By Mark Carpenter
When the two top girls teams in the county meet for the third time in a season, even at one win apiece, the game fittingly should go down to the final buzzer before being decided. At North Adams High School on Monday night, fans of both teams got their money’s worth as the Lady Devils hosted the Peebles Lady Indians in a Southern Hills Athletic Conference showdown. The teams had met twice before this season, with Peebles taking the first contest in the finals of the McDonald’s Classic and North Adams coming back a week later to hang a nine-point defeat on the Lady Indians.
Monday night was the rubber match, unless the two teams cross paths once more in the post-season, and the game lived up to its billing, going right down to the final horn. The Peebles dynamic senior duo of Baylee Wallace and Sidney Pell combined for 36 points, but it was Wallace hitting a short fall away jumper as the final buzzer sounded that gave the Lady Indians the thrilling 45-44 victory.
The first seven minutes of the game certainly didn’t look like the Lady Indians were headed for a buzzer beater situation as North Adams came out of the gate like gang busters, notching up the defensive pressure and scoring the game’s first 12 points. Right off the opening tip, the Lady Devils got an easy layup by Brittany Stout and then two buckets on the inside by Mikayla Jodrey force an early timeout by Peebles head coach Vohn Hoop.
Things didn’t improve after the timeout for an ice-cold Peebles squad as the Lady Devils got a stick back bucket from Staci Dinsmore, a steal and layup from sister Sara Dinsmore, and a nice back door cut and layup from Rylee Copas to lead 12-0 with 2:22 left in the first quarter. With a chance to really put the hammer down, North Adams went scoreless the remainder of that first stanza and the Lady Indiana finally got on the board with 1:45 left on a Wallace basket and the first period ended with the home team holding a 10-point lead.
Wallace began the second quarter scoring hitting a turnaround on the baseline, but the Lady Devils answered right back, beating the Peebles press for an “and one” by Jodrey to make the lead 15-4. The Lady Indians then began a methodical comeback, getting a basket from Pell, two Aubree McFarland free throws, and a three-pointer by Jessica Sowards, bringing the visiting fans to their feet and cutting the North Adams lead to 17-13.
When Wallace was perfect in two tries on two consecutive attempts at eh foul line, the Lady Indians had crept within two at 19-17, but something kicked in on the North Adams side and the home team finished the first half on a 9-0 run. A Stout steal and short jumper started the run and in the final minute, the Dinsmore sisters struck again, with Sara hitting a three and Staci getting a steal and going coast to coast to beat the horn with a layup that send her team to the locker room with the momentum back on their side and a 28-17 advantage.
That momentum carried over to the first two minutes of the third quarter as the Lady Devils got a Jodrey free throw and a Copas basket to take their biggest lead at 31-17. Again, the home team could not bring out the killer instinct as the Lady Indians mounted another comeback. Two more McFarland free throws, a Wallace put back, and a long “3” from the top of the key by Pell sliced the North Adams lead to 33-26. The Lady Indians continued to be sharp from the foul line, something the home team was not, as Kaitlin Toller hit a pair as did Pell with 0.1 seconds on the clock and the third quarter ended with the Lady Devils still on top 35-30 but the momentum now seemed to be with the team in red.
Within 90 seconds of the final quarter, the Lady Indians had made it all the way back a basket inside from Wallace and another trey by Pell tied the game at 35 apiece. A pair of Staci Dinsmore free throws put North Adams back in front but back to back baskets by Pell and Wallace gave Peebles its first lead of the night, up 39-37. Two Pell free throws stretched that lead out to four points before the Lady Devils put together a rally of their own.
Sara Dinsmore hit one of two from the line, Copas scored on a driving layup, and a steal and short jumper by Staci Dinsmore quickly turned the tables and put North Adams back in front 42-41 with less than two minutes to play. The Lady Devils got the ball back after stopping Peebles on defense and Coach Rob Davis had his team hold the ball, until Stout was fouled with 44.5 seconds left. She hit one of two from the line and on the ensuing Peebles possession, Pell was fouled again and hit both shots to tie the game at 43 with 28 seconds to go.
While driving the baseline, Staci Dinsmore was fouled and hit one of two from the stripe to give the Lady Devils a one-point lead. Pell got the ball into the front court and was surrounded by North Adams defenders, resulting in a dual possession with the arrow point the way of the home team. With 5.8 seconds left, Sara Dinsmore was fouled and the free throw shooting woes continued for the Lady Devils as she missed both shots. Pell grabbed the rebound and Coach Hoop called a timeout with 3.7 seconds to play, setting up an exciting finish.
Inbounding the ball from in front of the North Adams bench and needing to go the length of the court, the Lady Indians got the ball to Wallace near mid court and the senior center took care of the rest. Wallace drove the ball towards the left side of the lane and got off a short fade away jumper just as the final buzzer sounded. The ball used every inch of the rim to keep the entire crowd in suspense, but eventually dropped through, sending the Peebles side into a massive celebration of a heart-stopping 45-44 win.
Though other players made contributions in other ways, the Peebles offense in the win centered around Baylee Wallace and Sidney Pell. In a win they will both long savor, Wallace led the way with 20 points including the game-winner, but the Lady Indians may have never gotten to that point had it not been for a big second half by Pell, who scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half, 9 in the final quarter.
North Adams placed seven players in the scoring column, led by Staci Dinsmore’s 11 points and 10 from Rylee Copas. Mikayla Jodrey scored 8, but only one of those came in the second half. In examining the loss, the Lady Devils need to look no further than their performance from the foul line, where they only managed to hit 9 of 21 attempts, missing 10 of those shots in the second half. On the other hand, the Lady Indians hit 16 of 23 free throw attempts.
The defeat was the first in the SHAC for the 13-3 Lady Devils and they still maintain a one-game lead over the 13-2 Lady Indians, who have dropped two league games. North Adams still has SHAC games left with Lynchburg, Manchester, Fayetteville, and Whiteoak. Peebles will still battle Whiteoak, Manchester, Fairfield, Lynchburg, and West Union as both teams face scheduled backed up by the weather cancellations.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
2 15 13 15 —45
12 16 7 9 —44
Peebles (45): McFarland 0 4-4 4, Toller 0 2-2 2, Sowards 1 0-2 3, Pell 4 6-8 16, Wallace 8 4-7 20, Tteam 13 16-23 45.
N. Adams (44): Staci Dinsmore 3 5-7 11, Gast 1 0-4 2, Copas 5 0-0 10, Stout 2 1-3 5, Boerger 1 0-0 2, Jodrey 3 2-3 8,
Sara Dinsmore 2 1-4 6, Team 17 9-21 44.
Three-Point Goals: Peebles- Sowards 1, Pell 2
N. Adams- Sara Dinsmore 1