It wasn’t an offensive clinic, but rather a defensive struggle on Saturday night at Western Latham High School as the North Adams Green Devils came to town riding a two-game winning streak. Make it three in a row for the Devils as they overcame a very slow start to rally in the second half to down the Indians by a final count of 41-35.
That slow start came in the form of just four points in the opening eight minutes, all by senior center Trey Meade. Meanwhile, the home team was burning the nets with a trio of three-point goals and by the end of the first period, the Indians held a 13-4 advantage.
The North Adams offense picked up a bit in the second stanza, getting a three-point goal from Justin Knechtly, baskets from Isaiah Anderson and Brandon Gingerich, plus six combined points from the Meade twins. The Indians continued their long range accuracy, getting two more three-pointers and even though their lead dwindled, the home team still led at the intermission, 23-17.
The game changed in the third quarter, and for the good of the visitors. Twelve seconds into the second half, Trey Meade was whistled for an offensive foul, his third of the game, and he sat out the remainder of the period. With their big man on the bench, the Devils dialed up the defensive pressure and held Western to just a single third quarter basket.
For North Adams, the scoring slack was picked up by Patrick England, who fired in a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter as the Devils outscored their hosts 11-2 to turn the scoreboard in their favor, now on top 28-25 heading into the final quarter of this low-scoring affair.
Back in the game to begin the fourth quarter, Trey Meade sank a pair of free throws to increase the lead to five, an omen of things to come as the Devils hit all eight of their fourth quarter attempts from the charity stripe. A basket by Anderson made it 32-25, before Western’s Austin Hursman it a trey to cut into the North Adams lead.
England answered with this third long bomb of the half to push the lead back to seven, but the Indians rallied with six straight to close the gap to 35-34. Four Anderson free throws, and then two from the stripe by England kept the Devils in front and allowed them to hang on to post their 13th win of the season by the final score of 41-35.
The Devils shot just 30% from the field in the game and were led in scoring by 12 points from Patrick England, the only North Adams scorer in double figures. Trey Meade and Isaiah Anderson each scored 8, with Cole Meade adding 6 and Brandon Gingerich 4.
Western shot only 33% on their home court and the Indians were paced in scoring by 12 points from Bryce Brewster, the only player on the home side to reach double figures.
The previous night, the Green Devils had picked up a road win in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, taking down the Whiteoak Wildcats 57-40. North Adams now stands at 13-7 on the year, 9-3 in the SHAC, tied for first place in the small school division with the Fayetteville Rockets.
After a non-conference game with Portsmouth Notre Dame on Feb. 10, the Devils will look to maintain that first-place tie on Friday, Feb. 12, but it will be no easy task as the Eastern Brown Warriors (9-3 in the SHAC big school division) come to town on what will be both Senior Night and Homecoming in Seaman.