Mark Carpenter/The Peopleís Defender
West Unionís Jeffrey Franklin glides through the air on his way to the rim in JV boys action from last Friday night at North Adams High School. Franklin scored 13 fourth quarter points to lead a Dragon comeback that fell short as the Green Devils took a 55-45 victory.
Mark Carpenter/The Peopleís Defender
This sight brought dismay to the West Union side of the gym four times on Friday night as North Adamsí southpaw Hank Sparks drilled four three pointers to help lead his team past the Dragons 55-45.
North Adams holds off Dragons in JV boys contest, 55-45
Before last Friday's varsity contest at North Adams High School, the two schools (West Union and North Adams) sent their JV squads to the court as an appetizer and a hard-fought contest went the way of the Devils. North Adams had to hold off a late Dragons charge in order to defend their home court, getting the 55-45 victory.
For three quarters, this JV game looked like a North Adams rout as the home team controlled both ends of the floor and opened up an 18-point lead after three quarters. That was before West Union's Jeffrey Franklin decided to make things interesting and put his team on his shoulders in the final seven minutes.
The opening seven minutes of this game could have been titled "The Blake Bradley Show." The North Adams junior torched the nets for 13 points in the first quarter as his team rambled out to a big 19-6 advantage.
" I was pleased with the way our kids played early, especially the way we got some baskets out of our defense tonight," said North Adams JV coach Rob Meade, whose team snapped a six-game losing streak. "The two Blakes (Bradley and Anderson) played a real smart game and took care of the basketball for us. Anderson really hit the boards tonight and rebounded well."
The Dragons caught their breath after that first period onslaught and turned in a much better second seven minutes of play. Led by 8 points from Tyler Sininger, West Union tired to stay close but couldn't cut into the North Adams margin, as the Devils used a pair of Hank Sparks three-pointers to take a 31-15 lead at the intermission.
Sparks was again dead on from long range in the third quarter, canning two more treys as the Devils upped their lead to 46-28 and it seemed as if the home team could cool their heels in the final quarter and coast on home with the win.
Not so fast. This West Union JV team is scrappy and with Franklin leading the way, began to slice points off the North Adams advantage. Franklin was unstoppable, getting to the rim with ease and putting up 13 points in the final stanza. The Dragons began the fourth quarter with a 13-3 run, cutting the Devils' lead down to just eight. The comeback ran out of gas and time on the clock, however, as the Devils hit free throws in the final minute to hang on for the win.
"When Jeffrey gets going sometimes with his athletic ability, he can look like a man among boys," said West Union head coach Jason Claytor. "I am proud of our guys. They never quit but we can't keep waiting until the fourth quarter to start playing."
"You can't just keep flipping that light switch on and off."
"I was running some different kids out there in the fourth quarter and they didn't handle the West Union pressure very well," said Coach Meade. "You have to take advantage of your opportunities to play sometimes."
Behind his four three-point goals, Hank Sparks led the winning Devils with 16 points. After his huge first quarter, Blake Bradley only scored two more but still finished with 15 points. Blake Anderson was the third player in double figures for North Adams, garnering 10 points for the night and going 6 for 7 from the free throw line.
For West Union, now 7-8 on the year, it was the athletic and agile Jeffrey Franklin leading the way with 18 points as he continued to impress fans and coaches alike with his play. Tyler Sininger scored 8 and Dean Hall 5 for the Dragons.
6 9 13 17 -45
19 12 15 9 -55
W. Union (45): Hostetter 0 2-2 2, Sininger 4 0-0 8, Dunn 1 0-0 2, Akers 1 0-0 2, D. Hall 2 1-1 5, Hinkle 1 0-2 2, Shelton 1 2-3 4, Franklin 7 4-7 18, Sellars 0 2-2 2, Team 17 11-17 45.
N. Adams (55): Bradley 7 0-1 15, Wagers 3 0-0 6, Anderson 2 6-7 10, Sheeley 2 0-0 4, Sparks 5 2-2 16, T. Meade 0 1-2 1, McCormick 1 0-0 2, C. Meade 0 1-2 1, Team 20 10-14 55.
Bradley 1, Sparks 4
Earlier in the week, the West Union JV squad suffered a heartbreaking defeat, falling in overtime to the Lynchburg Mustangs, final score 47-44.
Again, the Dragons played from behind most of the game and with under a minute left in the game, they trailed by 9 points. With under 10 seconds remaining, the Dragons' Gareth Shelton hit a three and was fouled, converting the free throw for the rare four-point play. West Union fouled with 5.6 seconds to go and before the Mustangs can get to the line, their coach was whistled for a technical foul.
Lynchburg gets one of two from the line as does Shelton for the Dragons, leaving the deficit at two points. Because of the technical, the Dragons got possession with 4.2 ticks left. The ball was thrown in to Dean Hall, who attempted a game-winning three that was off the mark, but Shelton grabbed the rebound and put it back in to tie that game at the buzzer, giving Shelton seven points in 10 seconds.
In overtime, the Dragons found themselves down three late and a last-second three attempt by Timmy Snider was no good and the Mustangs escaped with the 47-44 win on their opponent's court.
"I was proud of my kids for not quitting," said Coach Claytor. "They showed heart and pride and I wish we had been on the other side of the coin because the guys deserved a win."