By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - For the first 10 minutes Thursday night, the Ada girls basketball team played about as well as it could against visiting undefeated powerhouse Ottoville.The Lady Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with probably the best Div. IV team in the state, and trailed just 17-15 early in the second quarter. But then the versatile Lady Big Green caught fire for a 17-2 run and never looked back to post a convincing 58-32 non-league victory.
The loss dropped the Lady Bulldogs to 5-4 overall while the powerful Big Green improved to 8-0.
"If they shoot like that, they will win state," said veteran Bulldog coach Neal Dumbaugh of Ottoville, which nailed four consecutive three-pointers in one key stretch of the first half. "They forced us to pick our poison, and we had to work very hard (to defend the Green's burly 6-2 and 6-0 posts).
"I was pleased with our kids," he continued. "Facing a 6-2 girl in the middle is a new wrinkle."
Sophomore Alexis Amburgey shot Ada to a 4-0 early lead as she made a 17-footer and sank an 11-footer off the right baseline. The Bulldog defense doubled down hard on the huge Ottoville posts and held them without a basket for much of the first half while stymieing the offense.
The Big Green then inserted sharpshooting junior wing Taylor Mangas. She quickly swished three straight trifectas, sandwiched around another trey by Tonya Kaufman, to jump-start their offense into a 12-11 lead.
Amburgey canned a driving runner to give Ada its last lead at 13-12. But then Mangas converted a driving left-handed three-point layup for her 12th point to give the visitors a 15-13 edge after one period.
Abby Siefker, the Green's muscular 6-2 post, scored a layup to begin the second stanza.
Taylor Willeke knocked down a pull-up jumper to keep the hosts within 17-15. But then the roof caved in as Ottoville methodically put together a decisive 17-2 flurry.
Senior guard Rachel Turnwald splashed consecutive triples to ignite the run to offset a pair of foul shots by Ada soph Tori Wyss. Kaufman scored inside off a nice feed by Turnwald. Rachel Beining, the other twin tower, tallied her first basket on a short right side banker for a 28-17 margin with 3:37 to go in the half.
Beining then converted a left-handed layin, followed by two Kaufman free throws. Turnwald then ended the spurt with a transition layup off a nice pass by Mangas.
Willeke bounced in a one-footed 30-footer at the first half buzzer to end the run and cut the deficit to 34-20 at intermission, but the damage had been done.
"Things got away from us in that stretch," Dumbaugh noted. "We turned the ball over a lot and it snowballed on us a bit." Ottoville played the passing lanes well and capitalized on clever steals to score in transition in opportunistic fashion.
The heady Kaufman continued the dominance to start the third quarter by canning a short right side shot off glass. Siefker then took over, powering in a layup for a traditional three-point play. The senior next hit a short lane banker from straight on to build the margin to 41-20.
Wyss swished a right baseline 10-footer to give Ada its first points of the half at the 3:33 mark of the third period. Yet Siefker answered with another inside basket and Mangas splashed a pair of foul shots.
Wyss countered with the best Bulldog move of the night when she slashed down the right baseline, jumped out slightly to get an angle and banked in a layup to make it 45-24 at the 1:44 mark.
Beining and Siefker muscled inside for back-to-back bunnies as the Green took a 49-24 bulge into the final stanza on the strength of nine Siefker third period points.
Siefker began the fourth stanza with a layin off a nice high-low feed from Beining. Turnwald stole the ball and raced upcourt for a breakaway layin. Willeke split a pair at the charity stripe, followed by two Kaufman free tosses.
Willeke then drained a let side trifecta and Wyss canned two foul shots to make 55-30 with 2:21 to go. Courtney Von Sossan ended the Ottoville outside onslaught by canning their seventh triple. Bulldog sophomore Lindsay Walden converted two foul shots to provide the final margin.
Wyss and Willeke each scored 11 points to pace Ada. Amburgey scored all six of her points in the first quarter. Sixth man Mangas led a balanced attack for the victors with 14 points. Siefker scored 13 points, Kaufman netted 11 and the steady Turnwald added 10.
Ada hit on eight of 10 free throws (80 percent) while the Green made nine of 15 (60 percent).
Ottoville canned six of its first eight triple tries as they looked like the best girls team to grace the Bulldog court since the Caity Matter-led Bluffton teams of the late 1990s. The Big Green have lost just two games over the last three-plus seasons.
Ottoville also won the reserve game 41-25. Sidney Faine led Ada (6-3) with 11 points.
Ada 32 (5-4)
Gonzaga 0, Linnon 0, Rouch 0, Amburgey 3 0-1 6, Willeke 4 1-2 11, Wildman 1 0-0 2, Walden 0 2-2 2, Guagenti 0, Wyss 3 5-6 11. Totals: 11/8-10/32. 3-pointers: Willeke 2.
Ottoville 58 (8-0)
Turnwald 4 0-0 10, Mangas 4 3-3 14, Vorst 0 1-2 1, Kaufman 3 4-4 11, Von Sossan 1 0-0 3, Beining 3 0-3 6, Siefker 6 1-3 13. Totals: 21/9-15/58. 3-pointers: Mangas 3, Turnwald 2, Kaufman 1, Von Sossan 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 13 7 4 8 32
O'ville 15 19 15 9 58
JV: Ottoville 41, Ada 25.
Ada looks to rebound when it hosts struggling county foe Hardin Northern Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs are 3-2 on the road and 2-2 at home this season, and the first half of the schedule looks much tougher than the second half.