Undefeated, unchallenged, dominant. Those are just some of the superlatives that can be used to describe the season just completed by Coach Ryan Unger and his squad of seventh grade North Adams Green Devils. With very few challenges along the way, the seventh grade Green Devils rolled to a perfect 19-0 record, winners of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference regular season (small school division) and tournament titles, where no SHAC team got within less than 18 points of the talented North Adams group.
“It’s been awhile since a boys or girls team has had an undefeated season at North Adams,” said Coach Unger. “These kids bought into what we were doing and we did a lot of things we were supposed to do. Our full-court man pressure gave a lot of teams fits, but we struggled early tonight and then outscored them big in the second half.”
“This is a special group of kids and this is my eighth year in junior high and this is probably the most talented team I’ve had. Hopefully it transitions into wins at the high school level when they move up.”
For the season, the Devils outscored their opponents 982-370 and their closest game was a 40-30 win over Lucasville Valley. Their average margin of victory was 32 points.
The final “W” of a perfect season came on Feb. 17 when the Green Devils played in the championship game of the SHAC Tournament, played at West Union High School. To get to the title game, the Green Devils had defeated West Union 57-22 and Peebles 56-28, and now faced Eastern Brown with the title and an undefeated season on the line. No sweat. After a close first half, the Green Devils outscored the Warriors 39-18 in the second half to cruise to a 64-40 victory.
The Devils led 12-11 after the first quarter, with all of their points coming from two players, Jayden Hesler and Seth Meade combined. The pesky Warriors stayed close throughout the second period, but the Devils stayed on top thanks to some fine outside shooting, getting a pair of three-pointers from Andrew Brand and another from Cade Meade to lead 25-22 at the halftime break.
The North Adams offense exploded in the third quarter, putting up 18 points in the six-minute span, and getting contributions from numerous sources. Brand hit another three-point shot, Hesler scored 9, and the Meade twins combined for 6 more as the Green Devils extended their lead out to 43-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
If 18 in the third quarter wasn’t enough, try 21 in the fourth, which is what the Devils produced, with Brand getting hot and firing in two more three balls and Seth Meade adding another trifecta. The second half offensive explosion propelled North Adams to its final double digit win of the season, as they celebrated an SHAC sweep with the 64-40 triumph.
One of the good things about this Green Devils’ team is that their offensive leader might be a different player each game, as they have that many threats with the ball. In the SHAC final, North Adams placed three players in double figures, Brand with 19, Seth Meade with 18, and Jayden Hesler with 16. That kind of production is hard to beat in any junior high boys game. The Green Devils also nailed nine three-point goals in the win.
The young Warriors put up a good fight in the first half, before wilting under the North Adams attack, and Eastern was led in scoring by Ryan Boone with 12 points, Andreas Vargas with 10, and Colton Vaughn with 9. The seventh grade Warriors were the regular season champions of the big school division of the SHAC with an 11-2 mark.
EJH 11 11 9 9 —40
NAJH 12 13 18 21 —64
EJH (40): Boone 5 1-2 12, Daniels 1 2-2 5, Mock 1 0-0 2, Vargas 5 0-0 10, Vaughn 4 1-1 9, Unger 1 0-0 2, Team 17 4-5 40.
NAJH (64): Brand 6 2-3 19, Hesler 6 3-3 16, S.Meade 8 0-0 18, C. Meade 3 0-0 7, Kennedy 1 0-0 2, Hoop 1 0-0 2, Team 25 5-6 64.
EJH- Boone 1, Daniels 1
NAJH- Brand 5, Hesler 1, S. Meade 2, C. Meade 1