By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald Writer

KENTON - Ada senior Brenden Szippl's desperation three-pointer from 22 feet at the buzzer banked off the glass, ricocheted off the rim and fell to the floor to preserve an exciting 46-45 win for Ridgemont over the Bulldogs Tuesday night in Div. IV first round sectional action at Kenton.

Ada junior Austin Dumbaugh had drained two clutch foul shots with just 14.1 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a slim 45-44 lead. Gopher playmaker Tyler Tillman then sped upcourt past the Ada fullcourt pressure and fed Cody Siler for an uncontested layup at the eight-second mark.

"We weren't supposed to be guarding fullcourt, we wanted to pick up at halfcourt," said Bulldog head coach Chris Sautter. "We had one person out of position."

After the Siler basket, Dumbaugh pushed the ball quickly up the right side of the floor, saw an opening but lost his dribble slightly. The Gophers had several fouls to give and perhaps he was expecting to be hammered, but no foul was forthcoming.

The high mis-dribble threw his rhythm off and when Dumbaugh drove to the basket, he crashed into a couple of Gophers and was called for a charge, his fifth foul, with four seconds to go.

Tillman was fouled six-tenths of a second later and missed badly on the front end of a one and one. Ada rebounded and quickly passed the ball ahead to Szippl, whose leaning launch nearly went in off glass but instead came off the iron hard as the buzzer sounded.

"It almost went in," lamented Sautter, who finished his 10th season at the helm. "They made one more play than we did. Give their kid credit for taking the charge."

The loss to their Hardin County rival kept the Bulldogs (6-16) from advancing to the sectional finals for the first time in over a decade. The Gophers (10-13) move on to face against Arlington (17-5) Friday night in Kenton, where the victor will advance to the Liberty-Benton district.

After a close first half, Ada appeared to seize control. Dumbaugh's left wing trey gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 24-22 heading to intermission.

Szippl's southpaw fast break layup and a triple by Brayden Sautter extended the lead to 29-24 with 5:55 to go in the third period. Gopher Tim Cowan answered with an open left wing trey for his lone basket of the night, but then Ada reeled off the next six points.

Mason Acheson tallied a layup off a nice backdoor cut and feed by Dumbaugh. Dumbaugh, playing point forward, then found Spencer Archer for another layin and a 33-27 edge at the 3:22 mark.

Archer then returned the favor with a high-low entry lob to Dumbaugh for another layup and a 35-27 bulge with 2:02 to go in the third stanza. The eight-point margin would prove to be the largest lead of the night for either team in the closely-fought contest.

Ada seemed to be in control, or on the verge of blowing the game open, when the spunky Gophers answered with the decisive stretch of the game. Their huge 11-0 run over a span of just 71 seconds was sparked by two treys and a conventional three-point play, and they rode that momentum to a three-point lead after the third period.

Freshman guard Corey Eversole swished a left wing trifecta at the 1:33 juncture to ignite the flurry. He then splashed another trey from the same spot 38 ticks later to pull the Gophers within two, and Dumbaugh was called for a foul while jostling for position inside as the shot went in to give Ridgemont possession.

Just nine seconds later, Josh Corbin powered in for a three-point play against a retreating Dumbaugh to give the green and gold its first lead of the half, as well as the Ada junior his third foul. The trio of three-point plays all came in a row within a mere 47 seconds to completely change the contest.

After Ada misfired, Siler executed a spinning post move along the right baseline for a layin and a 38-35 Gopher edge 22 seconds before the final stanza started.

"Their big run at the end of the third quarter was pretty much the deciding factor," Sautter agreed. "We had them on the edge and let them get that run. Eversole hit two big three's."

Ada still managed to forge back in front to start the fourth period. Archer scored inside off a nice penetrating Dumbaugh bounce pass with 6:37 remaining. Archer then hustled downcourt trailing a fast break and tipped in a Bulldog miss to put Ada on top 39-38 at the 5:17 mark.

