By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - It is seldom when a coach substitutes five players in all at once early in a game. Even more rare is when the strategy works to perfection.Host Ada started sluggishly and fell behind 8-0 to non-league foe Waynesfield Saturday night. So roughly two minutes into the fray, Bulldog head coach Chris Sautter replaced his entire starting lineup.
The five Ada reserves promptly responded with an 11-0 spurt and the Bulldogs never trailed again en route to posting a foul-filled 72-61 victory.
With their second win in as many nights, Ada improved to 5-7 while the Tigers fell to 3-8.
"Those six subs that came in are the reason we won the game," said Sautter. "I can't say enough about their effort; they left it out on the floor. We had a lack of energy and a bad start, the starters weren't following the game plan, so those kids came in and played hard.
"Waynesfield pressed our reserves and we got some easy layups and some confidence," he continued. "We went from eight down to three up."
Junior Hunter Waller came in and led the charge with seven points. Senior Austin Cobb splashed a pair of trifectas, and classmate Gabe Sutton drilled another trey from the left corner to spearhead the bench brigade.
Freshman Blake Willeke scooped in a pretty driving layup, but suffered a gash to the chin and had to leave the game. Cobb's second triple built the lead to 14-10 and Waller scored two press-breaker layins, the last off a fine Cobb feed, to give the Bulldogs an 18-14 lead after the wild opening stanza.
The starters re-entered the game and Mason Acheson quickly knocked in two baskets. A right wing triple by Austin Dumbaugh stretched the lead to 27-16 with 6:36 left in the half.
Spencer Archer then got in on the act with a layup and a traditional three-point play off a tip-in. Acheson scored in transition via an Archer feed, followed by a Brayden Sautter layin from Kellen Decker.
After Decker buried a right baseline jumper at the 2:36 mark and the dust cleared, streaky Ada held a 38-20 lead, having scored all its points over roughly 10 minutes of the wild and woolly contest.
Another Archer layup from Sautter made it 41-24 at intermission as the purple and gold starters took over where the reserves left off with a 23-10 second period outburst.
"It was an up and down game," said Sautter. "We started badly, then got hot, then started slowly in the third period. We have to do a better job of starting each half out stronger."
Tiger 6-3 senior post Lee Turner scored seven quick points to begin the second half as the spunky visitors inched within 45-33. Acheson banked in a pull-up jumper and Dumbaugh canned his second triple, but Garrett Miller sank consecutive driving southpaw layins to spark a 7-0 Tiger spurt that cut the margin to 48-40.
But Brenden Szippl converted a layin from a Dumbaugh assist, and Dumbaugh converted a pair of foul shots to give Ada a 52-42 edge heading to the final period.
Szippl netted a lane floater to get Ada going with 5:55 remaining, and they held on to win comfortably as the teams paraded to the charity stripe. The teams combined to shoot 28 free throws in the lengthy fourth stanza, with the Bulldogs taking 20 and making 12. All told for the game, the teams would be whistled for 49 fouls and attempt 60 free throws.
Waynesfield didn't quit scrapping but never got closer than seven points down the stretch at 54-47 and 56-49. Acheson canned a lane floater and hit on five of six foul shots in the fourth period to help keep the Tigers at bay.
Cobb scored four points as five different Bulldogs tallied in the 20-point stanza. Tiger Shawn Crawford splashed a late triple to cut the deficit to 70-58, but it was too little, late. It was the only trey the visitors made despite double-figure tries.
"They came in averaging eight three's a game and only made one, and that one was at the end," Sautter pointed out. "I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. We won two non-pretty games this weekend, but I will take 5-7 at this point. We worked hard in practice and it carried over into the games."
Ada sank just 17 of 33 free throws (52 percent) while Waynesfield was even worse, converting only 12 of 27 at the line (44 percent). "I'm happy with how many times we are getting to the line," Sautter noted.
Acheson led a balanced Bulldog offense with 15 points as 10 Adaites scored and three hit double figures. Dumbaugh contributed 14 markers and Cobb added 10 off the bench. "Cobb played well, he hit a couple big three's," said Sautter.
Waynesfield committed 28 fouls while Ada was whistled for 21. The quick Tigers pounded the offensive boards but poor shot selection and not enough touches for Turner spelled doom. The 6-3 Turner led all scorers with 18 points. Dylan Little scored 11 and Lake Turner added 10.
"Gabe, Brenden, Cobb, Waller, Willeke and Grant (McBride) won the game and I can't say enough about their effort," Sautter reiterated.
In the reserve game, Ada raced to a 33-10 halftime lead and won 50-24 to improve to 10-2. Blake Willeke paced the Bulldog reserves with 14 points while Grant McBride contributed 13. Willeke reportedly received nine stitches to his chin after the varsity game.
Ada 72 (5-7)
Szippl 2 0-1 4, Sautter 2 2-6 6, Acheson 5 5-7 15, Dumbaugh 3 6-8 14, Decker 2 0-0 4, Sutton 1 0-0 3, Cobb 3 2-4 10, Archer 3 1-2 7, Willeke 1 0-0 2, Waller 3 1-4 7, McBride 0 0-1 0. Totals: 20-5/17-33/72. 3-pointers: Dumbaugh 2, Cobb 2, Sutton 1.
W-G 61 (3-8)
Miller 3 3-4 9, Lake Turner 3 4-9 10, Hennon 2 0-0 4, Lee Turner 7 4-7 18, Motter 0 0-2 0, Little 5 1-4 11, Tiitma 3 0-1 6, Crawford 1 0-0 3. Totals: 23-1/12-27/61. 3-pointer: Crawford 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 18 23 11 20 72
W-G 14 10 18 19 61
JV: Ada 50, W-G 24.
Ada (1-2 NWC) hosts state-ranked league foe LCC Friday in the final NWC matchup between the two rivals. The defending champion Thunderbirds are 11-1 overall and 4-0 in league play, having won 11 in a row since dropping their opener in double overtime at Elida.
"They will pressure us so we will see how well we handle pressure and take care of the ball," warned Sautter. "Shot selection will be huge. We have to keep them in front of us on defense and rebound the ball."
Ada is 2-4 at home and 3-3 on the road this season.