Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
It was opening night at North Adams High School on Tuesday night for Coach Rob Davis and the 2016-17 Lady Devils basketball squad as they played host to the Paint Valley Lady Bearcats. The Lady Bearcats had a game under their belts, having easily defeated Northwest, but they left Seaman on Tuesday with their record dropping to .500 as the Lady Devils, behind a 20-point effort from junior Lakyn Hupp, raced out to an early double digit advantage and never looked back, handing the Lady Cats a 56-32 defeat.
“This was a good game for us to get everyone some minutes,” said Coach Davis in a post game interview. “All of our girls need to be ready at all times. Some games they will get lost of minutes and some games they might not, so they have to be ready when the call comes.”
“We had some trouble with their zone a little tonight and sometimes didn’t shoot it well, but we hit some key shots at times.”
Paint Valley was playing without Lexi Woods, their injured leading scorer, and the Lady Devils took immediate advantage, though it took awhile as neither team scored in the game’s first two minutes, a span marked mostly by turnovers both ways. That drought ended with an Avery Harper basket for North Adams , followed by Harper hitting Hupp with along outlet pass for an easy score. Another Harper bucket in the paint, a Maddie Toole steal and layup, plus a Grace McDowell free throw made it 9-0 home team.
The Lady Bearcats finally got on the board at the 4:00 mark on a basket by Emily Davis basket, but that would be their only score of the quarter as the North Adams pressure defense continually stymied the visitors. A bucket by Madison Jenkins and a three off the wing by Caitlin Young gave the Lady Devils a 14-2 advantage as the first period closed.
The lead continued to grow early in the second stanza when McDowell drilled the first of her three treys in the game and a later 8-0 run, with three baskets by Hupp and another by Charlee Louden, propelled the home team to a commanding 29-8 lead at the halftime intermission.
After the break, Paint Valley got the first two scores of the third quarter, but Hupp nullified that with a three-pointer that kept the lead at 32-12. That trey was part of an 8-2 run that included a McDowell three from the corner as the Lady Devils continued to roll. Late in the third with North Adams up 43-17, the Lady Cats put together their best stretch of the night, finishing the period on a 7-0 spurt and then beginning the fourth quarter with a 6-2 spurt to close the gap to 45-30.
With their lead cut to 15, the Lady Devils decided to erase all doubts of the outcome and reeled off the game’s next eight points, getting a three from Taylor Hesler, a put back by Jenkins, and a trio of Hupp free throws. The final basket of the game came on the final trey of the night by McDowell as the North Adams girls slammed the door and claimed their first of what will likely be many victories this season, knocking off the Lady Bearcats by a final count of 56-32.
A pair of Lady Devils reached double figures in the game, though eight different girls scored. Lakyn Hupp led the way with 20, with Grace McDowell adding 12. Avery Harper added 8 with Madison Jenkins and Maddie Toole chipping in 4 apiece. Harper topped the team with 5 rebounds and added 5 steals, while Toole was a terror on the defensive end, collecting 7 steals.
“Lakyn kind of got off to a slow start and she just has to let the game cone to her,” said Coach Davis. “Once she settled down, she became the key to the game for us. It’s all about learning and getting better at what we want you to do.”
Paint Valley was paced by Lea McFadden with 9 points and Katelyn Hackworth with 7.
With one win secured, the Lady Devils faced a very tough early test on Thursday evening, Dec. 1 as they jumped into the fire of Southern Hills Athletic Conference play with a road game to pre-season favorite Lynchburg-Clay in an early and much anticipated match up of two of the top teams in the conference.
Paint Valley 2 6 16 8 –32
North Adams 14 15 14 13 –56
P. Valley (32): Nawland 2 0-0 4, Crawford 2 0-0 5, Davis 2 0-0 4, McFadden 4 0-0 9, Hackworth 3 1-2 7, Dobbins 1 1-2 3, Team 14 2-4 32.
N. Adams (56): Hesler 1 0-0 3, Toole 2 0-0 4, Louden 1 0-0 2, Hupp 8 3-4 20, Shipley 0 0-2 0, C. Young 1 0-2 3, McDowell 4 1-2 12, Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Harper 3 2-4 8, Team 22 6-14 56.
P. Valley (2): Crawford 1, McFadden 1
N. Adams (6): Hesler 1, Hupp 1, C. Young 1, McDowell 3
The Lady Devils were also winners in the JV contest as Coach Tony Williams and his squad overcame a sluggish start to top Paint Valley 37-18.
North Adams led just 6-2 after the first quarter, getting two baskets from Alaina Eiterman, part of her game-high 16. Eiterman and Carolyn Shupert combined for 8 points in the second quarter, helping the Lady Devils to a 16-7 halftime advantage.
In the third period, the Lady Devils maintained the lead, getting a three-pointer from Abbi Stacy, a basket from Whitney Hill, plus six more from Eiterman to lead 28-14. Stacy drilled another trey in the fourth period and a basket hy Desiree Ison helped seal the deal in a 37-18 win.
“I was pleased overall for our first game,” said Coach Williams. “It was a great effort by everyone. We didn’t shoot it real well, but credit our girls for battling on the boards and getting 24 offensive rebounds. We have to continue to get better at finishing plays and taking advantage of our opportunities.”
P. Valley 2 5 7 4 –18
N. Adams 6 10 12 9 –37
P. Valley (18): Uhrig 3 1-2 8, Knauff 0 1-2 1, Hollis 1 0-0 2, Rogers 1 0-0 3, Brannon 2 0-0 4, Team 7 2-4 18.
N. Adams (37): Sonner 0 1-2 1, Stacy 2 2-2 8, Brown 1 0-0 2, Hill 2 0-2 4, Ison 1 0-2 2, Eiterman 6 4-10 16, Shupert 2 0-0 4, Team 14 7-18 37.
P. Valley (2): Uhrig 1, Rogers 1
N. Adams (2); Stacy 2