By Kevin Wannemacher
CONVOY - Ada and Crestview battled back and forth for most of the first half with the two squads tied at 22-22 late in the second quarter.
Kennis Mercer, though, provided a key momentum swing with a three-pointer at the first half buzzer and the Knights went on to control the second half in pulling away for a 54-39 victory over the visiting Bulldogs in a key Northwest Conference early-season battle.
The Lady Knights stay atop the NWC standings in moving to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Ada suffers its first loss of the season in two league tilts and four games overall.
Mercer's three capped a six-point run at the end of the half for the Knights, who rallied from a 22-19 deficit to post a 25-22 lead at the intermission.
"That was a big shot for us," noted Crestview head coach Greg Rickard. "It was a back-and-forth game and that shot gave us a lift going into the locker room."
From that point on, the Knight defense took over. Crestview got stops on 16 of the first Ada 19 possessions in the second half and kept the Bulldogs from generating any consistency on offense.
"We switched to more man-to-man defense in the second half and I thought the girls did a very good job," continued Rickard.
While the Crestview defense was shutting down the visiting Bulldogs, the Lady Knights looked inside to find offense.
The red-white-and-blue scored the first six points of the half, getting two points each from Emily Bauer, Mackenzie Riggenbach and Lindsey Motycka to grab a 31-22 lead.
Ada's Rachel Wildman broke the scoring drought with a trey at the 3:04 mark that got the Bulldogs within 31-25 before a three-pointer from Tori Wyss sliced the Knight advantage to 31-28.
However, the hosts closed the quarter by scoring five of the final six points in the stanza to post a 36-29 lead at the end of three quarters.
Crestview then put the game away in the final period, opening the stanza on an 11-0 run in widening the lead to 47-29.
Emily Bauer led the way for the Lady Knights, scoring six of the points, while Mercer chipped in three and Motycka added two.
"One thing we did a good job of was working the ball and getting better looks," added the Knight mentor. "The girls made sure we took quality shots and we didn't rush things. It was a good team effort against a very good basketball team."
Bauer led all scorers with 16 points while Mercer chipped in 15 for Crestview. Terra Crowle also had eight for the Lady Knights with Motcyka posting seven and Riggenbach bucketing five.
Kirstin Hicks and Bauer both grabbed nine boards for Crestview, which out-rebounded the Bulldogs 36-31. Mercer and Motycka added eight and six rebounds, respectively.
"It's a big win for us in the league," concluded Rickard. "They have a lot of experience back and they are a good basketball team."
Tori Wyss scored 14 points to pace Ada and Alexis Amburgey chipped in seven. Haley Wyss and Wildman added five points each for the Lady Bulldogs. Tori Wyss also had ten boards for Ada.
Crestview's junior varsity moved to 3-2 on the year as the Knights rallied to post a 42-41 win over the Bulldogs.
Brady Guest paced the Lady Knights with 18 points while Claire Zaleski, Leslie Skelton and Kylee Agler chipped in six points each. Ashley Dealey, Kristen Etzler and Maci Baker picked up two points each for Crestview.
Morgan Sutton paced the Lady Bulldogs with a dozen points and Grace Nelson added nine. Alyssa Vore (eight), Haley Wyss (seven), Charlie Click (two), Tessa Coulson (two) and Taryn Fullom (one) had the other points for Ada, which falls to 3-1 on the season.
Ada travels to Ottoville in a non-league battle on Saturday afternoon while Crestview hosts Fort Jennings in non-league on Monday evening.
* * *
Score by quarters
Ada 9 13 7 10-39
Crestview 9 16 11 18- 54
Ada (39) individual scoring
Marshall 2, Faine 4, Walden 2, Gonzaga 0, Wildman 2, H. Wyss 5, Archer 0, Sutton 0, T. Wyss 14, Amburgey 10
Crestview (54) individual scoring
Mercer 15, Riggenbach 5, Bauer 16, Motycka 7, Hicks 3, Crowle 8, Hartman 0, Grote 0