By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald Writer

ADA - The Ada girls basketball team held arch-rival Upper Scioto Valley without a field goal for over nine minutes in the second half, sparking the decisive 13-2 run that led to a hard-fought 52-47 homecourt victory Tuesday night.

The intense game was tied 33-33 after a Bree Mullins foul line jumper off an Ada turnover with 2:50 left in the third period.

But the next time a tiring Ram team hit from the field, only 1:22 remained in the game. Freshman Shelby Spradlin banked in a fine spinning drive to pull the spunky visitors within 46-43.

Ada sophomore Sidney Faine came up with a big steal and converted a coast to coast left-handed layup that gave the hosts a little breathing room with a minute to go.

Mullins responded with her second basket basket and Spradlin later bounced in a 12-foot lane shot that got the feisty Rams within 50-47 with 22 ticks left.

Yet Ada was then able to run almost 15 crucial seconds off the clock before USV finally fouled freshman Haley Wyss at the 7.5-second mark.

The redhead calmly drained both foul shots to render a missed Ram shot just before the buzzer meaningless.

"This team can shoot free throws," said ninth-year head coach Neal Dumbaugh of his Lady Bulldogs. "They (USV) missed some big free throws. Haley's two were big.

"Sidney made a big basket too," he continued. "It was a nice win on our homecourt vs. a rival."

Ada improved to 2-0 with the big win, while USV fell to 1-2 with the tough defeat.

"They made their free throws and we missed ours," explained long-time Ram mentor Mike Risner. "We have to get better at the foul line."

Ada canned 20 of 27 from the charity stripe (74 percent), including 11 of 15 in the final stanza. USV converted 17 of 28 foul shots (61 percent) and missed four in a row early in the fourth, including a pair of one-and-one front ends that were costly.

Risner conceded that fatigue probably played a role in his team's shooting woes down the stretch. "We only play six or seven players," he said. "The girls played hard and competed to the end, they didn't quit."

Dumbaugh felt the better Ada depth made a difference.

"We wanted to make it a bench game," he admitted, since his team goes at least eight deep. "We have some kids off the bench who can contribute."

One of them, sophomore Carlee Marshall, may have kept Ada from getting blown out in the first quarter.

USV came out more aggressive and energetic in the annual grudge match. Brittany Holbrook and Shelby Carroll each buried left side trifectas over a lax Bulldog zone, and freshman Shelby Spradlin added a putback to give the Rams a 10-2 lead midway through the first period.

"They came out and took it right to us," admitted Dumbaugh. "We did not move our feet in the zone defense."

Marshall entered the fray and had an immediate impact, scoring on a short bank shot. Tori Wyss stole the ball and netted a layup, and Marshall added a stickback to bring the hosts within 12-9.

Carroll responded with a tough scoop shot along the left baseline. But Alexis Amburgey and Lindsay Walden canned consecutive short jumpers to slice the deficit to 14-13 after the opening quarter.

Another Marshall offensive rebound basket and a fast break layup by the lanky wing sandwiched around a Carroll left wing trey to tie it 17-17 with 6:33 left in the half.

"Carlee kept us in it with those big stickbacks and offensive rebounds," said Dumbaugh. "And our halfcourt trap got us back in it."

The trap got the sluggish Bulldog feet moving and led to some easier transition baskets. A third effort layin by Tori Wyss gave Ada a short-lived 19-18 edge as Holbrook responded with a right wing trey.

Carroll and Tori Wyss traded foul shots before junior guard Holbrook connected on a short banker for a 25-21 Ram lead two minutes before the break.

Holbrook then took a pass on the break from Carroll, head-faked a defender out of position and laid in a layup for a six-point bulge.

However, Amburgey splashed a pair from the line to get the Bulldogs within just four despite being outplayed the most of the first 16 minutes.

"We could have been up seven at half but were only up four," lamented Risner.

A fast break layin by freshman Spradlin began half two on a strong note for the Rams.

Amburgey answered with a 13-foot left baseline shot and a putback to make it 29-27 at the 5:49 mark, prompting a USV timeout.

But Tori Wyss continued the key run with a pair of foul shots, followed by two Walden free tosses that completed an 8-0 spurt.

Spradlin stopped the outburst by splitting two foul shots, yet Rachel Wildman canned a layup off a Wyss feed for a 33-30 Ada margin.

Mullins then tied it with her 15-footer in transition, and Spradlin gave USV the lead back with two charity stripers. Amburgey's pull-up 14-footer sent the game to the fourth quarter knotted at 35.

Amburgey canned two from the line as did Holbrook to open the final stanza. Tori Wyss finished a strong driving runner, and after two missed Ram foul shots, Amburgey split a pair to make it 40-37.

Two more Amburgey free throws gave Ada a 42-37 advantage with 5:40 remaining. Weary USV was in the midst of a dozen straight misses from the field, and also misfired on a pair of crucial one and one's.

Menawhile, fiery Tori Wyss refused to let Ada lose. She canned a pair from the line and scored on another tough drive to extend the margin to 46-37 with 3:30 to go.

"Not to rain on the parade, but when we got up nine there we got careless with the ball and tried too hard to make spectacular passes," noted Dumbaugh, whose team committed 19 turnovers.

But the Rams also refused to go away. Carroll hit two foul shots and after a steal just seconds later, Holbrook was fouled and added two more.

The Bulldogs then missed the front end of a one and one before Spradlin made her fine spinning drive off glass to cut the margin to three with 82 ticks left. It was their first basket in 9:28 of play.

Yet the Rams could not quite catch up against the deeper Bulldogs, and came up five points short. It was Ada's third consecutive win in the intense rivalry, which was played before a loud and good crowd.

Juniors Amburgey and Wyss posted identical lines offensively with 15 points apiece (on four field goals and seven of eight free throws) and both doled out four assists.

"It's so good to have your two best players lead your team in assists," noted Dumbaugh. "They are both very unselfish."

Marshall contributed eight big points and eight rebounds, five on the offensive glass. "Carlee was key for us tonight," Dumbaugh noted. Faine and Walden each scored five points.

"We are a very young team and will continue to get better," offered Risner. "We have some girls with quickness and long arms. We made defensive lapses mentally all night. But we came on their court and competed."

Holbrook topped USV with 14 points while Carroll and Spradlin each contributed 13 markers.

"After the sluggish start, I was pleased with how we responded," summed up Dumbaugh.

The Bulldogs also won the junior varsity contest 40-22 to improve to 2-0 as freshman Grace Nelson scored a game-high 15 points. USV was led by sophomore Kayla Broseke with nine points.

Ada 52 (2-0)

Gonzaga 0 0-1 0, Amburgey 4 7-8 15, Faine 2 1-2 5, Walden 1 3-4 5, T. Wyss 4 7-8 15, Marshall 4 0-0 8, Wildman 1 0-2 2, H. Wyss 0 2-2 2. Totals: 16/20-27/52. 3-pointers: none.

USV 47 (1-2)

Spradlin 4 5-12 13, Holbrook 4 4-6 14, Carroll 3 5-6 13, Yaussy 0 3-4 3, Mullins 2 0-1 4, Lowery 0. Totals: 13/17-28/47. 3-pointers: Holbrook 2, Carroll 2.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 13 10 12 17 52

USV 14 13 8 12 47

JV: Ada 40, USV 22.

Ada entertains Paulding in the important Northwest Conference opener Thursday, Dec. 5. The Panthers beat Antwerp 49-24 on Nov. 26.

"If we play with energy, we are pretty good," noted Dumbaugh. "If we don't, we are pretty average."

USV plays Cory-Rawson Saturday in a non-league tilt.