North Adams girls return to district for fifth consecutive season –
By Mark Carpenter –
One of the quirks of the postseason tournaments in the Southeast District is the fact that with winning just one game, a team can claim a sectional championship. It may just be one game, but you still have to win it to advance and for the fifth consecutive season, Coach Rob Davis and his North Adams Lady Devils won that game and claimed a sectional title. Besides being their fifth in a row, it was the ninth sectional title in 10 years for the Lady Devils, and the 12th overall in the outstanding career of Coach Davis.
To win this season’s Division III sectional, the North Adams squad made a trip on Monday, Feb. 19 to Valley High School in Lucasville where they faced off with the Huntington Lady Huntsmen for the right to move on to the district tournament. The Lady Devils made an early statement, scoring the game’s first 14 points, and were never seriously challenged from that point as they downed Huntington 60-43 to earn their fifth straight berth in the district tournament.
“We knew we had a bigger team and we wanted to get the ball inside,” said Coach Davis in his postgame radio interview. “I thought they might sag in on Avery (Harper) and that allowed us to hit some outside shots early and build a lead. We did some good things defensively, especially when Brooklyn Stout guarded the Collins girls after Lakyn (Hupp) got into foul trouble. Stout gave us great minutes and did a great job.”
“We have had some foul trouble the last two games. Some of our fouls are silly fouls, when we just get too aggressive.”
That quick start on Monday night came primarily from beyond the three-point arc as the Lady Devils got an early trey from Lakyn Hupp and two from Madee Shipley, scoring on their first six possessions of the game to take that 14-0 lead. The Lady Huntsmen went scoreless for the game’s first three minutes, and a stick back by Hupp plus a Brooklyn Wylie baskets and Delaney Harper free thrown gave North Adams a commanding 19-6 advantage after one period of play.
Keeping the foot on the gas, the Lady Devils opened the second stanza with a 6-2 run fueled by a pair of inside scores by Avery Harper, before a three-pointer by Huntington’s Braiden Collins finally got the Lady Huntsmen into double figures with 5:23 left in the first half. The only drawback to the play of the Lady Devils in the second quarter is that both Hupp and Avery Harper were forced to the bench with two fouls, but the rest of the squad picked up the slack.
A steal and score by Taylor Hesler,then a nice back door cut and score by Shipley kept North Adams up 29-14, a baseline jumper by Brooklyn Stout, and a put back by Delaney Harper sent North Adams to the intermission with a 33-20 advantage.
If the Lady Huntsmen had any hopes of getting back into this contest, those hopes disappeared in the third quarter, mainly because of a 17-2 North Adams run that blew the contest wide open. The Lady Devils got four points in one trip when Grace McDowell scored and was fouled, missed the free throw, grabbed the rebound, and scored gain. The run also included seven points from Hupp and when Stout his a pair if free throws, the Lady Devils had extended the lead t out to 52-26 after three.
With the big lead, Coach Davis was able to substitute freely over the final eight minutes, with baskets by Shipley, Avery Harper, Hesler, Delaney Harper, made it 60-31. Though it was a classic case of “too little, too late,” the Lady Huntsmen did score the game’s final 12 points over a four-minute span, but when the final horn eventually blew, it was to be the Lady Devils improving their overall record to 19-3 and advancing to the districts with the 60-43 triumph.
The winning Lady Devils placed three players in double figures- Lakyn Hupp with 14, Avery Harper with 13, and Madee Shipley with 10. Grace McDowell and Taylor Hesler chipped in with 6 points apiece.
“It was nice to see everyone contribute tonight,” said Coach Davis. “That is what you have to do to advance in this tournament. Even our younger players have to be ready to go if we need them. If it is one minute or 15 minutes on the floor, everyone has to play their role.”
Huntington was paced by Braiden Collins, who led all scorers with 21 points.
The tourney trail for North Adams now moves to Waverly High School on Saturday, Feb. 24 as they will battle the Ironton Lady Tigers in a 1:45 p.m. tip off. The Lady Devils will be looking to exact some revenge, as it was Ironton who knocked them out of the district tournament two seasons ago.
Under Coach Davis, North Adams has never gotten over the hump of the district tournament, and the coach knows that Saturday will be another tough test for his girls.
“Ironton has a very nice ball club. I saw them play a couple of weeks ago and we know they will bring the pressure to us, but if we handle that and play well inside, we can compete. If we just do the little things like set solid screens, we will be okay.”
6 14 6 17 –43
19 14 19 8 –60
Huntington (43): Conley 1 4-5 6, Davis 0 0-1 0, McDonald 4 3-5 11, Black 1 1-1 3, Entler 1 0-0 2, Collins 8 4-9 21, Team 15 12-21 43.
N. Adams (60): Wylie 1 0-0 2, Hesler 3 0-0 6, Hupp 6 1-1 14, Stout 1 2-2 4, M.Shipley 4 0-0 10, McDowell 3 0-1 6, D. Harper 2 1-2 5, A. Harper 6 1-3 13, Team 26 5-9 60.
Huntington (1): Collins 1
N. Adams (3): Hupp 1, M. Shipley 2