Going into last Friday night’s action, a lot of things had to fall into place for the North Adam Green Devils to end the night as small school champions of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference. Most importantly, the Devils had to defend their home court with a win over the Eastern Brown Warriors and then play the waiting game to see if the Manchester Greyhounds could help them out in a big way by defeating the Fayetteville Rockets, who came into the night tied for the top spot in the SHAC with North Adams.
Like the pieces in a perfectly fit puzzle, everything fell perfectly into place for the Devils. First they got their win over Eastern Brown and then got word that Manchester had helped them out by knocking off Fayetteville, thereby earning the North Adams boys and Coach Nathan Copas the small school championship, their first conference title since 2009.
“It was a great night for us,” said Coach Copas. “We knew going in that it was a must win to guarantee us at least a share of the conference. It was a night that many people contributed. Caleb Wagers got us started with a big three early and Trey Meade had a real nice first half. Coming out in the second half we got down and Isaiah Anderson put us on his back and hit some big shots. We also got some big shots from Patrick England and Justin Knechtly.”
“Brandon Gingerich had some key rebounds and took a big charge late. It was a great team effort and I am so happy for our program and all of the boys on our team. The last couple of years have been rough so it’s nice to be back in the winner’s circle again.”
The first order of business was to take down the very tough Warriors and behind 23 points from junior point guard Isaiah Anderson, the Devils took care of business with a 55-49 victory, leaving them with an overall record to finish the regular season at 15-7, 10-3 in the SHAC.
After all the Senior Night and Homecoming festivities came to a close, the varsity game got underway and behind three-pointers from Patrick England and Caleb Wagers, plus 8 points from Trey Meade, the Devils led 14-12 after the first quarter of play. Things didn’t go quite as well in the second stanza for the home team. The Warriors got three balls from Charles Bellamy and Mickey Hundley, outscoring North Adams 12-8 to grab the lead at halftime by a slim 24-22 margin.
In looking at the action in the third quarter, the scoring looked something like this, Eastern 11, Isaiah Anderson 11. The North Adams guard scored all 11 of his team’s points in the third period, including getting hot from beyond the arc and draining a trio of three-point shots. The dead-even third quarter left the Warriors hanging on to a 35-33 lead as the two teams prepped for what was going to be an exciting final eight minutes.
A pair of free throws by Bellamy gave Eastern a 46-42 lead, but the Devils rallied back to within one and took the lead on a bucket by Brandon Gingerich. After the Warriors tied the score on a basket by Austin Doss, the Devils jumped right back in front on England’s second three of the game. Two free throws by Justin Knechtly stretched the home side’s lead to 52-47 and an England free throw pushed the lead to six.
A bucket by Hundley drew Eastern closer but a pair of free throws by Anderson, who was 6 for 7 from the stripe in the final period. sealed the deal as the Devils came from behind for the huge home win, and in the process, won the SHAC for themselves and knocked the Warriors temporarily into third place in the big school division.
Anderson topped the winners with his 23 points, with big man and classmate Trey Meade adding 14. Patrick England continued his fine play, tossing in 9 points for the Devils.
Charles Bellamy’s 13 points led the Warriors.
With the regular season now behind them, the Green Devils look to the postseason as they will open sectional tournament play on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m., facing Portsmouth West on the floor at Waverly High School. (Look for a report on that game in a future issue of The People’s Defender.)
A win in their tourney opener will send the Devils to the sectional championship game, where they will likely face the SHAC big school champion Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs. That game is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 6 p.m., again at Waverly.
EHS 12 12 11 14 —49
NAHS 14 8 11 22 —55
EHS (49): Rigdon 3 0-0 7, Doss 2 2-2 6, Day 2 2-2 6, Kelch 4 0-0 9, Bellamy 4 4-6 13, Hundley 3 1-3 8, Team 18 9-13 49.
NAHS (55): Anderson 7 6-7 23, England 3 1-3 9, Wagers 1 0-0 3, Knechtly 1 2-2 4, Gingerich 1 0-2 2, T. Meade 5 4-6 14, Team 18 13-20 55.
EHS- Rigdon 1, Kelch 1, Bellamy 1, Hundley 1
NAHS- Anderson 3, England 2, Wagers 1