By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - Previously winless Spencerville outscored host Ada 34-15 in the second half to pull off a surprising 53-46 upset in an improbable Northwest Conference girls basketball outcome Thursday night.
The Lady Bearcats trailed 41-33 early in the fourth period, but then reeled off a 14-1 spurt to take the lead for good. Sophomore Caitlyn Propst scored seven points in the key run, including a three-pointer, to help Spencerville to the upset.
The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 3-3 and 1-2 in the NWC with the costly defeat, while the victors improved to 1-7 and 1-2 in league play.
"We did not play defense; we needed to win ugly but weren't willing to do that," said disappointed Ada head coach Neal Dumbaugh.
The Bearcats outscored the Bulldogs 20-7 in the final period, hitting 11 of 17 from the foul line to finish the unlikely comeback.
The purple and gold jumped out to a big early lead and appeared poised to post a convincing home league win. Tori Wyss scored six quick points and the Ada 1-2-2 trap press forced Spencerville into turnovers on their first three possessions.
The harried Bearcats missed their first 13 shots as the Bulldogs raced to a 13-1 cushion. Spencerville finally canned a basket seven minutes into the fray on a left wing 16-footer by Karri Purdy. Meanwhile, the spunky 'Cats began to get Ada in foul trouble, negating the press.
Alexis Gonzaga responded with a stickback basket and Jacey Grigsby scored in the lane to pull the visitors within 15-5 after one period.
The speedy Grigsby tallied a driving layin but then Ada ran off a 7-0 flurry. Alexis Amburgey canned an 11-foot pull-up shot, followed by a Gonzaga hoop. Wyss splashed a trifecta from out top to put the hosts on top, 22-7.
A lane shot by Propst cut the deficit to 13, yet Lindsay Walden banked in a putback to rebuild the margin to 15 at the five-minute mark. Two foul shots by Wyss and a runner by Sidney Faine put the Bulldogs in front 28-11 midway through the second stanza.
Rachel Wildman banked in a right wing 19-footer to extend the lead to 19. Tori Hardesty canned a 17-footer and Grigsby netted a driving baseline runner. Two Grigsby foul shots pulled the Bearcats within 31-19 at intermission.
"I hated to get away from the press, but with five kids in foul trouble I had to," recalled Dumbaugh.
Spencerville immediately got within striking distance to start the second half. A layup, a foul line jumper by Katie Merriman and a trey swisher from the left corner by Megan Miller earned the visitors some confidence.
Walden converted a pair of stickback baskets for the only Ada field goals of the first half of the third period. Grigsby converted a conventional three-point follow to make it 35-29 at the 4:13 mark, and one could sense the Bearcats gaining momentum and confidence.
Wyss netted an eight-footer 13 seconds later, yet Emilee Meyer responded with a right wing triple. Wyss converted a nice give and go from Gonzaga to put Ada on top 39-33 heading to the final quarter.
Wildman swished a high-arching 16-foot left side shot as the Bulldogs extended the lead to eight with 7:36 remaining. But then the hustling Bearcats, playing with great energy, began their decisive run.
Schylar Miller canned a left-handed transition layup to ignite the spurt. Propst bounced in an off-balance runner, then hit a trey from the top of the key to pull the black and white within 41-40 at the 3:50 juncture.
Two foul shots by Propst gave the visitors their first lead of the night with 2:39 left to play. A pair of foul shots by Grigsby made it 44-41 seconds later.
Ada, feeling the pressure and forcing shots, also missed three of four free tosses as Spencerville inched ahead 45-42 with 1:50 left. Grigsby then stole an in-bounds pass under her basket and went coast to coast for a backbreaking layin.
With 80 seconds to go, the Bearcats led 47-42. Wyss drained a clutch right wing 17-footer with 55 ticks remaining to end the 14-1 run. Schylar Miller split two free throws yet Wyss buried a foul line jumper to pull Ada within a basket with 32 seconds left.
After a Bearcat miscue, the Bulldogs threw the ball away on a costly in-bounds mistake and had to foul. Schylar Miller canned two big charity stripers to build the margin to four with 19.7 seconds to go.
Amburgey rushed upcourt and missed a three-pointer that Purdy rebounded. She was fouled and converted one free toss. Ada then missed another rushed trey from the top of the key. Purdy was fouled again and canned both shots to provide the shocking final margin.
"I've never seen a team of mine fall apart like that; we had turnovers, missed shots and then it just snowballed," lamented Dumbaugh.
The Bearcats outscored Ada 20-5 in the final seven minutes. When asked if it was one of the most disappointing losses in his nine-year tenure, the veteran coach admitted that "it certainly is."
It was a classic case of a team not putting a foe away when it had them down - and a hungry underdog hanging around and becoming dangerous as they begin to believe they can win and play with great enthusiasm.
Grigsby led the Bearcats with 16 points while Skylar Miller added 10 and Propst nine.
Wyss led all scorers with 20 points. Walden contributed nine before fouling out in the fourth period. Amburgey was credited with seven steals and added five points. Wildman tallied six markers.
A big culprit for Ada, other than crucial turnovers down the stretch, was poor foul shooting. The Bulldogs canned just five of 15 at the line (33 percent) while Spencerville canned 19 of 33 (58 percent).
The Bulldog shooting went ice cold in the second half from the floor as well as they canned just seven field goals.
The Lady Bulldog reserves improved to 4-2 with a 32-12 win. Haley Wyss led the Bulldog reserves with a dozen points and Tessa Coulson added nine.
Ada 46 (3-3, 1-2 NWC)
Gonzaga 2 0-0 4, Amburgey 2 1-2 5, Faine 1 0-3 2, Walden 4 1-3 9, H. Wyss 0, Marshall 0, Wildman 3 0-2 6, T. Wyss 8 3-5 20, Archer 0. Totals: 20/5-15/46. 3-pointer: T. Wyss 1.
Spencerville 53 (1-7, 1-2 NWC)
S. Miller 3 4-7 10, Hardesty 1 0-0 2, Purdy 1 3-4 5, E. Meyer 1 0-1 3, Merriman 1 1-2 3, Propst 3 2-3 9, Grigsby 5 6-9 16, M. Miller 1 2-2 4, Bowsher 0 1-3 1. Totals: 16/19-33/53. 3-pointers: E. Meyer 1, Propst 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 15 16 8 7 46
Svl 5 14 14 20 53
JV score: Ada 32, Spencerville 12.
Ada (3-2 at home) entertains always-tough New Riegel in a non-league bout Saturday afternoon. The JV game tips off at noon.