Brock Netter, Staff Writer
JACKSON — Turning defense into offense was a recipe for success for North Adams on Saturday.
The Green Devils (19-4) forced 28 turnovers, 20 in the first half, kept Westfall off the free throw line and attacked the basket effectively.
That all led to a lopsided 67-34 win over the Mustangs (10-13) in a Division III sectional final.
Delaney Harper was a complete mismatch on the court – but then again, that’s not really breaking news at this point.
She dominated on the inside, using her size, strength and length to post up at her spots and either convert a bucket or get to the free throw line.
In limited action, she managed to finish with a game-high 17 points and six rebounds.
“[Coach] Rob [Davis] always tells us it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, but always play with 32 minutes of intensity,” Harper said. “It could have been our last game and we’re not ready to be done with the season. So we came out, pushed and buried our opponent as coach likes to say.”
Despite the Green Devils forcing nine first quarter turnovers, it wasn’t all smooth sailing out of the gates. Westfall’s Marissa Mullins and Gabby Patete each buried 3’s while Mullins battled for rebounds underneath against Harper.
But Karissa Buttelwerth made a splash with five points off the bench that helped aid the Green Devils to an 18-10 lead after the first.
Then, in the second, Braylie Jones made her presence felt in a multitude of ways. She scored multiple times and found her teammates in open spots to knock down shots as well.
As the Green Devils pulled away, Jones was right in the middle of the storm, scoring seven of her 10 points and dishing out three assists. The eight-point lead turned to a 44-18 advantage at halftime as North Adams cruised to victory from there.
“Even though I missed a couple shots early, my teammates always made sure I was keeping my head up,” Jones said. “My coaches are always encouraging me to continue playing my game which gives me confidence, so I’m thankful for that.”
Jones finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Buttelwerth added nine points.
North Adams moves on to a Division III district semifinal against Wheelersburg at noon, Saturday at Waverly’s Downtown Gym.
“Wheelersburg is obviously a really good team, and we’ll need to bring our best game,” Harper said. “There are a couple things on the defensive end like our rotations with our zone that we need to work on, but we just have to continue playing with that mindset that it could be out last game and keep pushing.”
North Adams: 18-26-10-13 — 67
Westfall: 10-8-13-3 — 34
North Adams: 24-45 FG, 12-14 FT, 6-13 3pt., 23 rebounds, 8 turnovers, 11 assists (Jones 5). Scoring: Harper 17, Jones 10, Butterwerth 9, Shipley 7, Call 7, Howell 5, Robinson 4, Kendall 4, Shupert 3, Sonner 1.