North Adams moves to 10-9 with thrilling win –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Often it is the case that when two varsity boys teams from Adams County hook up on the hardwood, the contest is close, hard-fought, and usually pretty exciting and down-to-the-wire. Last Tuesday night at North Adams High School was no exception as the Green Devils welcomed in the Manchester Greyhounds and the two teams gave the fans their money’s worth plus a little more in a typical Southern Hills Athletic Conference battle.
For the sixth time this season, the Green Devils found themselves involved in an overtime game, this time two overtimes, as they battled back from a halftime deficit to force the extra period, then another before pulling out a 47-44 win as a Manchester three-point attempt to tie was of the mark as the final horn sounded.
“We are happy with the win, not real happy with the way we played,” said North Adams head coach Nathan Copas. “At this time of year, it was a big win for us with the tournament draw coming up. We have to be better than we were tonight to have the opportunity to win a couple of games in the post season. We’ve had a bunch of them.”
“We just never really executed well offensively tonight and didn’t handle pressure very well. Our 2-3 zone on defense did a decent job, we rotated well, and knew where their shooters were. I was proud of them for keeping their composure through the overtimes, which they have had plenty of experience with this year.”
Those in attendance at NAHS on Tuesday got an early hint of what may lay ahead as the two teams played through a first quarter that saw five lead changes. A three-pointer by Jamie Combs gave the Hounds a 3-2 lead and the two sides proceeded to trade buckets and the lead. With North Adams up 6-5, Manchester got a basket from Bryan Young and a Kaulen Cox trey to take a four-point advantage, and another Combs three extended that margin to 13-8. The Devils got a bucket in the paint from Austin McCormick and two Colton Thornburg free throws for the Hounds gave them a 15-10 lead after one period.
Manchester looked to have an opportunity to take control of the game early in the second quarter when they held the Devils scoreless for nearly five minutes, but were only able to muster two baskets of their own, one by Thornburg and one by Young that made it 19-10. The Devils finally got on the board with back to back buckets by Patrick England and Elijah Young, but the Hounds went back up by nine on another Young bucket and two Gage Lucas foul shots.
A jumper by McCormick and a coast to coast score by England were sandwiched around yet another score by Manchester’s Young, and that took the game to the halftime break with the Hounds in front 25-18.
That lead evaporated rather quickly in the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter as the second half began with a 7-0 North Adams run, begun by a three-point play from Colt Shumaker and ending with a jumper from Shumaker that tied the game at 25 apiece. A later three-point goal by Thornburg put the Hounds back in front, but a matching trey by Ryan Shupert for the Devils deadlocked the score once more.
A Shumaker free throw put the Devils back on top for the first time since very early in the first quarter, and when the junior forward scored again with 25 seconds left in the frame, it was the home team heading into the final eight minutes with a three-point advantage at 33-30.
The Greyhounds stormed back to open the fourth period, getting a basket by Young and then a Combs three-pointer to jump back in front. The Devils again went scoreless for almost five minutes, and again the Hounds did not pounce on the chance to build a substantial lead. The home team’s first points of the third quarter were a conventional three-point play on a nice baseline runner from Elijah Young that put his team back in front 36-35.
A basket by Cox and another by Thornburg off a North Adams turnover put the visitors back on top, but an England three-pointer kept the excitement going and tied the game again with 1:03 left in regulation.
The Greyhounds then attempted to hold the ball for the final minute and get the final shot, but turned it over with 20 seconds left. The Devil’s Elijah Young missed a shot in the lane, the Hounds rebounded, and called timeout with 3.3 seconds to go, but could not get off anything better than a desperation three-quarters court shot and the game went to overtime.
The Hounds controlled the tip of the four-minute extra period and held the ball for a minute and a half, before misses a three, grabbing the offensive rebound, and missing again. When they got the ball back after North Adams missed two free throws, a baseline drive by Thornburg gave Manchester a 41-39 lead. A minute later the game was tied again on a basket by the Devil’s Young and when the Hounds couldn’t get off a last-second shot again, the game went to a second extra period.
The second OT began well for Manchester when they converted a North Adams turnover into a three-point play on the other end by Young, but that turned out to be the only points for the Greyhounds in the four-minute span. A basket by Shupert, a free throw by McCormick, and then a McCormick score inside put the Devils back on top 46-44.
After a Manchester turnover, England was fouled with 12.8 seconds left and hit one of two free throws, giving the Hounds one last chance to tie but a good look on a three-point attempt by Thornburg wouldn’t fall and the home team escaped with the 47-44 win.
“We’ll take the win, it was a good win, and go back to practice and try to get better,” said Coach Copas.
For the winners in a low-scoring game, two players hit double figures, Austin McCormick with 11 and Patrick England with 10. Elijah Young added 9 with Colt Shumaker scoring 8.
Manchester was led by Bryan Young’s 15 points, with Colton Thornburg reaching double figures with 11 and Jamie Combs adding 9.
The Green Devils jumped back over the .500 mark with the win, now standing at 10-9, 5-6 n the SHAC. They will be back in conference action at home on Friday, Feb. 10 as they host the Peebles Indians.
The Greyhounds fell to 9-11 with the loss, 5-6 in the SHAC. Manchester will be on the road on Feb. 10 for a conference battle with the West Union Dragons.
15 10 5 9 2 3 –4
10 8 15 6 2 6 -47
Manchester (44): Lucas 0 2-2 2, Combs 3 0-0 9, Thornburg 4 2-2 11, Young 7 1-2 15, Cox 3 0-0 7, Team 17 5-6 44.
N. Adams (47): England 4 1-3 10, Shupert 2 0-0 5, Knechtly 1 2-2 4, Young 4 1-1 9, Shumaker 3 2-3 8, McCormick 5 1-5 11, Team 19 7-14 47.
Manchester (5): Combs 3, Thornburg 1, Cox 1
N. Adams (2): England 1, Shupert 1