Things seem like they are beginning to click for Coach Nathan Copas and his varsity boys squad of North Adams Green Devils, especially if last weekend is any indication. It was an amazing weekend for Copas and his troops as they pulled off two wins, the first of those an impressive road win over the previously unbeaten Lynchburg Clay Mustangs and then a hard-fought, close overtime win over Oak Hill in the finale of the 2016 Coach Young Classic.
The two wins gave the Green Devils a four-game winning streak and improved their record to 9-4 for the 2015-16 campaign.
Coming into Friday night, Lynchburg had been flying high with an undefeated record but that vanished as the Devils came to town and handed the home team a 56-52 loss. Junior guard Isaiah Anderson led the way with 16 points, with senior big man Trey Meade adding 13, and 6’5” senior Brandon Gingerich having perhaps his best game of the year, scoring 10 points.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Coach Copas. “We did a nice job of executing our game plan for most of the game. Lynchburg is a great team and if we were going to have any chance to win we had to keep them off the glass and not get into an up and down game with them and for the most part we did that. It was a great team effort and I’m just happy for our boys.”
One of a coach’s toughest jobs is to get his team focused after an emotional win and that is exactly what Copas had to do by Saturday evening as his Green Devils were back on their home court to face the Oak Hill Oaks in the final game of the Coach Young Classic. In a gritty effort by the Devils, they prevailed in overtime, outscoring Oak Hill 9-6 in the extra period to claim a 47-44 win.
“We are starting to play with more confidence,” said Copas in his radio interview with C103. “The kids are starting to believe a little bit and it is showing on the court.”
In the Saturday night battle with the Oaks, the Devils had to deal with the long distance offense of their guests as Oak Hill fired in 10 three-pointers in the game, five of those in the first half, which accounted for all of the teams’ 15 points at halftime.
Never fear,the Devils had their own three-point threat suited up and ready to go as junior Patrick England almost matched the entire output of the opponent as he drilled four three-pointers of his own in the first half. In all the two teams combined to hit 10 shots for beyond the arc, but the Devils also managed to hit a few inside the line and take a 23-15 halftime lead.
Coach Copas had to snap his team out of the doldrums early in the third quarter with a timeout where he stressed patience on offense and right our of the timeout and Anderson trifecta from the top of the key made it 26-17. Anderson then played distributor later in the quarter as he dished off two nice passes to Trey Meade for buckets that allowed the Devils to take a double digit lead at 33-22 into the final period.
That lead vanished rapidly as the Oaks again brought out the long range artillery and three consecutive treys, two by Nolan Carroll and another by Landon Carroll and the visitors had, in the blink of an eye, drawn to within 35-34. A pair of Anderson free throws put the lead back at three with 3:36 to play, but a basket on a nice back door cut by Nolan Carroll tied the game at 38 with 59 seconds to go. The Devils decided to hold for the last shot, calling a timeout with 14 seconds left to set up a final play but the Oak Hill defense smothered that, forcing a long Anderson three-point attempt at the buzzer that was off target and the game headed into overtime.
Both teams scored on their first possessions of the extra period to keep the game deadlocked, but yet another Nolan Carroll three on the Oaks’ second possession put Oak Hill back in front for the first time since the second period. Right back came the Devils with a rebound and put back by Gingerich, and then perhaps the play of the game as England made a nice steal near half court and went all the way for the layup and was fouled on the play, hitting the “and one” to put North Adams up 45-43 with just 34.9 seconds to go.
A questionable blocking call on Gingerich sent Oak Hill’s Mitchell Hale to the line where he hit one of two and North Adams’ Ryan Shupert was fouled on the rebound. Shupert missed the first shot, but hit the second to make it 46-44, giving Oak Hill one more shot to tie or win, but this time Gingerich held his ground and took a charge to preserve the lead. England was fouled with 1.3 ticks left on the clock and hit one of two free throws to account for the final point in a 47-44 North Adams victory.
England and Trey Meade shared scoring honors for North Adams (9-4, 6-1 SHAC) with 16 points apiece, with Anderson adding 8. On the strength of his six three-pointers in the game, Oak Hill’s Nolan Carroll led all scores with 22 points.
The Devils put their winning streak on the line on Tuesday, Jan. 19 when they entertained the Fayetteville Rockets and will be back at home on Friday, Jan. 22 to face the Fairfield Lions on Homecoming Night in Seaman. Both of those games are Southern Hills Athletic Conference battles.
Oak Hill 9 6 7 16 6 —44
N. Adams 11 12 10 5 9 —47
Oak Hill (44): L. Carroll 3 0-0 9, Hale 3 1-2 8, N. Carroll 8 0-0 22, Fleming 2 1-5 5, Team 16 2-7 44.
N. Adams (47): Anderson 1 5-7 8, England 5 2-3 16, Shupert 1 1-2 4, Sheeley 1 0-0 2, Gingerich 0 1-2 1, T. Meade 4 8-11 16, Team 12 17-25 47.
Oak Hill- L. Carroll 3, Hale 1, N. Carroll 6
N. Adams- Anderson 1, England 4, Shupert 1