Slow start brings disappointing end to North Adams season –
By Mark Carpenter –
A somewhat disappointing season came to a very disappointing end for Coach Nathan Copas and his North Adams Green Devils on Monday, Feb. 19 as they ventured to Waverly High school to tangle with the Portsmouth West Senators in the opening round of the Southeast District Division III Sectional Tournament. The Devils had closed out the regular season with a record of 10-11 and were looking for s bit of redemption in the postseason.
Unfortunately, this group of Senators came out ready to play, while the Devils just plain came out flat and as they had all season, struggled on offense. With the aid of a 15-0 run in the first quarter, Portsmouth West built up a big lead and never gave it up. North Adams was able to cut the lead down to three in the final period, but that was as close as they could get as West held on down the stretch to claim the 54-42 victory.
“We came in here looking for a win and they came out pretty hot early,” said Coach Copas in his postgame radio interview. “We let them get to the rim too much and they just came out a little more hungry than we did.”
“They made us pay for giving them any extra scoring opportunities and we just didn’t execute well in the first half.”
The first basket of the game came when the Devils’ Elijah Young took a steal coast to coast for a score but that was six minutes before North Adams cored again. In the meantime, the Senators ran off 15 straight, seeming to hit every shot they tossed up, Another Young bucket with 1:16 left in the first period stopped the run, but West got the final score of the stanza and led 17-4.
Now the Devils were playing catch up and they began to fin a little range in the second quarter. A pair of Dylan Ison three-pointers and a stick back score by Colt Shumaker breathed some life into the North Adams side as they drew within 23-16, but the Senators answered with a 6-0 run to go back up double digits. A runner in the land by Shumaker closed the first half, but the Devils still started up at a 29-18 deficit.
The lead for West again dropped to single digits when Young opened the third quarter with a three-pointer but West matched that and extended the lead out to 13 points with 4:26 left in the period. The Devils responded with the final six points of the third, all on baskets by Austin McCormick, and heading into the final eight minutes of play, North Adams was back within single digits at 36-29.
After West opened the fourth quarter with a three-point goal, the Devils got serious, getting a McCormick free throw, then back to back threes from Ryan Shupert and suddenly with 4:55 to go, the Devils trailed by just three at 39-36, but that would be their high point of the night.
“When you get down big like that, you have to have a lot of things go right and we were doing a good job of clawing our way back into it,” said Copas. “We had the momentum but it didn’t last.”
On the strength of a pair of three-point shots, the Senators scored the next eight, quickly bursting the North Adams balloon, and taking a 47-36 lead with under three minutes to play. Down the stretch, West did what they needed to do from the free throw line after a McCormick basket had closed the gap to 50-42 with just 37 seconds remaining. Four more from the stripe closed out the night for the Senators as they advanced in tourney play with the 54-42 triumph.
In their season-ending loss, the Devils were led by 13 points from McCormick, with Elijah Young adding 9 and Dylan Ison 8. L.T. Maynard topped the victorious Senators with a game-high 14.
“Austin can be a load down in the post and I thought we missed him down there a lot in the first half,” said Copas. “Those are opportunities we needed, even for some inside-outside looks.”
The loss was the final high school game for North Adams seniors Bryant Lung, Jacob Call, Ryan Shupert, Dylan Ison, James Reeves, Colt Shumaker, and Michael Gill.
“We are losing some guys who were really valuable to us and it will be tough to replace them all,” said Coach Copas.
17 12 7 18 –54
4 14 11 13 –42
N. Adams (42): Shupert 6, Shumaker 4, McCormick 13, Ison 8, E. Young 9, Rothwell 2