The banner year for North Adams basketball at all levels continued on Saturday, Feb. 13 as the finals of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Tournament came to Seaman and the second game of the evening pitted Coach Shannon Staggs and his seventh grade Lady Devils on their home floor to face the Fairfield Lady Lions in the SHAC championship contest. It was a match up of the top two records in the SHAC regular season standings, with North Adams going unbeaten at 7-0 in conference play, while the Lady Lions went 6-1.
The Lady Devils had moved to the title game with an easy 46-12 win over Eastern, while Fairfield had advanced with lopsided wins over West Union and Lynchburg. Now, with the title trophy on the line, the two faced off in what turned out to be a rather lackluster affair, but still a crowning moment for Coach Staggs and his girls as they knocked off the Lady Lions 51-35 to finish off the SHAC sweep of regular season and tournament.
“I am very proud to be a part of a great program here at North Adams,” said Coach Staggs. “I am very proud of both of our junior high teams for all of their hard work. It was a lot of fun to be coaching in the championship game, but we have to always remember how we got there with player development and getting our system put in.”
“I’m already looking forward to next season with these upcoming eighth graders and a new bunch of seventh graders.”
Though there were times when they didn’t look real sharp. the Lady Devils were never really seriously challenged in this seventh grade title game, against a Fairfield squad with only five available players. With Delaney Harper dominating inside the paint and racking up 9 first quarter points, North Adams jumped to a 17-10 advantage after one.
The status quo was held in the second period as both teams scored 12 points, with the Lady Devils getting three-point goals from Karissa Buttelwerth and Wylie Shipley to lead at the half 29-22.
Holding serve on their home court, the Lady Devils scored 10 points in the third quarter, six of them from Shipley plus baskets by Brooklyn Tolle and Harper. The stubborn Lady Lions score 8 of their own and after three quarters of play, North Adams still led 39-30.
The fourth quarter was a matter of just holding on and maintaining their advantage and the Lady Devils performed that task admirably, outscoring Fairfield 12-7 to start the celebration as SHAC champions, winning the final game by the final count of 51-35.
North Adams finishes the season at 14-1, just a single basket from an undefeated season as their only defeat of the year was a 27-26 loss to Wheelersburg.
In the tournament final win, the Lady Devils placed two girls indouble figures, Delaney Harper with 17 points and Wylie Shipley with 13. Karissa Buttelwerth added 8 and Marah Call 7 for the champions.
Fairfield’s Smamra Cannon led all scorers with 20 points.
FJH (35): Hattan 2 1-2 5, Cannon 7 6-9 20, Crum 5 0-0 10, Team 14 7-11 35.
NAJH (51): Shipley 6 0-4 13, Buttelwerth 1 5-6 8, Call 3 0-0 7, Robinson 1 0-0 2, Tolle 2 0-0 4, Harper 7 3-6 17, Team 20 8-16 51.
NAJH- Shipley 1, Buttelwerth 1, Call 1