Siler answered by hitting a short banker 17 seconds later. Dumbaugh missed a running shot and was called for his fourth foul going over the back after the carom with 3:49 left. He stayed in the game but Siler canned a reverse layup to put the Gophers ahead by three at the 3:36 juncture.

Tillman missed a chance to extend the lead when he misfired on two foul shots, and Szippl leaked out for a transition layin with 2:11 left. Corbin made a nice interior baseline feed to Siler for a left-handed layin and a 44-41 edge at the 1:56 mark.

Sautter then drove in and lofted up a runner that literally sat on the back of the rim for what seemed like seconds before dropping through the net with 49 seconds to go, inching Ada to within a point.

After Tillman missed the front end of another one and one, the Bulldogs worked the ball patiently to Dumbaugh, who avoided a double team, spun into the lane and drew a shooting foul. He calmly drained the two clutch foul shots sandwiched around a timeout that didn't ice him, giving the Bulldogs their final lead.

But Tillman broke the Ada pressure and fed Siler to score the game-winning basket from point-blank range.

Corbin muscled his way inside for the game's first six points on three baskets against the porous Ada interior man defense. Acheson's pull-up 13-footer got Ada on the board at the 5:11 mark.

Acheson then canned a banker and Archer tallied a short putback to tie it 6-6 with 3:11 left.

Corbin continued his early dominance with an eight-footer that put the Gophers back on top. Siler's jump hook built the lead to four, but Dumbaugh drilled a top of the key trey and a short bank shot off a Sautter feed.

Tillman's 15-footer and his lane runner put the Gophers on top 14-11 after one quarter. Archer converted a 10-footer to start the second stanza, yet a putback and a short bank shot by Siler kept Ridgemont in front, 18-14.

Sautter's driving basket and an Acheson layup tied it 18-all 3:22 before intermission. Eversole netted a fast break layin, which was answered by a Sautter drive off glass.

Eversole came back with a pull-up jumper in the lane to put the Gophers back in front, 22-20. Dumbaugh split a pair at the line with 49 seconds left in the half, then drained a triple from the left wing to give Ada its first lead of the night 16 ticks later, a two-point margin they took to the locker room.

Yet after the purple and gold extended their run to 15-5 bridging the middle quarters, the Gophers would outscore the Bulldogs 19-10 over the final 9:33 to come away with the hard-fought victory.

Siler scored a game-high 16 points and Corbin added 13 as the twin Gopher posts hurt the Bulldogs inside. "They just got the ball too deep in the post," explained Sautter. "When Austin got in foul trouble, we didn't match up well."

Eversole added 10 big points off the bench.

Dumbaugh paced Ada with 14 markers. Archer added 10 points, Sautter nine and Acheson eight in his final game.

Ada ended up with 18 turnovers. They sank 19 field goals and four of eight foul shots, while the Gophers canned 21 baskets and just one of six at the charity stripe.

"For the most part, the kids played hard and competed all season," summed up Sautter. "The problem was, we didn't have consistency from game to game."

Ada ended its campaign on a four-game losing skid to finish up 6-16. The Gophers started out 0-7, then won nine of 13 before stumbling late. The Bulldogs lost nine of their last 10 against a tough second half schedule.

Other Ada seniors playing in or suiting up for their final game were Szippl, Austin Cobb, Gabe Sutton, Kellen Decker and Michael Chen.

Ada 45 (6-16)

Szippl 2 0-0 4, Sautter 4 0-1 9, Acheson 4 0-1 8, Dumbaugh 4 4-6 14, Sutton 0, Cobb 0, Archer 5 0-0 10. Totals: 16-3/4-8/45. 3-pointers: Dumbaugh 2, Sautter 1.

Ridgemont 46 (10-13)

Eversole 4 0-0 10, Cowan 1 0-0 3, Tillman 2 0-4 4, Siler 8 0-0 16, Corbin 6 1-2 13, Weyant 0. Totals: 18-3/1-6/46. 3-pointers: Eversole 2, Cowan 1.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 11 13 11 10 45

Rmont 14 8 16 8 46