North Adams cruises past West Union 54-16 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
When you hear that a game featured a combined 72 turnovers between the two teams involved, your first instinct might be that is was probably a close game, just a very ugly one. If you were referring to Tuesday night’s McDonald’s Classic varsity girls opening round contest between North Adams and West Union, you would be wrong. It was not a close game but far from it, as the Lady Devils turned up their usual defensive pressure, forced the Lady Dragons into 43 miscues, held the Lady Dragons without a basket from field for the game’s first 15 minutes, and rolled into the Friday night Classic championship game with a 54-16 victory.
“Every year we look forward to this tournament and it is one of our goals we set to win it,” said North Adams head coach Rob Davis in his post game radio interview. “We always seem to play well in front of big crowds like we had tonight and it’s good for the girls to play in front of that many people.”
“We just have a lot of girls who are interchangeable in their roles, depending on what we need at the time. They know what they have to do and we get good minutes out of our bench.”
The West Union student section, deemed “The Heat”, was out in full force at Peebles High School on Tuesday but the only heat in the game came from the Lady Devils, who got rolling right out of the gate, using three baskets from Lakyn Hupp, who finished with a game-high 21, to take a 9-0 lead and force West Union head coach J.R. Kirker to burn an early timeout. The North Adams scoring pace slowed down after the short break, mainly because the Lady Devils were adding up their fair share of turnovers, but a steal and layup by Hupp and a pair of Maddie Toole free throws made it 14-0.
West Union finally got on the board with 21.6 seconds left in the first quarter on a free throw by Jaycee Baldwin, but still faced what certainly looked like an insurmountable 13-point deficit after one period.
The onslaught continued into the second quarter as the Lady Devils scored 13 more unanswered points, getting a rare three-pointer from Madison Jenkins and off two West Union turnovers, back to back buckets by Brooklyn Stout to go in front 27-1. The first field goal of the game for the Lady Dragons came with 1:06 left in the first half, a basket by Harley Silvia, and the final points of the half came on a three-point goals by West Union’s Mackenzie Bickett, but North Adams went to the intermission firmly in control and leading 30-6.
The second half for both teams consisted of more turnovers and mass substitutions, giving minutes all the way to the end of both benches. A bucket by West Union’s Kendall Gallowitz made it 33-8, but the Lady Devils answered with Hupp hitting jumpers both inside and outside the three-point arc. After the Hupp try, the Lady Dragons scored four straight free throws, the final two coming from McKenzie Kirker, but a bucket by Brooklyn Young gave North Adams a 40-12 advantage after three quarters.
The final stanza began mush like the first two with the Lady Devils on a run, beginning with a Madee Shipley three and ending with a Caitlin Young three that put their team up 53-12. In the final minute, West Union got a pair of baskets from Baldwin, but the final horn sounded with the Lady Devils on their way to defend their Classic title, topping the Lady Dragons 54-16.
“We didn’t take real good care of the basketball tonight with 29 turnovers,” said Coach Davis. “We are still diving after loose balls and blocking shots and I was happy with their effort. We strive to get ot the championship game and we are there.”
In the win, North Adams had 12 different girls hit the scoring column, but only one in double figures, Hupp with 21. No one else had more than 5 as both Caitlin Young and Grace McDowell reached that number.
West Union was led by Jaycee Baldwin’s 6 points.
The Lady Devils again head into familiar territory in the McDonald’s Classic championship game, which will be played on Friday, Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. North Adams will face Peebles for the 2017 title.
West Union moved into the Classic consolation game on Thursday, Dec. 29, where they battled Manvhester for the third place trophy. Look for full reports on both of those games in the Jan. 4 edition of The People’s Defender.
1 5 6 4 –16
14 16 10 14 –54
W. Union (16): Runyan 0 1-2 1, Bickett 1 0-0 3, Baldwin 2 2-6 6, Silvia 1 0-1 2, Kirker 0 2-2 2, Gallowitz 1 0-0 2, Team 5 5-11 16.
N. Adams (54): Wylie 0 1-2 1, Hesler 1 0-0 2, Toole 0 2-2 2, Louden 0 0-2 0, Hupp 8 4-6 21, Stout 2 0-0 4, Shipley 1 0-0 3, C. Young 2 0-0 5, McDowell 2 1-2 5, Jenkins 1 1-2 4, Raines 0 1-2 1, B. Young 1 0-0 2, Harper 2 0-0 4, Team 20 10-18 54.
W. Union (1): Bickett 1
N. Adams (4): Hupp 1, Shipley 1, Jenkins 1, C. Young 1