North Adamsí Devin Gardner goes over a pair of Ripley defenders during first half action on Friday night at North Adams High School. Gardner led the home team with 10 points but it was the Blue Jays getting the win, 49-45.
North Adams guard Will Leasure (#3) goes airborne to get off this shot over two Ripley defenders during action from last Friday night. It was the Blue Jays tagging a 49-45 loss on Leasure and the Green Devils in SHAC play.
Blue Jays get Friday night upset win in North Adams
Cold shooting night means tough SHAC loss for Green Devils On paper, Friday night's boys varsity game at North Adams looked like a mismatch, but as true sports fans know, games aren't won or lost on paper. A 6-10 Ripley Blue Jays squad traveled to Seaman to face the 11-6 Green Devils and it was the visitors who showed up to play, putting together one of their best efforts of the season to upset North Adams in a low-scoring affair, 49-45. It was a back and forth contest all night, tied eight times, North Adams leading nine times, and Ripley leading 10 times and most importantly, at the end as they grabbed the Southern Hills Athletic Conference win.
The tone of the game for North Adams was set early as the Devils came out of the gate sloppy and ice cold from the field. Add to that a swarming Ripley defense and it had all the makings of a rough evening. Neither team managed much of an offensive surge in the first quarter with an early Seth Sparks trey putting the home team up 4-2. A bucket by the Jays' Donte Bennett at the 4:03 mark gave Ripley a 6-5 lead but the Devils answered some two minutes later with a David Shipley three to retake the advantage.
A Sheridan Carroll bucket put the hosts up 10-6 but the Blue Jays got scores from Bennett and Brad Kirschner and the first eight minutes of action ended in a deadlock.
Ripley made it an 8-0 run with the first two scored of the second stanza, but a Devin Gardner triple cut the lead to one. After another Bennett basket, the Devils got their highlights for the night when big man Levi Bales slammed home a pair of big dunks to give the home faithful something to stand up and cheer about. Combine those two slams with a three-ball by Kris King and the Devils put together a 9-2 spurt to recapture the lead at 22-18.
The scrappy Blue Jays were not daunted, however, and they bounced right back from the North Adams run to finish the half on a 6-1 run of their own, capped off when Jaylyn Williams hit a pretty runner at the buzzer to put the Jays back up 24-23 at the break.
The third quarter was an exercise in futility as the two teams combined to score just 13 points. With 4:35 to go, a baseline drive by Gardner tied the game at 27 apiece and after nearly a four minute drought, the Devils got two scores from Carroll to go back in front and lead 31-29 after three periods of play.
A basket by Ripley's Austin Whitt on Ripley's first possession of the fourth quarter tied the game once more but the Devils responded with five quick Shipley points to regain an advantage. Again, though, the resilient Blue Jays had an answer as they rattled off an 8-0 run, capped by a Justin Cluxton jumper, to go back on top 39-36. A steal and bucket by Carroll was matched very quickly by another Bennett score for the Jays as the two squads continued to jockey for position.
With Ripley up 43-30, Gardner grabbed an offensive board, scored, was fouled, and converted and that was followed by a stick back by King that shot the home team back into the lead at 45-43 with 1:30 remaining, but those were the final North Adams points of the night.
A clutch three by Ripley's Andrew Inskeep with 1:15 to play gave the Jays the lead for good and after two North Adams misses, the Jays' Houston Brown was fouled and hit one of two from the stripe. North Adams called timeout but again missed a shot attempt and Ripley's Williams was fouled at 15.9 seconds. Williams hit both shots to make it 49-45 and that is how it ended as the Blue Jays left Adams County with a well-deserved 49-45 victory.
Even in defeat, the Green Devils had a balanced scoring attack led by 10 points from Devin Gardner. Levi Bales and David Shipley each score 8, with Sheridan Carroll and Kris King adding 7 apiece. The Devils shot just 31% from the field on 16 of 51 attempts, and just 5 of 19 from three-point land for 26%. North Adams also struggled at the foul line, getting just 8 of 16 for 50%.
North Adams head coach Nathan Copas was very succinct with his comments on the game. "We did not shoot the ball well and struggled to find other ways to put points on the board," said Copas.
The winning Blue Jays were led by 17 points from their senior leader Donte Bennett, who always seemed to have a score to answer every North Adams run. Brad Kirschner added 8 points for the Jays, who shot 41% for the game, hitting 20 of 49 attempts, 1 for 8 on three-point shots.
The Devils (11-7, 5-5 SHAC) were back on the court last night as they hosted Lynchburg on Senior Night. On Friday, they face a tough road trip to Eastern to battle a Warrior squad unbeaten in league play.