ADA - Host Ada made a furious fourth quarter rally that narrowly came up shy as they fell 63-60 to former league foe Lima Central Catholic in a girls basketball battle that went down to the final second Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs took their first lead since early in the game when Tori Wyss tallied a conventional three-point play for a 60-59 edge with only 25.2 seconds left to play.
LCC standout Madison Stolly canned a difficult driving banker to put the Thunderbirds back on top with 14 ticks left.
Ada then missed two foul shots and LCC canned two pressure free throws with 4.1 seconds to go, building the lead to three.
A Bulldog desperation triple try at the horn came close but caromed off the glass and rim to preserve the slim LCC lead.
Ada fell to 6-9 with the tough loss, while the Thunderbirds improved to 11-4.
"We played one of our best games," agreed ninth-year Bulldog head coach Neal Dumbaugh. "But that is a team you can't take any possessions off against. I told the girls afterward that it was a great effort, and you will win a lot of games with that."
The Bulldogs reeled off a 23-point fourth quarter to come back from as many as a dozen down in the second half, but ran out of gas at the very end.
LCC jumped out to a 5-0 lead yet Rachel Wildman notched a layup for the first Bulldog basket three minutes in. Alexis Amburgey buried a trifecta from the top of the key to tie it.
After a second early LCC triple, Sidney Faine canned a layup from Wildman. Another trey by T-Bird Liz Kidd pushed the LCC lead to 11-7.
Yet Amburgey responded with her own triple and a missed free throw putback by Tori Wyss gave Ada its first lead 13-11 with 2:16 to go in the period.
Meredith Shepherd nailed a 14-footer after some crisp passing by the visitors to tie it 13-all after the opening stanza.
Wyss canned two foul shots to put the hosts back in front. Carlee Marshall came off the bench and blocked a shot, then posted up at the other end and drained a short post-up shot.
Marshall then canned a layup to extend Ada's biggest lead to 19-13. "Carlee made a difference," noted Dumbaugh of the sophomore, playing in just her second game back from an early-season concussion.
Yet LCC roared right back with a 12-0 spurt. Kayla Verhoff started the run with a three-point goal, then converted an old-fashioned three-point play to tie it.
Two Kidd foul shots were followed by a Madison Stolly steal and breakaway layin. Sidney Santaguida then drove through the Ada zone defense for a layin that put LCC on top, 25-19.
"Our effort guarding the perimeter was not good at times," noted Dumbaugh, who stressed before the game that the small T-Birds were a three-point bombing squad.
Wildman netted a follow shot with 3:11 left in the half to end the splurge and pull the hosts within four. Yet Kidd splashed a left corner triple. Haley Wyss converted a power layup but Stolly tossed in a tough one-footed running banker.
Haley Wyss swished a left corner trey, which was answered by a Verhoff left wing triple. Amburgey ended the fast and furious first half with a basket that cut the Ada deficit to 35-28 at intermission.
Verhoff swished a high-arching trifecta from out front to start half two. Faine countered with a drive. Shepherd splashed a right wing triple and Ada called timeout with 5:42 left in the third period to re-emphasize the importance of guarding the three-point shooters.
"You have to have consistent defensive effort against a team that shoots like that (especially in a zone)," said Dumbaugh. "Our effort was better in the second half."
Lindsay Walden tallied a layup off the in-bounds pass to bring Ada within 10. Stolly responded with a short half hook that bounced in for a 44-32 lead.
Stolly then sank a pretty runner off glass. Tori Wyss muscled inside for a layup that cut it to 46-34. Haley Wyss knocked down a putback at the 1:55 mark. Marshall split a pair of foul shots to inch the Bulldogs within 46-37 heading to the final stanza.
Wildman drove through the LCC defense to sink a bank shot as Ada opened the quarter by continuing to build momentum. Sydney Mohler came up with a big stickback bucket, her only hoop for LCC.
Tori Wyss banked in a well-contested runner with six minutes left to make it 48-41. Verhoff swished a right corner triple but Faine netted a putback to keep Ada within eight.
Tori Wyss canned a top of the key triple as the Bulldogs edged to 51-45 at the 4:50 mark. Stolly split two free throws. Amburgey canned a short pull-up jumper in transition with four minutes left. Tori Wyss drilled a pair at the line to make it 52-49 with 3:27 to play.
Santaguida then penetrated and banked in a double-clutch drive to put the Thunderbirds up by five. However, plucky Ada responded again as Faine drained a left corner triple to slice the deficit to 54-52 with 2:47 left.
Both teams committed costly turnovers and Santaguida nailed a trifecta from the right corner. Ada refused to fold as Haley Wyss swished a right wing triple to make it 57-55 with 1:42 remaining.
LCC misfired on a drive but then stole the ball back. The T-Birds missed a three-pointer and Ada had a chance to tie or take the lead. But Tori Wyss back-rimmed a triple from out top, and LCC was fouled on the rebound.
Shepherd drained both shots with 1:05 to go. Tori Wyss drove and drew a foul, then converted both free throws with 48.6 left.
Ada pressure forced a T-Bird travel just a second later.
Tori Wyss then drove into the defense, swished a nine-foot runner and was fouled with 25.2 seconds left. She bounced in the charity striper, but Stolly came right back with a crucial driving shot off glass with 14 ticks remaining to put LCC ahead 61-60.
Ada called its last timeout with 8.5 seconds remaining as Tori Wyss was pushing the ball up the right side of the court into offensive position.
Faine then drew a foul on a baseline leaner, but both shots rimmed off and LCC rebounded the loose all-important ball.
Shepherd was fouled and calmly canned two clutch foul shots with 4.1 seconds to go, making it a three-point margin.
Amburgey rushed the ball upcourt and got off a running 26-foot trey from the right wing at the buzzer, but it bounced away off the backboard and rim.
Verhoff topped all scorers with 18 points on the strength of five trifectas. Stolly added 14, Shepherd 12 and Santaguida nine.
Tori Wyss paced the Bulldogs with 17 markers. Faine, Amburgey and Haley Wyss added 10 points apiece in a solid offensive effort.
LCC canned 10 three-pointers to offset Ada's 23-22 advantage in field goals. Both teams shot an identical 9-of-14 from the foul line (64 percent).
The Lady Bulldog reserves pulled out a seven-point victory.
Ada 60 (6-9)
Gonzaga 0, Amburgey 4 0-0 10, Faine 4 1-4 10, Walden 1 0-0 2, H. Wyss 4 0-0 10, Wildman 3 0-1 6, T. Wyss 5 7-7 17, Archer 0, Marshall 2 1-2 5. Totals: 23/9-14/60. 3-pointer: Amburgey 2, H. Wyss 2, Faine 1.
LCC 63 (11-4)
Santaguida 4 0-1 9, Shepherd 3 4-4 12, Kidd 2 2-2 8, Mohler 1 0-0 2, Stolly 6 2-6 14, Verhoff 6 1-1 18.
Totals: 22/9-14/63. 3-pointers: Verhoff 5, Kidd 2, Shepherd 2, Santaguida 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 13 15 9 23 60
LCC 13 22 11 17 63
JV score: Ada over LCC.
Ada visits reeling non-league foe Waynesfield (8-5) Saturday afternoon, Jan. 25 for its sixth game in 11 days. The Tiger girls have been decimated by the recent defection of three key players and the resignation of head coach Ted Patton.