By Mark Carpenter
In the regular season, when two local teams meet, it usually means a packed house and an exciting night. When they meet in the post season, it means the same thing except the night is tinged with sadness as it means that one of the local squads will be eliminated from tournament play. Thus was the case last week at Valley High School as the North Adams Green Devils faced off with the Peebles Indians in a sectional championship game.
With the opportunity to move to the district tournament at the “Convo” on the line, it was the Indians who took control early, scoring the game’s first seven points on their way to a convincing 63-30 victory over their county rival. The win sent Peebles to the district semi-finals at Ohio University, where they battled Glouster Trimble last night.
“Defensively we wanted to do whatever we had to do, be it trap or whatever to get the tempo of the game where we wanted it,” said Peebles head coach Josh Arey after the game. “Our practices have been wonderful this week and we brought some energy to the game tonight.”
“We’d love to go to the Convo for two or three games and in order to do that we are going to have to have some depth,” said Arey. “That floor will take some kids by surprise so we have to be ready to go.”
It seemed to be the strategy of the Green Devils at this contest’s start to slow down the pace and minimize the possessions for the Peebles offense. That strategy worked defensively, but on offense the Devils turned the ball over on two of their first three possessions, though the game remained scoreless for nearly four minutes.
That scoring drought was ended in a big way by Peebles’ Beau Justice, who broke the ice with a three-pointer at the 4:15 mark and followed that up in the next minute with a fall away jumper from the free throw line and a driving bank shot to give his team the 7-0 advantage. North Adams finally got on the board on a lay up by Hank Sparks with 2:36 to go in the first, but Justice answered that with a long three to make it 10-2. Devils’ point guard Isaiah Anderson sliced through the Peebles defense in the final seconds to toss in a left-handed lay up and the first period ended with Peebles holding a six-point lead.
That lead ballooned to 11 when the Indians scored on their first two possessions of the second quarter, a “3” by Zach Arrasmith and a basket in the paint by Brady Johnson. North Adams got a Blake Bradley free throw, but the Indians answered with eight straight on baskets by Arrasmith, Scout Kremin, Eric Schmitz, and Cody Ireton to open up a commanding 23-5 lead with three minutes left in the first half.
North Adams got buckets from Sparks and Mikey Sheeley in that final three minutes but the Indians continued to roll, finishing the half on a 6-0 run to go to the break in front 31-9.
The third quarter was more of the same, though the Devils scored as many points in the third as they had in the entire first half. Peebles opened the third with a 7-4 run to lead 38-13 before a Bradley three for North Adams. Of course, that was followed by another Justice run of five points as the Indians continued to build their lead.
Devin Gardner hit two free throws for North Adams with 1:13 to go but an Ireton trey and a bucket by Johnson closed out the third stanza with Peebles firmly in control, 48-18.
The Devils got a free throw from Cole Meade and a pair of threes from the senior Bradley early in the fourth period and a Justice basket at the 3:34 mark made it 56-25 and both coaches began to substitute freely, with the outcome not in doubt. The final basket of Bradley’s fine career came on a nice baseline runner late and the Devils got a three-pointer from Braxton McFarland in the final seconds. For Peebles, Jacob Gross came off the bench to hit two short jumpers to make the final 63-30 in favor of the Indians, who proceeded to cut down the nets in celebration of a sectional championship.
As his been the case most of the season, the offensive star of the night was Peebles’ Beau Justice, who nearly outscored the entire North Adams team as he poured in 29 points, which strange to say is actually below his average. The Indians also got 10 points from Zach Arrasmith , 8 from Brady Johnson, and 7 from Eric Schmitz.
“Beau is such a great shooter and great competitor,” said Arey. “You can tell in warmups when he has that stare going. He’s ready to go with his game face on.”
In his final time in the green and gold of North Adams, senior guard Blake Bradley led the Green Devils with 14 points, hitting a trio of three-pointers, all in the second half. Senior Hank Sparks closed out his career with 4 points with senior Devin Gardner adding 2.
The Indians moved to last night’s district final against a tough Trimble squad. (Look for the report on that game in a future issue of The People’s Defender.)
“Trimble is a scary team and a tough match up for us,” said Coach Arey. “They have size inside and like to push the ball up and down the floor very quickly. We’ll get our game plan in place and expect our kids to come out and execute it.”
“It’s tournament time and no one cares that we are 20-3 or had a state ranking. We have to come out every game with intensity and focus no matter who we play.”
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
4 5 9 12 —30
10 21 17 15 —63
N. Adams (30): Bradley 5 1-6 14, McFarland 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Sparks 2 0-0 4, Gardner 0 2-2 2,
C. Meade 1 1-2 3, Team 11 4-11 30.
Peebles (63): Arrasmith 4 1-2 10, Justice 11 4-4 29, E. Schmitz 3 1-2 7, Ireton 1 0-0 3, Gross 2 0-0 4, Kremin 1 0-0 2,
Johnson 4 0-0 8, Team 26 6-8 63.
Three-Point Goals: N. Adams- Bradley 3, McFarland 1
Peebles- Arrasmith 1, Justice 3, Ireton 1