Defensive pressure is again the key in a 61-43 North Adams victory –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Riding a 10-game winning streak, Coach Rob Davis and his North Adams Lady Devils rolled into Peebles on Monday, Jan. 23, looking to make it 11 straight and inch even closer to another small school title in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference. North Adams came in with a one-game lead in the small school division with three conference game left on their schedule and they held serve, as the jumped to an early lead and never looked back in downing the host Lady Indians 61-43, improving to 13-3 on the year, 9-2 in the SHAC. Peebles fell to 10-6 (4-5 SHAC).
Intense, pressure defense is always the trademark of Coach Davis’s teams and defense set the tone immediately on Monday night. The first two times that Peebles had the ball on offense, the Lady Devils took it away and converted wide-open layups by Taylor Hesler and Lakyn Hupp. Add in a pair of Madison Jenkins free throws and North Adams had a quick 6-0 advantage, but stayed stuck on 6 for nearly five minutes.
“We came out and got those six real quick, then got stuck a little bit,” said Coach Davis. “I thought our intensity was great all night, diving on the floor for loose balls, and our defense was great most of the night. We had some foul trouble early and our bench came in and did a great job. I couldn’t be more pleased, Peebles can be a scary team the way they shoot the ball but I thought our pressure and execution really hurt them.”
Luckily for the visitors, the home team was having all kinds of problems even getting off a decent shot and the Lady Indians didn’t get on the board until the 4:!6 mark of the first period when they got two free throws from Jessica Sowards, then two more from Baylee Justice. The Lady Devils finally broke their dry spell when Brooklyn Wylie nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key and then followed that up with a runner in the lane that put North Adams up 11-4 at the end of the first period, a period that saw the Lady Indians garner nary a single basket from the field.
After getting the final five points of the first stanza, the Lady Devils picked up the first five of the second, all from Hupp, on her way to a game-high 22 points. The first Peebles field goal of the night came nine minutes into play when McKinlee Ryan got loose and fired in a three-pointer, but North Adams answered right back with Grace McDowell hitting a three of her own to make it 19-7.
McDowell encored with another trey moments later and with a jumper by Hupp and a triple by Madee Shipley, the Lady Devils were rolling with a commanding 28-11 advantage. Late in the first half, Ryan hit another three but Shipley matched that from her favorite spot in the corner and when Hupp threw in a wild shot in the final seconds, the visitors went to the locker room with a 35-16 lead.
The second half began with Ryan getting her third three-pointer of the game, but things went from bad to worse for the Lady Indians when Sowards picked up her fourth foul just seconds in and was relegated to the bench. With Sowards out, the Lady Devils took advantage and reeled off a 14-2 run to end the third quarter, led by Hupp and Avery Harper, and North Adams took a comfortable 49-21 advantage into the final eight minutes of play.
Wylie hit another three on the first North Adams possession of the fourth quarter and scores by Hupp and Jenkins pushed the lead to its apex for the game at 56-23. Give credit to the Lady Indians, however, who didn’t shrink up and hide, but instead went on a 10-0 run that began with a three-point play by Tatum Arey and ended with a three-point goal by Sowards. The two sides then traded baskets as the clock wound down, with Peebles getting the game’s final six points to account for the final score of 61-43 in favor of the Lady Devils.
Eight different Lady Devils put numbers in the scorebook, led by Hupp’s 22, the only North Adams girls in double figures. Off the bench with a solid performance was Brooklyn Wylie with 8 points, with Grace McDowell adding 7, and the winners getting 6 apiece from Madee Shipley, Madison Jenkins, and Avery Harper.
Peebles was led by 14 points from Sowards, whose foul trouble and the North Adams defense held her without a field goal in the first half. McKinlee Ryan added 11, with Tatum Arey tallying 6.
The Lady Devils looked to move closer to the SHAC title when they hosted the Manchester Lady Greyhounds on Jan. 26, then will hit the road on Monday, Jan. 30 with a trip to Washington Court House in non-conference play.
Peebles was also back in SHAC action on Thursday when they hosted Ripley and will be on the home floor again on Jan. 30 to battle the Lynchburg Lady Mustangs.
11 24 14 12 –61
4 12 5 22 –43
N. Adams (61): Wylie 3 0-0 8, Hesler 2 0-0 4, Hupp 9 4-5 22, Stout 1 0-1 2, Shipley 2 0-0 6, McDowell 2 1-2 7, Jenkins 2 2-2 6, Harper 2 2-2 6, Team 23 9-12 61.
Peebles (43): Nichols 0 0-2 0, Ryan 4 0-4 11, Reed 2 0-0 4, Sowards 3 7-8 14, Toller 1 2-2 4, Justice 0 4-4 4, Arey 2 2-3 6, Team 12 15-23 43.
N. Adams (6): Wylie 2, Shipley 2, McDowell 2
Peebles (4): Ryan 3, Sowards 1