Six teams with combined 75-6 records face off –
By Mark Carpenter –
On a Friday night where the usual varsity schedule was lean, a unique basketball triple header took place at North Adams High School on Feb. 9. Six teams converged on the hardwood at NAHS, bringing to an almost full house combined records of 75-6. The three games on the slate featured the JV Boys teams from North Adams (15-1) and Peebles (12-3), the freshman boys teams from North Adams (11-0) and Peebles (9-2), and as a nightcap a long anticipated battle between two unbeaten JV girls teams, North Adams (15-0) and Peebles (13-0). With records like those, it looks like, at least at these two schools, the basketball futures are very bright.
The JV games on the night were replacements for the fact that there was no JV tournament at the McDonald’s Classic in late December. On Friday night, Coach Rob Meade and his JV Green Devils were looking to extend a 12-game winning streak, while Coach Chris Reed and his Indians were looking to snap that streak and claim county bragging rights on the JV level. It turned out to be a night for the Green Devils, however, as the home team led from wire-to-wire on their way to a 48-33 triumph.
The JV Devils came out “guns-a-blazin”, scoring the game’s first eight points, including three-pointers from Jayden Hesler and Cameron Young. The Indians scratched their way back to within 10-6 on back-to-back baskets by Gage Crothers, but a three-point goal by Isaac Young propelled the home team to a 13-7 advantage after one quarter.
North Adams continued to add to their lead as the second period progressed with another Hesler three-ball making it 22-11. Peebles rallied from the free throw line, getting a pair from Alex Camp, but a jumper late in the frame by Cade Meade sent the Devils to the locker room with a 26-17 lead.
The Indians scored the first three points of the second half but every time the visitors seemed poised to make a run, the home team had the answer, and later baskets by Hesler and Ethan Campbell kept the North Adams lead at 33-21. A basket by Crothers and two free throws by Dawson Mills for Peebles were followed by another Hesler three and the Devils stayed up by double digits, 37-27 after three.
The lead for the home side remained at that spot for most of the final six minutes, and the final 15-point margin resulted after four free throws by Cameron Young closed out the final minute.
The winning Green Devils were led by Hesler’s 20 points, with Cameron Young and Cade Meade adding 9 apiece. Peebles was paced by Crothers’ 11 points, with Camp and Kyle Lightner tossing in 7 each.
7 10 10 6 –33
13 13 11 11 –48
Peebles (33): Camp 2 3-4 7, Lightner 3 1-2 7, Shulaw 1 1-2 3, Burba 1 0-0 2, Crothers 5 1-3 11, Mills 0 3-4 3, Team 12 9-15 33.
N. Adams (48): Hesler 7 3-4 20, C. Young 2 4-4 9, Campbell 1 0-0 2, Gardner 1 0-0 2, I. Young 2 0-0 5, Mefford 0 1-2 1, C. Meade 4 1-1 9, Team 17 9-11 48.
N. Adams (5): Hesler 3, C. Young 1, I. Young 1
The middle game of the night’s proceedings pitted two very talented freshman boys teams and at the outset, it looked like the host Green Devils were going to run away as they raced to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter and held the Indians scoreless for nearly eight minutes. The tables turned in the second quarter as the home team didn’t score until a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Jentry Crawford gave them a 16-5 halftime advantage.
The freshman Indians continued their comeback in the third quarter, putting together a 13-3 run, led by Hunter White and Easton Wesley, to close the gap to 21-18. In the final period, Peebles took its first lead with 3:50 left in the game on a three-point goal by Bryce Willoughby and free throws by White and Brock Johnson extended the Indians lead to 29-23.
A stick back by Hunter Hoop kept the Devils alive with 1:01 to play, but that was the final time the home team dented the scoreboard, as two White free throws and a bucket by Willoughby sealed the deal for Peebles, who handed the North Adams squad their first loss of the season by a final score of 34-25.
“The three main things that I try to instill in my players are hard work, character, and resiliency,” said Peebles freshman boys coach Michael Walls. “It took all three of those things for us to come out with a win against a really good North Adams team. I am very proud of what this team has accomplished so far this season and look forward to seeing great things from them in the future.”
