By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald Writer

ADA - It was thought by some to be the biggest Northwest Conference girls basketball game at Ada in years Thursday night when league favorite Crestview came to town to tip off the league schedule.

But the cold-shooting Lady Bulldogs went without a basket for eight and a half minutes over the middle periods as the Knights pulled away methodically to win 46-35 and grab an early leg up in the race for the conference title.

"We couldn't make a shot and were still in the game in the last three minutes," noted Ada coach Neal Dumbaugh. "I'm not at all disappointed in our effort. We just couldn't throw it in the ocean."

The Lady Bulldogs fell to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in NWC play with the loss, while Crestview improved to 4-1 and 1-0 in the league with the crucial victory.

Ada went without a basket over the last 3:13 of the first half and over the initial 5:17 of the third period before Taylor Willeke nailed a pull-up triple to cut the deficit to 28-18 and end the goal-less drought.

After Knight Lindsey Motycka drilled a 17-footer, Lindsay Walden scored a layup for Ada to cut the deficit to 30-20 heading to the final stanza.

Crestview scored the first four points of the fourth period while the hosts went scoreless until 5:19 remaining when Tori Wyss splashed a pair of foul shots. Knight sophomore wing Terra Crowle, who tallied 13 big points off the bench, then canned a short banker for a 36-22 advantage at the 5:07 mark.

Willeke answered with a short bank shot of her own to spark a 7-0 run that got Ada back in contention. Walden then snared a weakside offensive rebound and executed a fine up-and-under scoop off glass.

Alexis Amburgey drilled a trey from the top of the key with 3:49 left to slice the margin to single digits. Walden then scored inside off a nice penetration and interior pass by Amburgey as Ada inched within 36-31 with 3:01 still remaining.

But Motycka knocked down a right lane banker 11 seconds later to stop the 7-0 flurry, and then she added another banker in transition to build the lead back to 41-31 with 1:42 to go.

Willeke kept Ada's slim hopes alive when she banked in a drive, was fouled and converted the free throw with 95 seconds left.

But Knight Emily Bauer sank two big foul shots after Tori Wyss fouled out trying to pry the ball from the promising freshman post in a triple team under the basket following her defensive rebound.

Amburgey split a pair of free throws to make it 43-35 with just under a minute left. Crestview calmly canned three of four foul shots in the final minute to provide the final margin of 11.

Ada led 3-2 after Willeke knocked in a driving southpaw shot off glass, but it would prove to be their last lead of the night.

Knight point guard Mackenzie Riggenbach nailed a one-footed left baseline shot and a left wing trey to spearhead the visitors to an 11-4 bulge. Willeke banked in a triple from straight on out top just before the buzzer to pull Ada within 11-7 after one stanza.

Riggenbach opened the second quarter by drilling a 17-footer, followed by a pair of Wyss free tosses. The sharpshooting Crowle then took over by nailing four straight shots: a right corner triple, a left wing 15-footer, a short banker and a stickback in the lane.

After Willeke nailed a fast break pull-up 19-footer to get Ada within 17-15, Crestview scored the last eight points of the half as the Bulldogs fell into their decisive drought. The Knights then outscored Ada 19-5 over the ensuing two quarters to seize control.

Willeke topped all scorers with 15 points. Wyss contributed eight points, all from the foul line, and grabbed seven rebounds despite foul trouble. Walden and Amburgey each added six markers, but only four Ada players scored.

Crowle led the Knights with 13 points, while Bauer netted nine and Riggenbach and Motycka each added eight points.

Ada found the bottom of the net on just 11 of 40 shots from the field (28 percent) and converted 10 of 13 foul shots (77 percent). The Bulldogs connected on only eight of 26 shots inside the arc and made three of 14 three-pointers.

The Knights canned 16 baskets and sank 12 of 17 from the charity stripe (71 percent). The Bulldogs committed only seven turnovers and snagged 23 rebounds.

Crestview also won the JV game 35-30 to hand the Bulldog reserves their first loss. Sidney Faine led Ada (3-1, 0-1 NWC) with 10 points.

Ada 35 (3-1, 0-1 NWC)

Gonzaga 0, Rouch 0, Amburgey 2 1-2 6, Willeke 6 1-1 15, Wildman 0, Walden 3 0-0 6, Wyss 0 8-10 8.

Totals: 11/10-13/35. 3-pointers: Willeke 2, Amburgey 1.

Crestview 46 (4-1 , 1-0 NWC)

Henry 0, Hicks 2 2-4 6, Crowle 5 2-2 13, Mercer 0 2-2 2, Motycka 3 2-2 8, Riggenbach 3 1-2 8, Bauer 3 3-5 9. Totals: 16/12-17/46. 3-pointers: Crowle 1, Riggenbach 1.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 7 8 5 15 35

C'view 11 14 5 16 46

JV: Crestview 35, Ada 30.

Following three difficult tests in six days, Ada is idle until visiting Spencerville Thursday, Dec. 13 in another NWC battle. "After a tough three-game stretch, we welcome a week off between games," noted Dumbaugh. The Bulldogs beat tough Arcadia and won at rival USV to go 2-1 over that span.