By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald writer

ADA - Hot-shooting Upper Scioto Valley raced to a 14-0 lead and held off several furious charges from rival host Ada to post a hard-fought 71-54 boys basketball win in their annual grudge match before a packed house Saturday night.

Versatile junior guard Dylan Hunsicker led the balanced victors with 17 points. Sophomore guard Lane Hurley tallied 16 markers while Ram senior forward Shane Rofe netted 13 and senior Austin Howard added 11.

Ada junior Austin Dumbaugh led all scorers with 20 points and senior Mason Acheson tallied 16, but the rest of the Bulldogs combined for only 18 points.

Ada fell to 3-7 with the loss, while the Rams improved to 7-3 after beating their arch-nemesis for the second time in their last three meetings.

"We battled and fought and scraped and played even for the last three quarters," said Bulldog coach Chris Sautter. "But if you spot a 7-2 team 14 points, you can't win. We tried but couldn't get over the hump.

"We came out flat; we should be excited about playing a rival on our home floor," he continued. "USV switched everything on defense and we didn't respond to it."

USV was quicker and more aggressive at the start, and their switching perimeter man defense forced the Ada guards outside the three-point line for most of the first period. The tentative Bulldogs did not score until Spencer Archer banked in a follow shot with 1:11 to go in the opening stanza.

Before that, Hurley started the crucial opening Ram burst by nailing a left wing trifecta 2:20 into the fray. Howard canned a layup off a nice Rofe crosscourt pass, and then Hunsicker buried a triple and two foul shots.

Woody Prater converted a transition layup off an Ada miscue, and Hunsicker canned a driving lane banker to balloon the Ram lead to 14-0 at the 1:34 mark.

USV sophomore Braden Rostorfer swished a left wing trey from NBA range and Hurley added two more foul shots to swell the margin to 19-2.

Acheson then came alive for the hosts, first draining a left wing triple at the 33-second mark. Then after of a diving steal by Brenden Szippl, he pulled up and swished a three from the top of the key to pull the Bulldogs within 19-8 after one period.

Acheson nailed his third straight triple to open the second quarter from the top of the circle again to extend his personal run to 9-0. Rostorfer bounced in a lane runner to stop the splurge, yet Bulldog senior Kellen Decker canned a pull-up shot in the lane at the 7:06 mark.

Moments later, Szippl splashed a left corner triple and Ada was miraculously down just 21-16 after their slow start. But the athletic 6-1 Rofe rose up and converted an alley-oop layin. The senior southpaw then nailed a left wing triple to build the lead back to 10.

Acheson knocked down a lane runner yet Howard banked in a foul line shot. Dumbaugh hit an eight-footer before Hurley got a good bounce on a runner at the 3:40 juncture. Howard then scored a layup off a steal to put the Rams on top by a 32-20 count.

Dumbaugh converted four straight foul shots sandwiched around another Rofe triple. Hurley added the sixth Ram trifecta of the half in eight tries before Dumbaugh answered with a trey of his own 39 seconds before intermission to make it 38-27 at the half.

"They shot about 90 percent the first half," lamented Sautter. Rofe and Acheson each netted 11 points in the first two periods.

Rofe started half two with another high-flying alley-oop finish. Dumbaugh countered with a short banker. Hunsicker scored inside off a fine spin move, then added a fast break three-point play. After he then hit a technical foul shot, the Rams led 46-29.

Prater knocked in a short double pump banker and completed a three-point play to extend the lead to 20 with 3:12 left in the third stanza.

Dumbaugh knocked down a left wing triple 36 ticks later to stop the 9-0 spurt. But Hurley came right back with a trey of his own from the left side.

Dumbaugh scored inside and Archer later drove the length of the floor for a nice runner to ignite an 8-0 Bulldog flurry. Dumbaugh next canned two free throws, then Acheson made a nice steal off the press and sank a layup to cut the deficit to 52-40 with 1:14 left in the third.

