By Mark Carpenter –
In the past couple of seasons, North Adams boys varsity head coach Nathan Copas would be the first to tell you that his teams struggled to produce any kind of consistent offense. Going into this season, that was still a mystery, but Copas and his Green Devils may have found a temporary solution, even though that solution rests over 19 feet from the rim.
In their annual Foundation Game in Georgetown on Nov. 18, the Green Devils decided to move their firing line beyond the three-point arc and in the process, drilled 10 three-pointers as they knocked off the host G-Men by a final score of 69-65. Led by 25 points from senior Ryan Shupert, North Adams held off the G-Men to pick up a win in the exhibition tune-up.
“I liked our energy tonight,” said Coach Copas. “If we start getting comfortable with each other on the floor, I think we can be a pretty good offensive team. We have multiple guys who can get off shots and others who can get to the rim.”
“If we can get better at the free throw line to close out games, we will be fun to watch.”
On Saturday night in Georgetown, the Green Devils showed early what their strategy would be as Shupert nailed a trio of three-point shots to give North Adams a 9-2 advantage. After a 6-0 Georgetown run, the Devils’ Dylan Ison added a pair of treys off the bench, followed by yet another by Elijah Young and when Young scored at the buzzer, an impressive opening period ended with North Adams on top 22-10.
The second stanza began with Georgetown’s Luke Gast converting a three-point play, but the Devils answered with baskets by Ison and Michael Gill and later from big man Austin McCormick to keep their lead in double digits at 29-19. Another Shupert three ball stretched the lead back to 11, but a 5-0 G-Men spurt pulled the home team within 32-26 with 2:40 left in the first half.
McCormick scored on the inside and was fouled, missed the free throw, but Ison was “johnny-on-the-spot” to grab the rebound and score to push the lead back to 10. The final bucket of the first half belonged to the home team, but it was the Devils taking a 36-28 lead to the locker room.
Both teams scored on their first possessions of the third period, Gill for North Adams and Cameron Brookbank for the G-Men, but a later three-pointer by Young moved the devils back out to what seemed like a comfortable 47-34 advantage. A Brookbank trey fueled a 7-0 Georgetown run that got the home team right back in it, but the Devils again had an answer, with Shupert and McCormick spurring a 6-3 run to end the third quarter with the visitors still in front, 53-44.
The two teams put together a very exciting final eight minutes, with the G-Men battling back and the Green Devils hanging on. Young’s third trey of the game kept the North Adams lead at 58-51, but four straight by the G-Men was followed by Shupert’s fifth three of the night and a pair of Young free throws made it 63-55.
Back came th resilient G-Men again, getting four points from big man Noah Pack and a three from Johnny Strickland and with under a minute to play, the game was now a one-point affair, with North Adams clinging to a 63-62 lead.
The game then belonged to North Adams’ Shupert in the clutch. The senior wing man hit six free throws in the game’s final 22 seconds, the final pair with just 4.5 ticks remaining to seal the deal on the 69-65 exhibition win.
“We still have to get past some of the bad decisions we make,” said Coach Copas. “We won, but we still better be learning.”
Shupert’s 25 points paced four Devils in double figures, with Young adding 15, Ison 12, and McCormick 11. Georgetown was led in scoring by Pack’s 23 points.
For North Adams, regular season play looms and the Green Devils open up with a non-conference tilt on Friday, Dec, 1, hosting the Minford Falcons.
22 14 17 16 –69
10 18 16 21 –65
N. Adams (69): Rothwell 1 0-2 2, Shupert 7 6-7 25, Ison 5 0-2 12, E. Young 4 2-2 15, Gill 2 0-0 4, McCormick 5 1-3 11, Team 24 9-16 69.
Georgetown (65): Cahall 0 5-8 5, Gast 4 1-3 9, Brookbank 2 3-4 8, Doss 1 0-0 2, Householder 2 3-6 8, Strickland 3 0-0 8, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Pack 8 7-8 23, Team 21 19-29 65.
N. Adams (10): Shupert 5, Ison 2, E. Young 3
Georgetown (4): Brookbank 1, Householder 1, Strickland 2