Lady Devils remain unbeaten with victory –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Since the two teams met on Dec. 3 in their season opener, the rematch had been on the minds of both the eighth grade girls squads from North Adams and Manchester. Hands down the two top teams in the eighth grade Southern Hills Athletic Conference, the Lady Devils and Lady Hounds came into their match up on Tuesday, Jan. 24 with a combined record of 19-1, the only loss when North Adams won their first meeting 35-28. The gymnasium at North Adams was rocking on Tuesday night, with the atmosphere of a high school tournament contest, as the two teams met in a game that would go a long way to determining the small school champion of the SHAC.
Coming into Tuesday night, the Lady Devils held a one-game lead over the Lady Hounds by virtue of their earlier victory, and the second match up did nothing to disappoint the capacity crowd. Two very good girls basketball teams with very bright futures battled back and forth all night, with regulation not enough time to decide a winner. In the end, it was a late surge by the Lady Devils that earned them their second win of the year over the Lady Hounds and kept them unbeaten, as they edged their visitors 45-43.
“That was two great basketball teams going at each other out there tonight,” said North Adams head coach Shannon Staggs. “We got down and we battled back. It was the kind of game that we expected on both ends and I thought we did a good job of getting them in foul trouble, which was one of our goals coming in. It was just a great job by our whole team.”
In the first meeting, the Manchester girls had jumped out to an early lead and history repeated itself on Tuesday night. After North Adams took a quick 3-0 lead, the Lady Hounds scored the game’s next nine points, fueled by two buckets each from Karigan Turner and Brooke Kennedy. A three-pointer from Braylie Jones cut the Manchester lead in half and baskets from Delaney Harper and Wylie shipley made it a 7-0 North Adams run and a one-point lead for the home team, but a baseline jumper by Yasmin Lucas in the final seconds gave the lead back to the Lady Hounds, 11-10 after one quarter.
A free throw by Lucas and a stick back score by Kennedy began the second stanza and pushed the Manchester advantage to four. Sydney Cox scored later to keep the Hounds’ lead at 17-14 , but also picked up her third foul midway through the second period.
Taking advantage, the Lady Devils got a free throw from Brianna Robinson and a basket from Wylie Shipley off a Manchester turnover to tie the game at 17. Back came the Lady Hounds to score the final six points of the first half, finishing with another Lucas basket to take a 23-17 to the halftime break.
Scoring was at a premium in the six minutes that composed the third quarter. Jones hit another three-pointer and followed that up with a steal and basket to bring the Lady Devils within one at 27-22. Manchester got buckets from Lucas and Turner, but went scoreless over the last three minutes of the period. In that same time frame, North Adams could only muster a Karissa Buttelwerth free throw and the third quarter ended with the Lady Hounds still on top at 27-23.
The action certainly picked up in the fourth stanza, with the Lady Hounds looking to hang on and the Lady Devils looking to defend their home floor and keep their record unblemished. A steal and score by Shipley opened the fourth frame and the two sides swapped baskets until a bucket by Shipley after another steal tied the game at 31 with four minutes to go.
The Lady Hounds took the lead back when a perfectly executed out-of-bounds play resulted in Abby Young nailing a three-pointer from the corner. A North Adams turnover led to a basket by Lucas that made it 36-31 and it looked like Manchester was in the driver’s seat with less than three minutes remaining, but the Lady Devils had other ideas. Another steal meant another easy score for Shipley and a Harper free throw made it a two-point game with 2:33 to play. With 1:57 to go, Harper hauled down an offensive board and scored to deadlock things at 36. With fans on both sides on the edge of their seats, neither team scored over that last 1:57, though the Lady Devils had the ball for the final 1:06 and missed two uncontested layups, meaning the game was headed for a three-minute overtime period.
North Adams got a jumper from Shipley on their first possession of overtime, but a pair of Turner free throws tied the game for the fourth time. Then the Lady Devils took control, getting back-to-back baskets from Harper and a Buttelwerth free throw. Two crucial offensive rebounds off of missed free throws by North Adams’ Marah Call kept the ball away from the Lady Hounds, and the home team took a six-point lead when Call hit a foul shot with 44.4 seconds to play in OT.
Manchester’s Cox got a stick back basket and the Lady Hounds got the ball back on a North Adams turnover, but were immediately whistled for an illegal screen, which forced them to foul Shipley, who hit one of two from the stripe with 8.5 seconds left. Cox fired in a three-pointer from the wing to cut the margin to two with 3.4 seconds on the clock, but the Lady Devils were able to inbounds the ball and run out the clock to claim victory number 10 on the season.
Shipley and Harper were the big guns on offense for the victorious Lady Devils, getting 18 and 15 points respectively, with Braylie Jones adding 8. Manchester was led by Turner’s 13 points, with the Lady Hounds also getting 9 from Lucas and 8 each from Kennedy and Cox.
The Lady Devils improved to 10 -0 and 9-0 in the SHAC, a mark they added to the next night with a 40-27 win over Fairfield. Manchester dropped to 10-2 on the year, 8-2 in the conference.
Fans who clamor to see these two teams matched up again may get their wish in the SHAC Tournament. If both teams advance to the final game, which they will be huge favorites to do, they will battle for the SHAC Tournament title on Feb. 15 on the home court of the Lady Hounds.
11 12 4 9 7 –43
10 7 6 13 9 –45
Manchester (43): Turner 4 5-7 13, Young 2 0-1 5, Lucas 4 1-2 9, Kennedy 4 0-0 8, Cox 3 1-2 8, Team 17 7-12 43.
N. Adams (45): Jones 3 0-0 8, Buttelwerth 0 2-5 2, Call 0 1-2 1, Robinson 0 1-2 1, Shipley 8 2-10 18, Harper 7 1-3 15, Team 18 7-22 45.
Manchester (2): Young 1, Cox 1
N. Adams (2): Jones 2