However, Howard responded with a key triple from the right side 20 seconds later to give USV a 56-41 lead into the final period.

Ada mustered one last run to start the fourth quarter. Dumbaugh drove coast to coast and made a transition banker, and Decker swished a left corner trifecta with six minutes to play.

Seconds later with Ada playing four-on-five due to a Decker cramp, Austin Cobb stole the ball and outraced the Rams to a layup that inched the Bulldogs within 56-48 as the standing room only crowd roared.

But then the Ada offense went dry. USV kept them in the game by making just five of 10 foul shots over the next three minutes, but the spent Bulldogs couldn't capitalize as they missed two of their own and went scoreless for 3:28 to seal their own fate.

It appeared they expended too much energy battling from behind the whole game and simply ran out of gas in the heated contest.

Prater converted a baseline drive to offset two Archer foul shots as the game wound down. Acheson muscled his way in to swish a tough runner with 1:33 remaining and slice the margin to 65-52.

Hurley then canned three of four at the charity stripe. Howard converted two more and Cobb made a driving layin to provide the final margin.

"We were bad defensively tonight," Sautter summed up. "Usually 54 points is enough to win here in the past. We didn't help ourselves with too many turnovers, and we let them do what they wanted."

Prater added eight points as the Rams narrowly missed putting five players in double figures. Archer added six points and Decker scored five for Ada.

USV canned 19 of 32 foul shots (59 percent) and the Bulldogs hit on nine of 15 (60 percent). The Rams canned eight treys among their 22 field goals, while Ada knocked down seven behind the arc amid their 19 baskets.

Ada won the reserve game by 10, converting 25 of 42 free throws to improve to 8-2. Blake Willeke led the Bulldog reserves with 22 markers. Zack Risner led the Rams with nine points

Ada 54 (3-7)

Szippl 1 0-0 3, Sautter 0, Acheson 6 1-4 16, Dumbaugh 6 6-7 20, Decker 2 0-0 5, Cobb 2 0-0 4, Archer 2 2-4 6. Totals: 19/9-15/54. 3-pointers: Acheson 3, Dumbaugh 2, Decker 1, Szippl 1.

USV 71 (7-2)

Hurley 4 5-6 16, Prater 3 2-4 8, Rofe 4 3-7 13, Howard 5 0-0 11, Hunsicker 4 8-13 17, Simon 0 1-2 1, Rostorfer 2 0-0 5. Totals: 22/19-32/71. 3-pointers: Hurley 3, Rofe 2, Hunsicker 1, Rostorfer 1, Howard 1.

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 8 19 14 13 54

USV 19 19 18 15 71

JV: Ada 46, USV 36.

The night before, Ada lost a 47-46 heartbreaker at league foe Delphos Jefferson (2-7, 1-1 NWC). The Bulldogs led 39-32 heading into the final period, but committed seven costly turnovers and shot just three of seven at the foul line down the stretch to pave the way for a Wildcat comeback.

Ada had a good look at a potential winning trey from the wing at the buzzer, but Decker's shot just rimmed out. Dumbaugh topped the Bulldogs with 19 points on nine field goals and a trey, while Archer added a career-high 11 points.

Ada (0-2 NWC) visits another backyard rival next Friday evening when they resume league play at Allen East (1-7, 0-2 NWC), with both teams seeking their first conference victory. The Bulldogs return home to entertain non-league foe Waynesfield-Goshen (3-5) Saturday night, Jan. 12.

"I am not worried about anybody but us," said Sautter when asked about AE. The Mustangs were hammered 77-33 by Spencerville and edged by Temple Christian 62-61 last weekend to fall to 1-8 overall.

The lone Mustang win came 65-64 over Cory-Rawson in overtime at the Bluffton Holiday tournament third-place game Dec. 29. Cory edged Ada 44-42 Dec. 21.

Ada is 2-3 on the road and 1-4 at home this season.