Lady Devils denied again, drop 58-41 decision to Fairland –
By Mark Carpenter –
Knock, knock, knock. Knock, knock, knock.
That is a sound haunting to Coach Rob Davis and his North Adams Lady Devils. Six times previously in his illustrious coaching career, Davis had taken his Lady Devils to the district championship game, knocked on the door, and were denied entrance on to the regional tournament. Number seven came on Saturday, March 3.
For the fourth consecutive season and the seventh overall in Davis’s career, the Lady Devils found themselves on the verge of advancing to the regional tournament, only to find the door locked. This time, North Adams was turned away by the Fairland Lady Dragons, ranked 11th in the state in Division III, and featuring the talents of senior point guard Emily Chapman. Held in check for three quarters by the North Adams defense, Chapman broke loose for 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Dragons broke open a close game and brought an end to the Lady Devils season by a final score of 58-41.
“Fairland is such a good basketball team and we did a good job on them for three quarters,” said Coach Davis in his postgame radio interview. “There’s a reason why the Chapman girl is the best player in this area and she just took over in the fourth quarter.”
“We just couldn’t hit big shots when we needed to and we panicked a few times and just let it get away. We played smart most of the time, but it seemed that every time they got a lead on us, we couldn’t get that big score we needed. In these big games, you need someone to step up and make shots, but our kids were working hard and hustling. Their effort and energy was great, but he best player on the floor took over.”
As this district final game, played in the downtown gymnasium in Waverly, a large contingent of North Adams faithful filled their side of the gym and witnessed a tightly contested first period tha began with their own Avery
Harper scoring an old-fashioned three-point play on the game’s first offensive trip. The Lady Dragons bounced back to take a 9-5 lead with 1:56 left in the first quarter, but back to back baskets by Brooklyn Stout and Lakyn Hupp tied the game. The Lady Dragons then gave an omen of things to come as Chapman drilled a three-pointer and Fairland led 12-9 after the first eight minutes.
Another Chapman trey early in the second quarter put Fairland up 15-11, but the Lady Devils battled back with a put back by a very determined Harper and an acrobatic underhanded reverse layup by Hupp. The Lady Dragons dialed long distance again with a three-pointer by Harlie Lyons. Harper got yet another offensive rebound and score, followed by two Hupp free throws that cut the Fairland lead to 20-19. Two more from the charity stripe by Grace McDowell and a basket inside by Harper put North Adams back in front 23-20.
A three ball by Kelsie Warnock tied the game and the two sides traded scores for the final minute of the first half, sending them to the break all even at 27 apiece.
Two minutes into the third quarter, aided by the proverbial shooter’s bounce, the Lady Devils were back in front on a McDowell jumper. Fairland answered to retake the lead on another Warnock trey, nut baskets by Hupp and Harper gave North Adams a 33-31 advantage with 3:10 left in the third stanza, but that was the final high point of the day for the team in green.
It would be over six minutes before the Lady Devils could score again, spanning from the third into the fourth quarter. In that span, the Lady Dragons went on a 10-0 run, capped by an Allie Marshall three that gave her team a 41-33 lead with 5:21 left in the game. An Avery Harper score broke the drought, but then the multi-talented Chapman took over, scoring the next 17 points for the Lady Dragons as they began to distance themselves. While Chapman was breaking loose, the Lady Devils only managed free throws by Harper and Hupp as they saw their season slipping away from them.
As the Lady Dragons pulled away and reality set it on the North Adams sideline, Coach Davis began to substitute, giving his fans their opportunity to show their appreciation for the efforts of their departing seniors. The final points of the 2017-18 season for the Lady Devils came from McDowell with just five seconds to play as Fairland moved on to the regional tournament with the 58-41 win.
Having already announced her intentions to play next season at Cedarville University, it was Chapman leading the way for the victorious Lady Dragons with 33 points, and as mentioned, 17 in the decisive final quarter. Allie Marshall also hit double figures with 10, as Fairland moved on to the Sweet 16 and the Division III Regional semi-finals. Fairland also outscored the Lady Devils 27-0 from behind the three-point line.
(The Lady Dragons were defeated in the regionals on March 7 by Berlin Hiland by a final score of 50-44.)
In their final game of an outstanding 20-4 season, it was only fitting that Lady Devils were led in scoring by 14 points each from seniors Lakyn Hupp and Avery Harper, with Grace McDowell adding 7. Harper also hauled in 8 rebounds, with McDowell grabbing 6 boards.
A season which saw them reach the 20-win plateau, win another McDonald’s Classic, another Southern Hills Athletic Conference crown, and a fourth consecutive sectional title, ends with farewells to a group of seniors who certainly leave big shoes to fill- Hupp, Harper, Brooklyn Wylie, Taylor Hesler, Jordan Slack, Brooklyn Stout, Madee Shipley, and McKayla Raines.
“This group of kids played so well together, it was such a fun year,” added an emotional Davis. “Losing hurts, but knowing it will be our last time together hurts worse. It’s a life lesson, you’re going to go through this at times.”
“What a career our seniors have had. Four district finals, four conference championships, four McDonald’s Classic championships, four sectionals, it’s been quite a ride. They are great kids and they will all do great things in life.”
9 18 6 8 – 41
12 15 11 20 – 58
N. Adams (41): Wylie 0 0-1 0, Hupp 5 4-4 14, Stout 1 1-4 3, McDowell 2 3-4 7, D. Harper 0 1-4 1, A. Harper 6 2-4 14, Team 14 11-20 41.
Fairland (58): Lyons 1 0-0 3, Wilson 1 2-2 4, Chapman 10 8-9 33, Marshall 4 1-4 10, Warnock 2 0-0 6, Stone 0 2-2 2, Team 18 13-17 58.
Fairland (9): Chapman 5, Lyons 1, Marshall 1, Warnock 2