ADA — The Ada boys basketball team tipped off its season with a convincing 53-35 victory over visiting Hardin County rival Ridgemont Friday night in the season opener.

The Bulldogs held youthful Ridgemont without a field goal over the final 8:44, and outscored the Gophers 17-5 in the fourth period to finalize the win.

"We did a much better job defending in the second half," said Ada second-year head coach Dre White. "We only allowed four two-point field goals the entire second half.



"We finally locked in on defense in the fourth quarter," he added. "On offense, we took advantage of our size inside and some pressure defense to score."

Bulldog junior post Connor Frazier led all players with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Ethan Swaney turned in a solid all-around game with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

"Connor had a good night, and Ethan also played well," said White.

Gopher sophomore Connor Martino scored 15 of the 20 Gopher points in the first half, but the Ada defense limited the tiring wing to just two second half markers.

"We didn't do anything specific to hold him down in the second half," said White. "We just did the little things better, like jumping to the ball and knocking down cuts."

Purple and gold runs of 11-0 and 12-0 in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, propelled the Bulldogs to victory.

Swaney and Frazier scored the first two baskets of the season to give Ada a 4-0 lead. Frazier rolled in a nine-footer off a nice baseline dish from Phillip Coulson. The low-scoring first period ended in a 7-7 tie as Martino tallied all seven Gopher points.

Martino's right baseline floater swished through to give Ridgemont its only lead of the night at 9-7 just 11 seconds into the second stanza. Ada then reeled off an 11-0 run to seize control of the game, and never trailed again.

Swaney started the splurge by sinking a driving backhanded scoop. Frazier tallied a reverse layin off a nice Swaney feed. Swaney then swished a left corner triple for a 14-9 lead at the 6:01 mark.

Frazier tallied a fast break layin from Swaney 19 ticks later. Coulson capped the spurt with another transition layin for an 18-9 bulge at the 5:22 juncture.

"We got some points off pressure and had a nice run in the second quarter to gave us some space," noted White.

Gopher sophomore guard Ethan Mouser drained a pull-up 12-footer to stop the flurry and net the first non-Martino points for the visitors.

Ada junior Ethan Hall canned a putback for a 20-12 lead. Frazier then followed his own missed free throw with an offensive rebound layin with 3:14 to go before intermission.

Martino drilled a right baseline 12-footer, followed by two Gopher foul shots. Coulson knocked down a floater with a minute left. Pulling up in transition, Martino's trey rolled around the rim twice before dropping through at the 20-second mark to pull within 24-20 at the half.

A left baseline jumper by Coulson and a half hook from Frazier extended the Bulldog lead to 28-20 starting the second half. Swaney added a foul shot before Mouser canned a bank shot.

Coulson finessed in a doube-pump drive for a 31-22 edge. Gopher freshman Jayden Streets then scored on consecutive steals and short shots to cut the lead to five.

Ada junior guard Cade Mullins answered by draining a key left wing trey at the 2:23 mark. "Cade hit a couple big three's," White agreed.

Martino sank two free throws, yet Coulson swished a short lane jumper. Streets canned a running banker to make it 36-30 heading to the fourth period.

Frazier connected on a short banker and Mullins nailed a left wing triple in transition to extend the Ada lead to 41-30 with 4:26 remaining.

After a Streets foul shot provided the first Ridgemont point of the period, Ada ran off 12 unanswered markers to put the game out of reach. Swaney again ignited the flurry with a driving layin. Next, Frazier scored inside from Swaney with 2:06 left.

Coulson tallied a fast break layup to run the lead to 16. Swaney hit two foul shots and netted a driving southpaw layin in the final minute. Frazier added a short bank shot to make it 53-33 and cap the 12-0 spurt.

Two Gopher foul shots with 8.6 seconds left closed the scoring and provided the final margin of 18.

"I thought we did well on the glass, which was a point of emphasis for us this year," said White. The Bulldogs dominated the glass, 34-17.

Ada committed 14 turnovers to 11 miscues by the Gophers.

"Connor did a solid job passing out of the double teams," White offered. "Ridgemont did a nice job sinking down on him in the first half. At halftime I told him to slow down and just take what the defense gives you, and he did."

Ada shot 45 percent from the field (23-51) and made half of their foul shots (4-8). Ridgemont connected on just 11 of 31 (35 percent) field goal tries and hit on 11 of 15 (73 percent) at the charity stripe.

Both teams struggled from beyond the arc, with Ada hitting on three of 15 and the visitors sinking only two of 13 trey tries.

Feisty sophomore wing Coulson added a dozen markers to give the Bulldogs three double-figure scorers.

The Ada reserves also won big, 62-27. Freshman Brandon Hull led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Junior Austin Amburgey added a dozen markers.


Ada 53 (1-0)
E. Swaney 5 4-6 15, Mullins 2 0-0 6, Frazier 9 0-1 18, Conley 0, Zimmerly 0, Coulson 6 0-1 12, Hall 1 0-0 2, Z. Swaney 0.
Totals: 23-51/4-8/53. 3-pointers (3-15): Mullins 2, Swaney 1.

Ridgemont 35 (0-1)
Ja. Streets 3 3-4 9, Patterson 0, Martino 6 3-4 17, Jo. Streets 0 2-2 2, Roof 0 0-1 0, Mouser 2 3-4 7.
Totals: 11-31/11-15/35. 3-pointers (2-13): Martino 2.

    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    7    17    12    17    53    
Rmnt    7    13    10    5    35
JV: Ada 62, Ridgemont 27.

Ada (1-0) visits perennial non-league power Kalida (1-0) Friday, December 8. Kalida beat New Bremen 52-43 in its opener.

The purple and gold then travel to face Ottoville Dec. 9. "Those are both tough games, they won't be easy," said White.