Story by Mark Carpenter –
Photo by Patrice Yezzi England –
After dropping their season opener on the road at Minford last weekend, Coach Nathan Copas and his North Adams Green Devils opened up Southern Hills Athletic Conference play on Dec. 6 with a trip to Fayetteville, a place with not too fond memories for the Devils, who blew a late 17-point lead to the Rockets in a defeat last season. There was to be no such repeat performance on Tuesday night as the Devils went crazy from behind the arc, hitting 10 three-pointers on their way to, ironically, a 17-point win, downing the Rockets 71-54.
The three-point barrage began in the first quarter with treys from Patrick England, Ryan Shupert, and Elijah Young, and continued in the second with another from Shupert and a pair from Colt Shumaker as the Devils forged a 35-27 halftime advantage.
North Adams broke the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Rockets 22-8, behind the power of a trio of treys from England and another from Justin Knechtly, giving them a 57-35 lead. Fayetteville took the final quarter 19-14, but it was far too little as the Green Devils cruised to their first victory of the 2016-17 campaign.
“I felt like we did a nice job of dictating the tempo for most of the night,” said Coach Copas. “In the first half, we gave them too many easy looks at the basket, but we shot it really well, and when you shoot it well everything else seems to look better. We have to continue to get better in our quarter-court offense and challenge every shot on the defensive end. If we can get better at those two things and shoot it like we did tonight, it should be a fun year.”
The victorious Devils (1-1) placed three players in double figures, paced by 17 points from point guard Isaiah Anderson, with England adding 16 and Shumaker 10. The Rockets were led by 18 points from Luke Wiederhold.
In the JV contest, the Green Devils fell to 0-2 on the season as they gave up a lead in the fourth quarter and fell to Fayetteville 35-31. The North Adams defense controlled the fist half, allowing the Rockets just 7 points, but on the other side, the Devils could only muster 12, eight of those in the second period by Bryant Lung.
Going into the final six minutes, the Devils were up 25-19, but the roof caved in and the Rockets outscored their guest 16-6 in that final frame to take the lead and hold on for the four-point win.
Lung led the Green Devils with 12 points, followed by Dalton Gardner with 8 and Kent Mefford with 6.
North Adams was back on the hardwood on Friday night, Dec. 9 with another challenging SHAC road trip, this time going to Eastern Brown for a triple header of freshman, JV, and varsity action.