheet. Lakyn Hupp scored 15, with Avery Harper adding 11 and Taylor Hesler 8 as nine different players scored in the game for the Lady Devils. Harper turned in a double-double night as she hauled in 12 rebounds to go with her 11 points, Caitlin Young also had her best varsity night on the boards, pulling down 8 rebounds.
“Taylor and Staci got us going early and Lakyn had another nice game,” said Coach Davis. “We got great efforts again from Maddie, Avery, and Madison. Caitlin Young played well for us early when we had a little foul trouble. Overall, I was proud of the effort of all 12 of our girls.”
Manchester as paced by 19 points from the always steady Morgan Johnson. who continued her climb to the 1,000 point mark for her career with the Lady Hounds.
With the loss, the Lady Hounds (1-8, 0-7 SHAC) were sent to the McDonald’s Classic consolation game on Dec. 29 where they faced off with the West Union Lady Dragons for the second time this season. West Union took the first match up 50-42 on Dec. 17.
North Adams (7-2, 6-1 SHAC) will be back in the Dec. 30 Classic title game, matching up for the first time this season with the Peebles Lady Indians, a game which will pit two teams with very different styles of play. Tip off for the championship game is set for 6 p.m.
“We know we will have to be at our best on Wednesday night in order to win another Classic championship,” added Coach Davis.
MHS 11 7 10 9 —37
NAHS 19 28 13 10 —70
MHS (37): White 2 0-0 5, Campbell 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 0-1 2, Johnson 5 7-10 19, Hoskins 0 0-1 0, Hobbs 1 2-2 5, Lucas 1 0-2 2, Stamm 1 0-0 2, Team 12 9-16 37.
NAHS (70): Dinsmore 7 2-2 16, Hesler 3 1-2 8, Toole 2 0-0 5, Hupp 7 1-2 15, Shipley 1 0-0 2, Young 2 0-0 4, McDowell 1 0-0 3, Jenkins 3 0-0 6, Avery Harper 4 3-4 11, Team 30 7-10 70.
MHS- White 1, Johnson 2, Hobbs 1
NAHS- Hesler 1, Toole 1, McDowell 1