By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - Host Ada cranked up the defense and held Columbus Grove to just 17 points after intermission to overcome a seven-point deficit and post a 54-42 Northwest Conference girls basketball win Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 25-18 at halftime but turned the game around with a 19-6 third period that saw them limit CG without a field goal until the final minute of the key stanza.
Grove pulled within 39-33 on a 12-footer by Breanne Halker with 6:26 remaining. Yet Tori Wyss scored four straight points to ignite a decisive 11-3 run that put the game away.
The Senior Nigh win improved the Bulldog record to 12-8 overall and 6-2 in the NWC, while Grove fell to 5-14 and 3-5 in the league.
"At halftime we told the girls we weren't shooting well and that a good team has to win ugly sometimes," said Ada coach Neal Dumbaugh. "We played a whole lot differently in the second half."
Senior Taylor Willeke canned three foul shots, classmate Morgan Rouch swished a lane jumper and Alexis Gonzaga sank a layup off the fast break to continue the run Wyss started and give Ada a 50-36 lead.
Grove stopped the spurt too late on a putback, and added four points on another Yinger trifecta in the final 39 seconds to cut the final margin to a dozen.
The hosts turned the game around by crashing the offensive boards and upping the defensive intensity in the third quarter. Wyss led the way in both respects and finished with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Inside baskets by Wyss and Willeke started the second half strongly for rejuvenated Ada. Alexis Amburgey buried a trifecta from out top to pull the hosts within two at the 4:44 mark. Wyss tied it on a third try putback half a minute later, 27-27.
A driving layup down the left baseline by Willeke gave Ada the lead for good 29-28 at the 3:21 juncture. Amburgey then drained another important trey with two minutes left to put the purple and gold up four.
"Amburgey hit some big three's in the third quarter, absolutely," Dumbaugh agreed.
Sophomore post Lindsay Walden got into the board-banging act by knocking in a stickback to help Ada grab a 35-29 lead. Halker scored the first Grove basket of the period in the final minute on a layup, but Wyss answered with a tough runner in the lane with two seconds to go for a 37-31 margin.
Wyss continued her run to open the fourth period by canning two foul shots and nailing a right wing 17-footer. Ada then put it away with their 15-5 closing burst.
The purple and gold looked like it would run away with the win early as they raced to an 8-0 lead. They tallied three transition layups and another bunny by Wyss and held Grove scoreless for the first 5:27 of play.
CG then warmed up to reel off nine straight points, taking a 9-8 lead on Madison Yinger's right wing triple with 15 seconds to go in the opening stanza. A pair of Wyss foul shots seconds later put Ada back in front, but only briefly as Hope Schroeder drilled a trey just before the buzzer for a 12-10 Grove edge.
A Halker trey and two foul shots by Sammi Stechschulte completed a 17-2 splurge to give CG a 17-10 margin. Wyss again stemmed the tide with two foul shots, but Rachel Schumaker canned a triple to give the visitors an eight-point cushion. Amburgey scored yet Stechschulte banked in a trey from the top of the key to provide CG with its biggest lead of the night, 24-14.
Wyss knocked in yet two more foul shots and Walden added a layin to get the Bulldogs within 25-18 at the break. The hosts then began half two on a momentum-changing 17-4 run and never looked back.
Ada committed 10 of its 15 turnovers in the first half, settling down well after intermission.
In a few statistical oddities, Grove made only four two-point baskets and seven treys. Sydney McCluer did not make a field goal but shot 14 free throws, netting all eight of her points at the line. No Grove player hit double figures as Stechschulte led the visiting Bulldogs with nine points. Halker and Schumacher each added seven markers.
Sophomore post Walden snared eight rebounds while Willeke added seven caroms to go with 11 points and five assists. Amburgey contributed eight points.
"Morgan Rouch did a nice job defensively and Sidney Faine defended well too," Dumbaugh pointed out.
Ada converted 16 of 26 foul shots (62 percent), including a whopping 11 of 16 by the hustling Wyss. CG splashed 13 of 22 (59 percent) at the charity stripe. Rouch and Willeke won their final Ada home games as the two Bulldog seniors went out winners.
Grove won the reserve game 39-36. Morgan Sutton led Ada with nine points while Madison Vorhees topped CG with nine markers.
Ada 54 (12-8, 6-2 NWC)
Rouch 2 0-0 4, Willeke 3 5-9 11, Walden 2 0-0 4, Amburgey 3 0-0 8, Wyss 6 11-16 23, Gonzaga 1 0-1 2, Wildman 1 0-0 2, Faine 0. Totals: 16-2/16-26/54. 3-pointers: Amburgey 2.
Col. Grove 42 (5-14, 3-5 NWC)
Halker 3 0-0 7, McCluer 0 8-14 8, H. Schroeder 1 0-0 3, Yinger 2 0-0 6, Stechschulte 2 4-4 9, Schumacher 2 1-2 7, Karhoff 0 0-2 0, Fruchey 1 0-0 2. Totals: 4-7/13-22/42. 3-pointers: Yinger 2, Halker 1, Schroeder 1, Schumacher 2, Stechschulte 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 10 8 19 17 54
CG 12 13 6 11 42
JV: CG 39, Ada 34.
Ada visits solid Pandora-Gilboa (13-6) next Tuesday in their final non-league game of the season. The Lady Bulldogs then go to last-place Paulding (4-16, 0-8 NWC) for the regular season finale Thursday, Feb. 14. A win will clinch at least a second-place tie for the Bulldogs behind league champion Crestview (8-0 NWC).
Ada finished 7-4 at home and is 5-4 on the road this season.