The wet, dreary night on the outside did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm inside the gymnasium at Eastern High School on Monday night as the Lady Warriors played host to the North Adams Lady Devils in an early season showdown in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference on Monday, Nov. 30
Both teams were coming off easy wins in their conference openers but there was nothing easy about the struggle on Monday evening. No one left the Brown County school disappointed as the two SHAC titans went toe to toe and in the end, the home fans were the ones who headed home happy as they saw the Lady Warriors battle back from an early 11-point deficit to rally in the fourth quarter and pull off a 53-47 victory.
“This was a great game to be involved in,” Eastern head coach Kevin Pickerill told C103 Radio after the game. “Sometimes you just want to sit back and watch those kinds of games. We didn’t quit. We got down early and down double digits a couple of times and battled back in it.”
“We just wanted to keep it close until the fourth quarter and we were able to do that. Coach Davis does a great job over there, they’ve got a lot of athletes and run a deep bench at you and we did a decent job of matching them when they substituted. They keep you guessing with their defensive looks and I thought our seniors really stepped up in the fourth quarter against their pressure.”
“Our bench was excellent tonight,” Pickerill added. “We played with a pretty young lineup a lot tonight which we will probably do a lot this season.”
If you viewed the first four minutes of Monday’s game, you may not have believed that the home team was going to leave the gym victorious. The visiting Lady Devils came out on fire, getting three-pointers from Staci Dinsmore and Taylor Wylie on their way to taking an 11-0 advantage. Eastern did not get on the board until the 3:50 mark of the first quarter on a bucket inside by Mikayla Farris.
“We had great energy early in the game,” said North Adams head coach Rob Davis. “It helped that we were knocking down shots too.”
The Lady Devils maintained their 11-point lead later in the period when Lakyn Hupp drilled a three off the right wing, but when the Lady Warriors got the final two buckets of the quarter, both from Allison Day, the home team had drawn to within 17-10.
Those two late buckets shifted the momentum to Eastern as they proceeded to reel off the first eight points of the second period to make it a 12-0 run and take their first lead of the game at 18-17. A baseline jumper by Wylie put North Adams back in front and after a bucket by Eastern’s Morgan Reynolds, it was the time for big “mo” to go back to the visitors as the Lade Devils, aided by six straight Dinsmore points, went on a 10-0 run to grab the lead back at 29-20 with 2:45 left in the first half.
The next five points belonged to the Lady Warriors but a put back score late in the half by Dinsmore sent North Adams to the halftime break holding a 33-26 lead.
Out of the locker room, it was Eastern again taking control, getting three quick inside buckets from Farris during an 8-2 run to cut the North Adams lead to one point. Another Hupp three-pointer gave the Lady Devils a little breathing room but back came the Lady Warriors, with a pair of Day baskets giving them the lead back at 40-39.
“We talked at halftime about trying to get Mikayla some touches under the basket and we were able to do that,” said Coach Pickerill.
North Adams answered with Avery Harper getting loose inside for the basket and one, a score by Eastern’s Whitney Broughton tied the game at 42, and a Dinsmore free throw sent the two teams into what promised to be an exciting final eight minutes, with the Lady Devils up 43-42.
The fourth quarter would be a disastrous one for the North Adams girls as they managed just four points, the first coming on a Harper free throw on their first possession that made it 44-42. A jumper in the lane by Eastern’s Molly Prine tied the game again and the final North Adams field goal of the game, a short jumper by Dinsmore, put the visitors back in front by two with four and a half minutes to play.
After Eastern tied the game on a basket by Maggie Fultz, a free throw by Madison Jenkins gave North Adams their final lead of the night, 47-46 with 3:10 to go. That was also to be the final point of the game for the Lady Devils as Eastern took advantage of North Adams turnovers down the stretch to race in front to stay.
First, a bucket by Day gave them Warriors the lead for good at 48-47 with 2:41 to go. No one scored for the next 111 seconds, though the Lady Warriors had four shots in one trip down, but none fell. After the Lady Devils turned it over, Prine hit a driving layup with 50 seconds to go to put the home team up by three. After Dinsmore misfired on a long three, Day was fouled and hit one of two from the stripe with 16 seconds left. Down four now, the Lady Devils turned the ball over again, but Prine missed the front end of the bonus.
Coach Davis called a timeout, but his team did not execute as their inbounds pass was easily intercepted and Prine was fouled again with just 3.2 ticks left. The Eastern senior guard hit both free throws and time ran out as the Lady Warriors celebrated a come-from-behind 53-47 conference win.
“We just have to do a much better job at limiting teams to one shot,” said Coach Davis. “We force teams to take bad shots but we have to reward ourselves by getting the rebound. Give Eastern credit, they battled us all night and earned the victory. We have to regroup now and get prepared to face an improving Fairfield team.”
The victorious Lady Warriors were led by 15 points from Allison Day, with Molly Prine adding 9, Mikayla Farris 8, and Whitney Broughton 7. The home team struggled from the foul line, hitting just 9 of 19 attempts.
North Adams was paced by 15 points from senior Staci Dinsmore and she was joined in double figures by Lakyn Hupp and Avery Harper with 11 apiece. The Lady Devils converted just 11 of 21 attempts from the foul line.
Fresh off the big conference win, the Lady Warriors will be back in action on Dec. 3 when they host the Fayetteville Lady Rockets. North Adams will look to bounce back on the same night when they make the long trek to Fairfield to face the Lady Lions. Both teams now stand at 2-1 on the season.
NAHS 17 16 10 4 —47
EHS 10 16 16 11 —53
NAHS (47): Dinsmore 6 3-6 15, Hesler 1 0-0 2, Wylie 2 0-0 5, Hupp 3 2-6 11, McDowell 1 0-0 2, Jenkins 0 1-2 1, Harper 3 5-7 11, Team 16 11-21 47.
EHS (53): Fultz 1 0-0 2, Prine 3 3-5 9, Broughton 3 1-2 7, Reynolds 1 2-4 4, Rose 2 0-1 4, Day 7 1-3 15, Stamper 1 2-2 4, Farris 4 0-2 8, Team 22 9-19 53.
NAHS- Wylie 1, Hupp 3