With all of the events going on last Friday night at Peebles High School, for one night basketball was overshadowed, but the capacity crowd still had a game to think about as the Indians faced off with the North Adams Green Devils for the third time this season. Just the exact opposite of the preceding JV contest, the first two varsity meetings this year had gone the way of the Indians, one in the regular season and the other in the finals of the McDonald’s Classic, so the Devils were looking to escape this year with at least one win over their county rival.
Friday night was the perfect example of a “grind it out” basketball contest between two combatants with the ultimate in respect for each other, but also the very real wish to beat the other guy. In the end, fate would turn towards the Indians who used some outstanding free throw shooting in the final quarter to hold on and post a 51-46 win over the visiting Devils.
“It was just a wonderful atmosphere for everything that went on tonight,” said Peebles head coach Josh Arey. “To me this is the best rivalry in the league and maybe in southern Ohio and I still think one of the hardest things to do is beat a team three times, especially when it is a good basketball team. To come out of here tonight with a league win we’re very happy.”
“When you play someone three times, they know you and you know them, but we really didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight”
“I thought Peebles did a real nice job defending inside on Trey Meade,” said North Adams head coach Nathan Copas. “We were just not able to make them pay for the double team. Even with Trey not having his usual game, we were able to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The tone of the game was set early as the two teams went toe to toe in the first quarter, with a Patrick England three-pointer giving North Adams an early 5-2 lead. The Devils then went scoreless for the next four minutes while the Indians went on a 9-0 run, capped by a Camron Gordley three-pointer that put Peebles up 11-5. England broke the North Adams scoring drought with another three-pointer at the 2:05 mark but the Indians closed the first quarter on a 6-2 run to lead 17-10 after eight minutes.
England kept the hot hand, starting the second quarter with another trey and after a Tanner Arey basket for Peebles, the Devils excited their side of the gym with a 10-0 run, that included a fourth England three plus a nifty step back trey by Isaiah Anderson that gave the Devils a 23-19 lead.
The Indians recovered and answered with baskets by Arey and Ethan Parrett to tie the game and after a Cole Meade bucket put the Devils back on top, Peebles went on a 6-0 spurt to close the first half with a 29-25 advantage.
The third quarter was a real “grind it out” eight minutes as the defenses took over and the two teams combined for just 12 points, 8 of those on the Peebles side of the scoreboard. One of the big keys to the game was the job the Peebles defense did handling North Adams big man and leading scorer Trey Meade, Meade got his only bucket of the game early in the third quarter but it was a pair of Jase Conley free throws and a steal and layup by Parrett that sent the Indians to the final period holding a 37-29 lead.
Right off the bat in the final period, the Devils were right back in the game, thanks to the long distance accuracy of Anderson, who hit three-pointers on the first two North Adams possessions to cut the eight-point gap down to just two. The story of the fourth period would be Peebles’ free throw shooting (12-17), though two Gordley misses with 1:43 to play kept the Devils within striking distance at 43-40.
Parrett canned two from the stripe with 51.6 seconds to go to stretch the lead to five, but the Devils answered when Anderson drove the lane, hit the off-balance runner, was fouled, and hit the free throw to make it 45-43. Arey was fouled and hit two from the line to push the lead back to four, but Anderson answered with a three and with 25 seconds left, the Devils were within one at 47-46.
It looked like the Indians had turned the ball over on their next possession, but the officials conferred and determined that a pass that sailed out-of-bounds had been deflected by the Devils, keeping the ball with the home team. Parrett was immediately fouled and calmly sank both shots to make it a three-point lead and North Adams called a timeout with 9.8 seconds left to set up a potential game-tying play.
That play turned out to be an Anderson three-point attempt from the top of the key that bounced hard off the rim and hit the brace above the basket, giving the ball back to Peebles. Parrett was again fouled, hit both shots from the stripe, and time ran out on the Devils as the Indians claimed the 51-46 Southern Hills Athletic Conference win.
With the win, the Indians ( 12-4, 7-1 SHAC) remained in a virtual tie for first place in the big school division of the SHAC with Lynchburg, while even with the loss, the Green Devils (10-7, 7-3) also remained in a first place battle with Fayetteville in the small school division as the Rockets fell to Lynchburg on Friday night.
In the victory, the Indians placed a pair of players in double figures, paced by 16 points from Camron Gordley, followed by Ethan Parrett with 14. Parrett was clutch down the stretch, hitting all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter. Tanner Arey added 8 points for the winners, with Scout Kremin chipping in 7.
“Ethan played every minute tonight,” said Coach Arey. “I just didn’t feel there was a spot where I could take him out and he just continues to progress and get better for us.”
Isaiah Anderson led North Adams, and all scorers with 23 points. including four three-point baskets. Patrick England also hit four treys for the Devils on his way to a 14-point evening.
“Patrick England hit some big shots and I thought Isaiah Anderson had one of his best games all year,” said Coach Copas. “I felt our guys did a nice job of holding down some of their big scorers, especially in the second half.”
“We gave up two offensive rebounds off of free throws late in the fourth quarter that really hurt. When you are in a one or two possession game, you just cannot let that happen.”
The Indians went to the charity stripe 24 times in the game, while the Devils made the visit just 4 times.
Both teams were back in action on Saturday night and both had similar results as the Indians lost to visiting Summit Country Day 56-38 and the Devils took a road defeat at Eastern Pike 57-54. Both were back in SHAC action on Tuesday, Feb. 2 as the Devils traveled to Manchester and the Indians hosted Eastern Brown. Peebles will also be at West Union on Wednesday, Feb. 3 for a makeup game with the Dragons, scheduled for a 6:15 p.m. tip off.
On Friday, Feb. 5, North Adams will be at Whiteoak while the Indians will travel to Fairfield.
NAHS 10 15 4 17 —46
PHS 17 12 8 14 —51
NAHS (46): Anderson 9 1-2 23, England 5 0-0 14, Knechtly 1 0-0 2, Gingerich 1 0-0 2, T. Meade 1 1-2 3, C. Meade 1 0-0 2, Team 18 2-4 46.
PHS (51): Conley 0 2-2 2, Arey 2 4-4 8, Parrett 4 6-6 14, Kremin 3 1-3 7, Evans 1 0-0 2, Ryan 0 2-3 2, Gordley 6 3-6 16, Team 16 18-24 51.
NAHS- Anderson 4, England 4
PHS- Gordley 1