It will be another familiar trip for Coach Rob Davis and his North Adams Lady Devils as for the ninth time in Davis’ coaching tenure, the Lady Devils have captured a sectional championship and are advancing to district tournament play. The Lady Devils moved up to Division III this season and it made no matter as they still claimed a sectional title, this time with a 60-43 victory over rival Peebles in a Feb. 13 game played at Valley High School.
“A win is a win and we get to cut the nets down,” said Coach Davis in a post game radio interview. “We were up and down today At times we looked good and at time we just got sloppy out there. We’ll always take a sectional championship and go to the districts.”
The two Adams County girls’ squads were meeting for the third time this season, so there were no secrets between them about what they would see on the court, and perhaps that contributed to the fact that this sectional final game never really found a rhythm or flow for either side.
The outcome was never really in doubt as the Lady Devils jumped on their prey early, circling the wagons and racing to a 13-2 lead on the strength of a Taylor Wylie three-pointer plus a pair of weak side offensive rebounds and put backs by Avery Harper. The Lady Indians got a three-pointer from Jessica Sowards with 25 seconds left in t he first period, but the Lady Devils answered with a three-point play the “old” way by Madison Jenkins to lead 16-5 after eight minutes.
North Adams got the first two baskets of the second quarter to further extend their lead, before a three from Peebles’ Jerilin Toller temporarily stopped the bleeding. The two teams swapped baskets until another three ball by Toller closed the gap to 25-15. Undaunted, the North Adams girls finished the first half on a 7-0 run to take a commanding 34-17 advantage into the half.
The third quarter was much of the same, not a lot of rhythm or flow, and including an 8-2 North Adams run and a following 7-0 Peebles run, that included three-point goals by Sowards and Kaitlin Toller. When Sowards banked home another trey at the buzzer, the Lady Indians still found themselves in a 46-31 hole with one quarter to play.
With the outcome really no longer a matter of suspense, the Lady Devils stretched their lead out to 54-33 before a long Sowards three hit the bottom of the net. North Adams then scored the next six to go up 60-36 and from that point on, with Coach Davis emptying the bench, cruised to the sectional title by the final score of 60-43.
In the victory, the Lady Devils placed two players in double figures, Avery Harper leading the way with 15 and Staci Dinsmore adding 14. Madison Jenkins scored 7, with Taylor Wylie, Maddie Toole, and Lakyn Hupp all adding 6.
The Lady Indians, who were forced to play the game against a pressure defense team without starting point guard Baylee Justice, out with a concussion, had just four player score in the game, led by Jessica Sowards with 21. Jerilin Toller also hit double figures with 10, while freshman McKenzie Swango added 9. In her final game for Peebles, senior Kaitlin Toller scored 3 points.
The win moves the Lady Devils into the district semi-finals on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. at Waverly High School. there they will face off with number three seed Nelsonville-York. The winner of that game moves to the district championship game and a likely date with unbeaten Ironton.
PHS 5 12 14 12 —43
NAHS 16 18 12 14 —60
PHS (43): J. Toller 3 2-2 10, K. Toller 1 0-0 3, Sowards 8 1-2 21, Swango 2 5-8 9, Team 14 8-12 43.
NAHS (54): Dinsmore 7 0-0 14, Hesler 1 0-0 2, Wylie 2 1-2 6, Hupp 2 1-2 6, Shipley 1 0-0 2, Young 1 0-0 2, Jenkins 3 1-1 7, Harper 6 3-4 15, Team 26 6-10 60.
PHS- J. Toller 2, K. Toller 1, Sowards 4
NAHS- Wylie 1, Hupp 1