Make it five wins in six games for Coach Nathan Copas and his North Adams Green Devils as they played host to the Fairfield Lions on Wednesday, Jan. 27 in a make-up game from a contest cancelled last week because of the weather. It wasn’t the prettiest win in North Adams history, but a win nonetheless, as the Devils remained in a first place tie in the small school division of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference with a 54-45 victory over the Lions.
“It was certainly an ugly win, but it still counts,” said North Adams head coach Nathan Copas.
The early part of this conference battle belonged to Fairfield’s Ethan Putnam, who scored the Lions’ first seven points and then a three-pointer from Klay Walker gave the visitors a 10-5 advantage. A nice high-low play resulted in a Brandon Gingerich score for the Devils but a pair of Fairfield baskets forced Coach Copas to use a timeout with his team down 14-7.
The Devils got a basket from Isaiah Anderson after the timeout but a Putnam three-pointer left the Lions with a 17-10 lead after the first quarter.
The momentum of the game took a complete turn in the first three minutes of the second period as the Devils, behind the offensive work of Anderson and the Meade twins, scored the first eight points to jump in front 18-17. After a stick back basket by Trey Current temporarily put the Lions back on top, the Devils went on an 8-2 run, fueled by some strong inside work by Trey Meade, and a steal and bucket by Justin Knechtly gave North Adams a 26-19 advantage.
The first half ended on nice hustle play by Knechtly, as the junior forward rebounded his own misses twice before putting in his third try to send the Devils to the locker room with a 28-20 lead.
The third quarter became a battle of attrition in the paint as the majority of the scores came from within three feet of the rim. For North Adams, those baskets came from the twin towers of the Meade brothers, as the home team retained its lead though the Lions drew within three at 38-35 with 1:07 left in the period. Free throws by Anderson and Trey Meade pushed the lead back up to seven going to the fourth quarter.
After Fairfield scored the first basket of the final quarter, the Devils reeled off six straight , two of those buckets by Gingerich, to extend their lead to double digits. The rest of the game was a Fairfield effort to make a late comeback but that went for naught as the Devils held on for the 54-45 win.
It was a big offensive night for the Devils’ Trey Meade as he led North Adams (10-5, 7-2 SHAC) scorers with 22 points. Isaiah Anderson and Justin Knechtly added 8 each, with Cole Meade tossing in 7 and Brandon Gingerich 6.
Leading all scorers was Fairfield’s Ethan Putnam with 23 points, a total that included four three-point goals.
The next week is a very busy one and not an easy one for the Devils. On Friday night, they will be on the road for a conference match up at Peebles, a team that they have lost to twice already this season. On Saturday, the Devils will board the bus again, this time for a non-conference battle at Eastern Pike. Tuesday, Feb. 2 sees North Adams again on the road, this time traveling to the river for an SHAC contest with the Manchester Greyhounds.
FHS 17 3 15 10 —45
NAHS 10 18 14 12 —54
FHS (45): Walker 3 0-0 7, Lamb 0 1-2 1, Putnam 8 3-4 23, Evans 1 0-3 2, Daulton 1 0-0 2, J. Current 2 0-0 4, Harris 2 0-0 4, Gragg 1 0-0 2, Team 18 4-9 45.
NAHS (54): Anderson 3 2-2 8, England 1 0-2 3, Knechtly 4 0-1 8, Gingerich 3 0-2 6, T. Meade 9 4-4 22, C. Meade 3 1-2 7, Team 23 7-13 54.
FHS- Walker 1, Putnam 4
NAHS- England 1