By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - The annual non-league girls basketball grudge match between Hardin County rivals Ada and Kenton was a bruising foul-fest Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Lady Wildcats put together a 13-1 run to start the fourth quarter and seized a one-point lead. But the Lady Bulldogs responded with a game-ending 12-2 flurry of their own to claim the battle, 59-50.
Ada upped their record to 5-6 with the hard-fought win, while Kenton fell to 6-7.
The two teams combined for 71 free throws and 49 fouls in the intense, physical contest. Bulldog junior Tori Wyss shot 23 foul shots and drilled 19 on her way to a game-high total of 29 points.
Ada converted 28 of 42 (67 percent) from the charity stripe, doubling Kenton's output. The Wildcats faltered at the line, sinking just 14 of 29 for a costly 48 percent.
"It was quite a performance by Tori," Ada head coach Neal Dumbaugh said. "She wasn't going to let us lose. I thought we played and competed very hard. Lex (Amburgey) and Tori did a nice job managing the game."
Kenton took its first lead since the opening stanza at 48-47 when Kaley Wireman netted a putback with 3:33 left to play.
Wyss answered via two foul shots 10 seconds later, and the hosts had the lead back for good.
Three Wildcats fouled out in the final four minutes as Ada shot 8-11 down the stretch at the line to pull out the victory.
A key play happened when Amburgey came up with a loose ball out of a scrum and fed Rachel Wildman for a layup that gave the Bulldogs a 52-48 edge with just 2:12 remaining.
Amburgey then added a key layup at the 1:33 mark to put Ada on top, 55-49. After Wildcat Megan Gier split two foul shots, Wyss converted four in a row over the final minute to ice the victory.
"It was a big win," Dumbaugh admitted, especially since his club had lost six of their last seven, as well as the last three games vs. local rival Kenton.
Two foul shots and a running banker by Sidney Faine gave Ada an 8-6 edge early. Kenton took the lead 9-8 on a driving layup by Ashley Morris and a Brooke Bostelman free toss. But it would be their last lead until the final four minutes.
Two Wyss charity stripers and a right wing 14-footer by Alexis Gonzaga gave Ada a 12-9 margin after one quarter.
Lindsay Walden canned a layup off a nice backdoor pass from Wyss to open the second stanza. A stickback and a spinning 13-footer by Wyss pushed the Ada lead to 18-12.
Caitlein Johnson banked in a half hook for Kenton. Wyss canned four free throws and Amburgey splashed a three-pointer to make it 25-17 midway through the period.
Jenna Moore nailed a foul line shot and Gier sank a fast break layup to pull the visitors within four.
Yet Wyss dribbled behind her back and drove down a wide-open lane for a layup off glass. Kenton missed six foul shots in a row while freshman Haley Wyss canned a pair before Bostelman connected on a runner.
Amburgey knocked down a short right baseline shot with a second left to build the lead to 31-24 at intermission.
Kenton inched within 31-29 early in period three after a trifecta by Morris. But Wyss went back to the line for two more, followed by a bank runner from Faine.
Moore drained a high-arching trey from the top of the key. Wyss responded with a traditional three-point play on a power move along the right baseline for a 39-32 bulge at the 2:08 mark.
Two more freebies and a pull-up lane shot by Wyss stretched the cushion to 44-35. Wyss then went to the floor for a loose ball and passed to Walden from a prone position for a layup that put the Bulldogs up 11 after the third quarter.
"Our effort on the boards early in the third quarter got us in trouble, but we cleaned that up," recalled Dumbaugh.
Morris began the final stanza by draining an 18-footer and two free tosses. A foul shot and a runner by the speedy Bostelman bounced in, and suddenly Kenton trailed just 46-42 with seven minutes left.
A layup by Cheyenne Hedges and a transition finish by Keana Wireman off a turnover pulled the Wildcats within one. Karley Wireman put them on top briefly with a stickback, but the lead was short-lived.
Ada regained the advantage just seconds later and went on the game-closing 12-2 spurt to win going away.
The Wildcats were whistled for 29 fouls, compared to 20 for Ada. Bostelman led Kenton with 14 points and Morris added nine. Amburgey contributed 10 markers to support Wyss.
"Brittney Archer did a great job guarding Bostelman," Dumbaugh noted of his senior reserve speedster. "I am very proud of her effort. The thing today is, we kept battling."
The Lady Bulldog reserves fell to 5-6 with a 40-35 defeat. Morgan Sutton topped Ada with 16 points and Lauren Rush of Kenton led all scorers with 21 points.
Ada 59 (5-6)
Gonzaga 1 1-2 3, Amburgey 4 1-2 10, Faine 2 2-2 6, Walden 2 0-1 4, H. Wyss 0 2-2 2, Wildman 1 3-6 5, T. Wyss 5 19-23 29, Archer 0 0-4 0. Totals: 15/28-42/59. 3-pointer: Amburgey 1.
Kenton 50 (6-7)
Ka. Wireman 1 1-2 3, Ke. Wirema 2 0-0 4, Morris 3 2-6 9, Johnson 1 1-2 3, Moore 2 0-0 5, Bostelman 4 6-11 14, Hedges 3 2-2 8, Gier 1 2-6 4. Totals: 17/14-29/50. 3-pointers: Morris 1, Moore 1.
1 2 3 4 F
Ada 12 19 14 14 59
Kent 9 15 11 15 50
JV score: Kenton 40, Ada 35.
Ada (1-3 NWC) next visits backyard arch-rival Allen East (7-5, 3-0 NWC) in a league clash Thursday, Jan. 16.
"That will be a battle," Dumbaugh warned.
The Bulldogs will make up their postponed non-league game at home vs. Perry on Monday, Jan. 20.