0 5 13 16 –34
13 3 5 4 –25
Peebles (34): Willoughby 3 1-2 10, White 5 9-12 19, Myers 0 0-2 0, Johnson 0 1-4 1, Wesley 2 0-0 4, Team 11 11-20 34.
N. Adams (25): C. Crawford 2 0-0 4, Vogel 1 1-2 3, J. Crawford 2 0-0 5, Brand 1 0-0 3, Hoop 1 0-2 2, Shipley 1 0-0 2, Kennedy 3 0-0 6, Team 11 1-4 25.
Peebles (1): Willoughby 1
N. Adams (2): J. Crawford 1, Brand 1
Perhaps the most anticipated match up of the night came in the finale, a JV girls contest between a pair of undefeated teams. Both teams and their fans had been chomping at the bit for this battle, and it did not disappoint, coming right down to the wire with Coach Tony Williams and the Lady Devils pulling out a 29-28 win on a Marah Call baskets with 12 seconds left in the game.
“It wasn’t the prettiest or best game that we have played all year, but I give my girls credit for not giving up and fighting to the very end,” said Coach Williams. “We made the plays when we had to make them. It would have been nice to have hit a few more free throws at the end, but we kept battling.”
It was the Lady Indians who struck the game’s first, jumping ahead 6-0 on toe baskets by Lilly Gray and two free throws by Kylie Sims. North Adams got on the board with a pair from the stripe from Carolyn Shupert, but Gray struck again from in close twice to later make it 10-3 and a basket by Madison Beekman extended the lead out to nine. It was Gray again at the first quarter horn to give Peebles a 14-7 advantage, but the second stanza wasn’t quite as kind to the visitors.
With Gray sidelined with foul trouble, the Peebles offense was shut out in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Lady Devils scored on their first three possessions, two of those baskets by Karissa Buttelwerth, and after a drought of nearly four minutes, two free throws by Wylie Shipley brought the action to a 14-all tie by halftime.
Gray was back on the floor for the Lady Indians as the second half got underway and her two free throws gave the lead back to the visitors. A basket by Harlee Wilkinson made it 18-14 Peebles and Gray continued with the hot hand with a basket that put her side up 20-16, but the Lady Indians went scoreless for the final three minutes of the third quarter. The Lady Devils took advantage with a 7-0 run, taking their first lead of the game at 23-20 when Buttelwerth fired in a three to close out the third frame.
Early in the fourth period, the North Adams lead extended to six on a put back by Alaina Eiterman, but the Lady Indians responded with a 6-0 run as Gray tied the game at 26 with 1:08 to play. A free throw by Call gave the lead back to the Lady Devils with 55 seconds to go, but again it was a basket by the red-hot Gray with 29.3 ticks left on the clock that put Peebles back in front 28-27. (The Lady Devils missed eight free throws in the final quarter.)
The Lady Devils came down on offense and missed a pair of shots, but crashed the board enough for Call to grab a rebound and put it back up and in with 12 seconds left to give the home team the lead. A jumper by Gray at the buzzer was just off the mark and it was North Adams who stayed unbeaten, pulling out the heart-stopping one-point victory.
The victorious Lady Devils were led by 11 points from Buttelwerth, while Gray’s 20 for Peebles far and away led all scorers in a game that provided a fitting ending to an exciting basketball night.
14 0 6 8 –28
7 7 9 6 –29
Peebles (28): Wilkinson 1 1-2 3, Stone 0 0-1 0, Beekman 1 0-0 2, Gray 8 4-4 20, Sims 0 3-6 3, Team 10 8-13 28.
N. Adams (29): Sonner 0 1-5 1, Shipley 1 2-2 4, Robinson 0 1-4 1, Buttelwerth 4 2-2 11, Call 2 1-2 5, Jones 0 1-4 1, Eiterman 2 0-0 4, Shupert 0 2-3 2, Team 9 10-21 29.
N. Adams (1): Buttelwerth 1