LIMA BATH — Polar Bears Ashton Dye and Holly Wilson combined to score 48 points and lead Hardin Northern past county rival Ada 60-49 in girls Div. IV first round sectional basketball action Tuesday evening at Bath.
Sophomore guard Dye scored 25 points and 5-11 senior Wilson contributed 23 markers as the duo nearly equaled the Ada output.
HN led by 11 at halftime, yet a 15-2 run by the Lady Bulldogs to start the third period put the outcome in doubt. But Northern reeled off 11 unanswered points to regain a 43-35 lead with 5:22 remaining to play.
The Lady Polar Bears held on for the win by canning 13 of 16 at the foul line down the stretch. Dye and Wilson each tallied nine points in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Bears improved to 10-13 following the hard-fought victory. The purple and gold end up 7-16 after finishing the season on a seven-game losing streak.
HN, winners of five of their last six, now will play fifth-ranked Minster (20-2) in the sectional finals Saturday at 6:15 p.m.
“We didn’t shoot well the first half and I felt lucky to be down only 11 at half,” said third-year Bulldog head coach Bill Taflinger. “We really dug ourselves a big hole.
“I was really impressed with Dye; she was probably the difference,” he continued. “I was proud of our effort in the second half.”
“That was a big win after our first loss to Ada (in early January),” said happy HN head coach Brady Mast. “Give Ada credit for coming back in the third quarter after we got off to a good start. Defensively, I thought we played well.”
Ada took its first lead of the game at 32-30 on a three-pointer by junior Anney Archer with 4:22 left in the third period. Her trey capped that 15-2 spurt to start the half.
But Dye answered with a key fast break layup to tie it. Bulldog Rilan Conley split two free throws and Raina England sank a field goal to put Ada back in front 35-32 at the 2:17 mark.
Dye went coast-to-coast on another determined drive to get HN within 35-34 heading to the final stanza. Ada outscored Northern 18-6 in the third quarter to turn an 11-point deficit into a one-point edge.
However, HN seized the momentum right back and did not relinquish it. Wilson converted two foul shots and drained a left wing trey to start the fourth, and the Bears never trailed again.
Dye drove the left baseline and canned a nice layin off glass. Kamryn Hopson then tallied a hoop inside off a nice Wilson pass to extend the lead to 43-35 with 5:22 remaining to play.
Archer stopped the 11-0 flurry with a layup. Senior sniper Haley Wyss knocked down a triple to inch Ada within 43-40 at the 4:57 juncture.
Bailee Waller sank a big layup for Northern, and Ada junior Sydney Newland split two foul shots to make it 45-41. Hopson then splashed a key 11-foot right baseline shot to make the lead six.
Wyss again pulled Ada within three as she rattled home a long trey from out top with 2:11 left. Dye and Wilson each converted a pair of foul shots to stretch the margin to seven at 51-44 with 1:36 left.
After Ada missed the front end of a one and one, Bear Quinn Stewart-Evans swished two clutch foul shots to build the lead to nine with 71 ticks left.
Wyss split two free tosses to cut the deficit to eight. But Wilson hit two free throws and Dye sank five of eight down the final stretch to keep Ada at bay.
Wyss sank a pair of foul shots and Teara Coulson drained a triple to get within 58-49 with 21 seconds to go, but it was too late.
“I thought the big key in the fourth quarter was that we attacked the basket, got better shots and did not settle for outside jumpers,” said Mast.
“They did a good job defensively taking us out of what we wanted to do,” noted Taflinger. “We missed some free throws and shots when we had a chance to extend the lead in the third. Hardin Northern played with confidence.”
HN started off well when senior Mikalea Ayers drilled a left corner trifecta to begin the game. “That was a big three and got us some confidence,” Mast observed.
Maddie Gossard netted a lane runner for the first Ada basket, but Wilson answered by sinking a follow shot and a left side trey for an 8-2 Bear lead.
Gossard and Wyss each converted a pair at the charity stripe. Wilson responded by hitting a long triple from the left wing. Coulson split a pair at the stripe and Gossard splashed a three from the top of the key to creep within 11-10.
Wilson sank a driving left-handed lane runner with a second to go to end the first period with HN on top, 13-10.
Wilson hit a spinning post-up layin to open the second stanza, and then Dye took over. She stole the ball and drove in for a layup. Waller split a pair at the line, followed by a short turnaround banker from Wilson.
Gossard nailed a right wing triple to stop the 9-0 spurt, and Archer added two foul shots to inch within 20-15.
The scrappy Dye then followed in her own miss with a layup putback. Wyss hit two at the line, before Dye sank another layin and a short left side bank shot. Dye then netted a second offensive rebound stickback in the final minute to give Northern a 28-17 lead at intermission.
“We did a good job boxing out in the first half,” Mast agreed. “We played with a lot of intensity.”
“They outworked and out-hustled us in the first half,” Taflinger noted.
A rejuvenated Bulldog club came out firing in the second half. Archer hit a driving layup and after a Bear turnover, Wyss drained a trey to slice the deficit from 11 to six in a nine-second span.
Dye converted her third putback inside, yet Newland banked in a lane shot. Wyss knocked down a long triple from out top, then tallied a layup putback of her own to get Ada within 30-29 at the 5:16 mark.
Archer put the ‘Dogs in front for the first time on a trey midway through the final period. But after the Bulldogs went up three, Northern ran off 11 straight points to regain the edge and momentum for good.
“We expended a lot of energy catching up,” Taflinger agreed. “HN started finding the gaps and made a couple of outside shots. At least we went down swinging.”
“We did not give Ada many second shots,” Mast said. “We had not played in 12 days so I was not sure how we would handle the layoff. But I think it turned out to be an advantage because our legs were fresh.”
Wyss led Ada with 20 points while Gossard added 10. Archer contributed nine points.
HN sank 20 baskets and drained four treys. The Lady Bears canned 16 of 24 (67 percent) from the foul line.
Ada connected on six two-point field goals and sank eight triples. The Bulldogs converted 13 of 21 at the charity stripe.
Senior guards Wyss and Alyssa Vore played their last games for the Bulldogs.
The HN win avenged a 56-43 loss at Ada on January 2, and is believed to be the first Polar Bear win over the Lady Bulldogs this century.
* * *
Ada 49 (7-16)
M. Gossard 3 2-2 10, Coulson 1 1-2 4, Wyss 5 6-8 20, Vore 0, Archer 3 2-3 9, Newland 1 1-2 3, England 1 0-2 2, Conley 0 1-2 1, Poling 0, Swick 0, James 0, S. Gossard 0.
Totals: 14/13-21/49. 3-pointers: Wyss 4, M. Gossard 2, Coulson 1, Archer 1.
HN 60 (10-13)
A. Dye 9 7-10 25, Wilson 7 6-8 23, Waller 1 1-4 3, Hopson 2 0-0 4, Stewart-Evans 0 2-2 2, K. Dye 0, Ayers 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20/16-24/60. 3-pointers: Wilson 3, Ayers 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 10 7 18 14 - 49
HN 13 15 6 26 - 60