By Mark Carpenter
Meeting for the third time already this season, it was the junior high boys teams of North Adams and West Union battling again last Wednesday night on the hardwood at North Adams High School. Relatively speaking, fans of both sides went home with a bit of happiness as the two schools split the night, North Adams winning a tight seventh grade game 35-33 and West Union taking the eighth grade nightcap by a final score of 35-20.
In seventh grade play, the Green Devils already owned two wins over West Union and as the old sports cliche goes, “it’s hard to beat a team three times,” and that proved to be quite true as the spirited Dragons put up quite a fight in a game not decided until the final minutes.
The first quarter edge belonged to the Green Devils, mainly due to a large rebounding advantage. a pair of baskets by Darren Coday helped the home team grab a 9-6 advantage.
In the second period, the Devils were up 13-10 before West Union guard Conner Campbell took over the action. Campbell got an old-style three-point play and then hit a pair of free throws, followed by a basket from Jordan Lamphier, and suddenly the Dragons had grabbed a 17-13 lead.
With 22 seconds left in the first half, North Adams got a bucket from Elijah Young but a Lamphier free throw extended the West Union lead to three. In the final seconds, Coday got behind the West Union press for an easy layup which pulled the home team within 18-17 at the intermission.
The Devils jumped back in front on their first possession of the second half on a three-pointer by Young, but the Dragons tied it up on a stick back by Josh Tumbleson. That began a back and forth third quarter that saw a total of seven lead changes as the two sides fired volleys at each other. First, it was North Adams jumping back in front, then West Union, then North Adams again, then West Union, and so it went until the score stood 29-27 Devils after a three by Andrew Scott.
Scott followed that long bomb up with a steal and layup and the Devils finished the third quarter with their biggest lead of the quarter at 31-27.
The final period began with the Dragons drawing closer on a basket by Brandon Blevins and the Devils going back up by three on a free throw from Nolan Newman.West Union answered with another Tumbleson bucket but after that point, the proverbial lid capped the basket for both teams as neither could find the bottom of the net and a lengthy scoring drought ensued and extended into the game’s final minute.
Perhaps the biggest shot of the game came with just 40 seconds to play when Scott came up big for the Devils with a three-point goal that salted the game away. The Dragons got a basket from Lamphier with just five ticks left but it was not to be enough as the Green Devils escaped with their third win of the year over the Dragons, 35-33.
The win for the Devils evened their record on the season at 4-4 and they were led in scoring by Elijah Young’s 12 points. Young was joined in double figures by Andrew Scott with 10. Darren Coday pitched in 6 for the winners.
West Union fell to 2-9 on the season and was topped by 10 points from Conner Campbell. Jordan Lamphier added 7 and Josh Tumbleson 6 for the Dragons. West Union struggled at the foul line, hitting just 8 of 18 attempts.
6 12 9 6 —33
9 8 14 4 —35
W. Union (33): Campbell 3 3-5 10, Lamphier 3 1-3 7, Tumbleson 3 0-0 6, Blevins 2 0-2 4, Adams 1 0-0 2, Calvert 0 4-8 4,
Team 12 8-18 33.
N. Adams (35): Campbell 1 0-0 2, Scott 3 2-2 10, Newman 0 2-5 2, Young 5 1-3 12, Mefford 1 1-2 3, Coday 3 0-0 6,
Team 13 6-12 35.
Three-Point Goals: W. Union- Campbell 1
N. Adams- Scott 2, Young 1
In the eight grade contest, the pace began quite slow as the Dragons did not come out to the court with the intensity they had shown in earlier games, though their full court pressure took its toll. Neither team could muster much offense in the opening six minutes, but two baskets by Eli Fuller gave visiting West Union a 6-4 advantage.
A basket by North Adams’ Colt Shumaker tied the game early in the second quarter and a three by Tanner Utterback gave the home side a 9-6 lead. The Dragons answered with a score from Elijah McCarty, before the Devils got another trey from Bryant Lung to lead 12-8. The first half ended on quite a high note for West Union as Garrett Vogler stepped just inside half court and banked in a long distance bomb to cut the North Adams lead to one at the break.
Early in the second half, the Dragons regained the lead when Trevor Neal scored off a designed out-of-bounds play and Vogler fired in a hoop to make it 15-12. The first North Adams points of the third period came at the 3:15 mark on a basket by Utterback and with 2:30 to go the game was tied again at 16 after a Tray Brand score. The Dragons jumped back ahead on a basket by Neal and another Vogler trey and an Utterback score left North Adams down just 21-18 after three periods.
Any thoughts that visiting North Adams had of pulling off an upset vanished rapidly in the final quarter as the Devils went scoreless for the first five and a half minutes. The Dragons took full advantage by going on a 14-0 run to take total control of the contest. West Union got a three-point play from Neal and baskets from Fuller, McCarty, and two from Mason Fannin to race out to an insurmountable 35-18 lead. North Adams got their only score of the final six minutes with just 30 seconds to play but it was the Dragons who captured the road victory, final score 35-20.
With the win, West Union moved to 9-2 on the season and put up a balanced scoring attack, led by 9 points from Garrett Vogler. Trevor Neal added 7, Elijah McCarty and Eli Fuller 6 each, and Mason Fannin 5.
North Adams fell to 1-7 on the year and was led n scoring by 7 points apiece from Tanner Utterback and Bryant Lung.
6 5 10 14 —35
4 8 6 2 —20
W. Union (35): Vogler 3 1-2 9, McCarty 2 2-2 6, Fuller 3 0-0 6, Neal 3 1-3 7, Fannin 2 1-2 5, Webb 1 0-0 2,
Team 14 5-9 35.
N. Adams (20): Lung 3 0-0 7, Utterback 3 0-0 7, Brand 2 0-0 4, Shumaker 1 0-0 2, Team 9 0-0 20.
Three-Point Goals: W. Union- Vogler 2
N. Adams- Lung 1, Utterback 1