By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald writer

ADA - Ada held visiting backyard rival Allen East scoreless for nearly 10 minutes in the second half to break open a close battle and tally 16 unanswered points, paving the way for a 52-35 victory Thursday night in Northwest Conference girls hardwood action.

The Lady Bulldogs trailed for much of the first half and held a slim 32-31 edge late in the third period when their defense clamped down on the tiring Mustangs. Ada senior Taylor Willeke scored seven points and sophomore Tori Wyss netted six in the decisive 16-0 spurt.

Ada improved to 8-5 and 3-1 in league play with the win, while AE fell to 5-6 and 2-2.

"Taylor and Tori came to play, they were both big," said veteran Ada coach Neal Dumbaugh of the duo who combined to equal the AE total of 35 points. "Morgan Rouch was the key to the game; she was defensively solid. I thought the rim shrunk on them in the second half."

Rouch and the Bulldogs held athletic 5-9 Mustang junior leading scorer Kaycee Rowe without a point.

"We hit a lull in the second half and couldn't finish at the basket," explained Mustang coach Jarrod Wehri of his team's costly scoreless spell. "You know it is going to be a battle whenever two rivals like this play."

Mustang guard Aubri Woods drove through the defense and sank a layup to pull AE to 32-31 with 2:08 left in the third period. Ada called timeout and proceeded to hold the visitors without a point for the next 9:51.

Meanwhile, Wyss nailed two foul shots and an 18-footer from the circle to propel the Bulldogs to a 36-31 lead heading to the fourth stanza.

Alexis Amburgey canned a lane banker to continue the run into the final quarter. Willeke buried a left corner trifecta to build the lead to 41-31 with 6:30 remaining. Wyss converted a pair of foul shots and then Ada ran off nearly two minutes with an effective delay game.

Amburgey split a pair at the line and Willeke splashed four straight from the charity stripe to balloon the lead to 48-31 with 87 seconds left.

AE sophomore Carly Clum ended the Mustang drought with a layup at the 1:17 mark, but it was too late. Ada freshman Sidney Faine answered with a layup nine seconds later.

After two purple and gold foul shots, Woods added a basket on a short follow shot with four ticks left to make the final margin 17.

"Momentum in women's athletics is huge," noted Dumbaugh.

Ada led 3-0 on a left wing trey by Wyss to open the game, but then the hustling Mustangs dominated much of the rest of the half. Senior Jadin Salyers made a driving left-handed layup and junior Erin Conkle reeled off six straight points to give AE an 8-5 edge.

Senior guard Morgan Truex banked in a lane shot, then canned a layup to build the lead to 12-6 midway through the opening stanza.

Wyss converted a conventional three-point play inside to halve the deficit. Willeke splashed a 16-footer at the 43-second mark to make it 12-11 after one period.

Salyers opened the second quarter by nailing a 15-footer from the left wing. Truex then stole the ball and drove in for an easy layin for a 16-11 AE cushion 7:22 before intermission.

"Morgan is a real hustler," noted Wehri. "She played a little under the weather, too."

Willeke split two foul shots and Rouch canned a short right side stickback off glass to pull the hosts within 16-14. However, Conkle rattled in an 18-footer from the right wing.

Amburgey responded by draining a left side triple yet Conkle answered with a foul shot and a half hook in the lane for a 21-17 Mustang lead.

Wyss knocked down a 15-footer off the left baseline, and then Willeke came up with one of the big shots of the game.

She pulled up from 25 feet out front and splashed a trifecta to give Ada a 22-21 lead with 20 seconds to go in the half. It was Ada's first lead since the opening minute, one they took to the locker room.

"It's nice to have the ball in Taylor's hands," admitted Dumbaugh. "That was a key shot."

Amburgey opened the second half by netting a short bank shot from the right side. Willeke drilled a 16-footer off the left baseline, then added a pair of foul shots to give Ada its biggest lead to that point at 28-21 with 4:35 left in the third stanza.

A Clum layup off an in-bounds play stopped the Bulldog 11-0 run over the middle periods and ended another drought of just under six minutes.

Wyss hit two free tosses at the 3:37 mark to give Ada a 30-23 bulge. AE then started on a small comeback of its own behind a seldom-seen play.

Truex swished a high-arching triple from out front, was fouled and added the free toss to complete a rare four-point play with 3:27 left. Faine converted a layin off a nice Amburgey pass, but Clum knocked down a short half hook off glass to bring the blue and white within 32-29 at the 2:39 mark.

Woods then sliced the deficit to just one point before Ada put on the clinching 16-0 flurry. Dumbaugh agreed that his team's response to the AE third quarter 8-2 burst was "absolutely" key to the outcome.

Wyss topped all scorers with 18 points. Willeke netted 17 markers and doled out six assists. Amburgey contributed nine points and eight rebounds.

Conkle topped the Mustangs with 11 points, all of which came in the first half. Truex tallied 10 and Clum added six points off the bench. "Clum is a nice player," said Wehri.

Ada committed just nine turnovers and outscored AE 18 to four at the charity stripe. Both teams canned 15 baskets, but the Bulldogs hit four treys compared to one by the Mustangs.

The Bulldogs limited AE to just 14 second half points and only 23 over the final 28 minutes.

"This was good medicine for us," added Dumabugh, whose team won its second game in four days.

The reserve contest was cancelled due to AE having several players sick. "We had some illness and cramps hurt us, too," noted Wehri.

Ada 52 (8-5, 3-1 NWC)

Willeke 4 7-8 17, Rouch 2 0-0 4, Walden 0, Wyss 4 9-11 18, Amburgey 3 2-4 9, Wildman 0 0-2 0, Faine 2 0-0 4. Totals: 15/18-25/52. 3-pointers: Willeke 2, Wyss 1, Amburgey 1.

AE 35 (5-6, 2-2 NWC)

Rowe 0, Salyers 2 0-0 4, Clum 3 0-2 6, Truex 4 1-1 10, A. Woods 2 0-0 4, L. Woods 0, Conkle 4 3-4 11. Totals: 15/4-7/35. 3-pointer: Truex 1.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 11 11 14 16 52

AE 12 9 10 4 35

JV: No game.