By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald writer

HARROD - Bulldog senior Mason Acheson swished consecutive left corner trifectas to break a fourth quarter tie, and visiting Ada held on to defeat backyard rival Allen East 54-49 in a hard-fought boys Northwest Conference hardwood battle Friday night.

The two Acheson treys in a 35-second span gave the Bulldogs a 48-43 lead with 4:40 remaining. Ada then withstood shaky foul shooting down the stretch (four of 10) to post the grudge match victory on the road.

The Bulldogs improved to 4-7 overall and 1-2 in the NWC by snapping a three-game skid. Hard-luck AE dropped to 1-9 and 0-3 in the league.

"Our guards were patient trying to get the ball inside against their zone; we had to knock one down and Mason hit two," said Bulldog coach Chris Sautter of the key Acheson triples. "It was a big win."

AE head coach Rick Sherrick handled their latest tough loss well. "We just need to win one, the kids keep playing hard even though we have lost a lot of close games," he said.

Ada led 40-30 after senior Kellen Decker sank a nice left-handed reverse layup with 5:22 to go in the third quarter. But the Mustangs mustered a rally. Logan Rex made a layup off a nice interior feed from a double-teamed Tanner Richardson to ignite a 12-2 spurt.

Junior playmaker Marcos Quintero bounced in a foul line jumper, and Rex tallied inside after a nice drop-step move to slice the deficit to 40-36 at the 2:12 mark.

Moments later Austin Dumbaugh blocked a shot, recovered the ball and led a fast break where he fed Decker for a transition layin and a 42-36 lead. Yet Quintero canned a 19-footer from out top, and Matt Shuey bounced in a baseline jump hook to pull the hosts within 42-40 after three periods.

Shuey tied it 42-all on a stickback layup to open the fourth quarter. Ada then worked the ball patiently against the 3-2 AE zone until Acheson broke open in the left corner and drained the tie-breaking trey that gave Ada the lead for good with 5:15 to go.

Rex split two foul shots at the 4:59 mark and Acheson splashed the second quick-release triple that put the Bulldogs ahead by five with 4:40 left. The game then became a foul-shooting contest.

Quintero split two free throws and Brayden Sautter converted two to lengthen the lead to 50-44 with 1:37 left. After Ada rimmed out the front end of a one-and-one, the 6-6 Richardson spun into the lane and swished a seven-footer with 63 ticks to go.

Acheson's long bomb in-bounds pass over the Mustang press sailed long and the hosts regained possession under their basket. But AE misfired on a trey, Dumbaugh rebounded and Spencer Archer canned one of two charity stripers to make it 51-46 with 47 seconds left.

Richardson was then called for charging on a spin move to the basket, and the Mustang bench was called for a technical at the 36.7 juncture. Acheson hit on one of two to inch the Bulldogs ahead by six, and seconds later Sautter converted one out of two more free throws for a 53-46 bulge.

AE missed a trey and Ada rebounded but missed both foul shots this time to keep the hosts alive. Senior Clay Plaugher capitalized by nailing a right wing triple that cut the lead to 53-49 with 16.8 left.

Decker was fouled and sank one of two shots to build the lead to five. AE came down and Plaugher shot a contested triple from the deep right wing, but this time it was well wide and bounced out of bounds with nine ticks to go. Ada then ran the clock out to preserve the hard-fought victory.

"We wanted them to zig-zag and take a lot of time off the clock on the last possession, even if they made it," said Sautter.

"Decker did a nice job of getting up on Clay on the last three, give them credit," said Sherrick. "He is a 40 percent three-point shooter. We expended a lot of energy catching up and we are thin."

Jacob Sherrick opened the contest with a right wing trey that was answered by Acheson. Plaugher netted a field goal but Acheson converted a fast break layin to tie it again. Richardson powered his way in for consecutive baskets and a 9-5 AE lead, their biggest of the night.

Archer converted a traditional three-point play inside and Decker gave Ada its first lead with a left-handed transition layup.

A three from the top of the key by Sautter capped an 8-0 run that gave Ada a 13-9 edge. Quintero stopped the spurt with a trey of his own, yet Acheson stole the ball and converted a layin after a nice head fake at the 1:22 mark.

Decker then canned a nice reverse layup off a pretty diagonal bounce pass by Acheson before Plaugher answered on a layup with six seconds left in the opening stanza.

Ada hurried the ball upcourt and missed, but Dumbaugh rebounded and knocked down a 12-foot follow shot at the buzzer from the left side of the lane to give Ada a 19-14 bulge after the seesaw first quarter.

Plaugher tallied a layin off an in-bounds play to open the second period scoring. Decker splashed a trey from out front, but Shuey and Richardson netted baskets in the lane to cut the Ada lead to 22-20.

Dumbaugh then swiped the ball and drove in for a score 4:20 before intermission. "Turnovers have been an Achilles heel," lamented Sherrick.

Shuey canned two foul shots and Dumbaugh responded by nailing a right side trey. Richardson followed in his own miss and Ada senior Gabe Sutton scored inside off another fine Acheson feed.

Rex banked in a shot from near the elbow and Sautter buried his second trey for a six-point Ada lead. But Richardson cut it to to 32-28 at intermission by canning his fifth basket of the half.

Acheson followed in his own missed banker to start the second half as Ada began taking control. The speedy Decker nailed a pull-up jumper in transition with 7:22 to go to offset a Richardson putback.

Dumbaugh sank an 11-footer and Decker hit his southpaw reverse layin to give the purple and gold its 10-point lead before AE went on the 12-2 flurry that tied it at 42-all. The Bulldogs then scored 11 of the next 15 points to put the game away.

Acheson's two treys were the lone Ada baskets of the fourth period. They shot six of 12 at the line in the final period and scored their last six points at the charity stripe, although they potentially could have had 14 if they made all their shots from the line in the last 74 seconds.

Acheson led Ada with 16 markers while Decker contributed a season-high 14 in his best showing of the season. Dumbaugh and Sautter added nine apiece.

Richardson led AE with 14 points on seven baskets. "We needed someone else to step up and knock down a shot," Sherrick noted.

Plaugher added nine points while Shuey and Quintero each added eight, and Rex tallied seven.

Ada sank just seven of 18 free throws (36 percent), while AE hit on four of its six tries (67 percent). "Granted we made only seven of 18, but we made seven and they shot only six," Sautter pointed out. "We had a tough week of practice and worked a lot on defense."

Each team committed 18 turnovers, with AE making eight miscues in the first period.

Ada won the reserve game 55-35 to improve to 9-2 and 3-0 in the NWC. Grant McBride paced a balanced attack with 20 points. Hunter Waller scored 10 and Devin Peter added nine. Luke Perkins led AE with 20 points.

Ada 54 (4-7, 1-2 NWC)

Szippl 0, Sautter 2 3-4 9, Acheson 6 1-4 16, Dumbaugh 4 0-1 9, Decker 6 1-2 14, Sutton 1 0-0 2, Cobb 0, Archer 1 2-7 4. Totals: 13-7/7-18/54. 3-pointers: Acheson 3, Sautter 2, Decker 1, Dumbaugh 1.

AE 49 (1-9, 0-3 NWC)

Richardson 7 0-0 14, Quintero 3 1-2 8, Rex 3 1-2 7, Shuey 3 2-2 8, Plaugher 4 0-0 9, Sherrick 1 0-0 3.

Totals: 18-3/4-6/49. 3-pointers: Quintero 1, Plaugher 1, Sherrick 1.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 19 13 10 12 54

AE 14 14 12 9 49

JV: Ada 55, AE 36.