COLUMBUS GROVE — Visiting Ada lost an intense defensive struggle at Columbus Grove by a 37-34 count in the Northwest Conference boys basketball season finale Friday night.
The tough defeat ended the Ada regular season with a record of 4-18 overall and 0-8 in the NWC. On the strength of their fifth win in a row, Grove improved to 9-13.
After an 0-5 league start, CG finished 3-5 in the NWC by winning their last three conference bouts over Allen East, Bluffton and Ada.
The game was the first for Ada against long-time former head coach Chris Sautter, who guided the purple and gold from 2002-16. Sautter resigned last spring and then accepted the head position at his alma mater of Columbus Grove.
The contest was close throughout, with Ada leading 15-13 after a relatively high-scoring first period. Grove edged in front 20-18 at halftime, and led 27-26 after three quarters of play.
"It was a good battle and I was proud of the players," said first-year Ada head coach Dre White. "We missed a lot of shots late but got great looks. It was a battle."
Bouncing back from an ankle injury, Ada junior Ethan Swaney topped the purple and gold with 10 points. Seniors Seth Evans and Owen Conley each contributed nine points.
Grove 6-4 senior post Rece Roney led all players with 14 points.
Both teams canned 14 field goals and three triples. But CG canned six of 12 at the foul line, with all six made by Roney, compared to just three of eight by Ada.
Ada ends the regular season 2-9 at home and 2-9 on the road.
CG also won the JV contest, 52-37.
The 37 points Grove scored was the lowest total allowed by thr Ada defense this season. Ada's 34-point offensive output was its second-lowest, done in a 64-30 defeat at Crestview.
Ada 34 (4-18, 0-8 NWC)
Conley 4-1-9, Bailey 1-0-2, Swaney 4-0-10, Conrad 0, Evans 4 0-0 9, Mullins 0, Frazier 0, Hoschak 1-2-4, Klingler 0.
Totals: 14/3-8/34. 3-pointers: Swaney 2, Evans 1.
Grove 37 (7-14, 3-5 NWC)
Grothaus 3-0-7, Schroeder 3-0-8, Clymer 1-0-2, Malsalm 1-0-2, Selby 2-0-4, Roney 4-6-14.
Totals: 14/6-12/37. 3-pointers: Schroeder 2, Grothaus 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 15 3 8 8 34
CG 13 7 7 10 37
JV: Grove 52, Ada 37.
Eighth seed Ada plays ninth seed New Bremen (1-21, 1-8 MAC) in Div. IV boys sectional first round action at Coldwater Tuesday, February 28 at 8 p.m.
The winner advances to face second-seeded Fort Recovery (15-7, 6-3 MAC) in the second round Friday, March 3 at 8 p.m. in Coldwater.
"I have had people tell me New Bremen is the best one-win team they have ever seen," warned White. The Cardinals lost 58-56 to St. Henry in their season finale Friday.
The Bulldogs enter sectional play having dropped five in a row and nine of their last 10. The Cardinals have lost their last nine, but four of those defeats were by five points or less.
Ada and NB have two common opponents this season, Spencerville and New Knoxville. The Bulldogs lost by 16 to NK and by 32 to the Bearcats, while the Cardinals beat the Rangers by six for their lone win, and lost to NWC champion Spencerville by 13.