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August 7, 2020

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Ada girls basketball home opener spoiled by HN

By Cort Reynolds

ADA - Visiting Hardin Northern defeated county rival Ada 34-22 in the Lady Bulldog basketball home opener Tuesday evening.

HN outscored the scrappy Lady Bulldogs 21-12 in the second half to pull away from a low-scoring, close first half and post the victory.

The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 with the defeat, while the Lady Polar Bears improved to 1-2 with the win.

"We are happy with the win," said Northern head coach Brady Mast. "We missed a lot of easy baskets in the first half. We made some second half adjustments."

Ada was able to sink only nine field goals in the game, which featured just one made three-point goal by both teams combined.

"The effort was there, but the sense of urgency from the get-go is not there yet," said new Bulldog head coach Morgan Bass. "Right now, we don't have enough players with a scoring mentality. We are young and inexperienced."

Ada sophomore Alexis Waugh scored the game's first basket on a layup 3:10 into the first period. HN junior Quinn Stewart-Evans bounced in a lane runner just over a minute later to tie it.

A foul shot by sophomore Miranda Wills gave Ada a 3-2 lead in the final minute of the opening stanza. Stewart-Evans then splashed a left corner trey with 25 seconds left to give HN the lead, which they never relinquished.

After a Stewart-Evans free throw, Ada sophomore Brenna George sank a layup just before the buzzer to pull the hosts within 6-5 after one quarter of play.

Polar Bear junior Aby Russler canned a layin off an assist from Stewart-Evans to start the second period. The teams traded foul shots before George buried a left baseline 16-footer to inch the purple and gold within 9-8.

HN sophomore Maddie Grappy sank two foul shots and a 17-foot banker sandwiched around a short bank shot by Ada sophomore Megan Light. The visitors led 13-10 at intermission.

"I felt pretty good about the first half," said Bass.

George knocked down a left side 17-footer to open half two. A bank shot by Northern freshman Eris McCoy and three points by Grappy helped HN build a 7-0 spurt and a 20-12 lead.

Bulldog Waugh stole the ball and made a left-handed fast break layin to stop the flurry. But Stewart-Evans sank consecutive layups to build the lead to 24-14 with 2:21 to go in the third period.

Ada freshman Kirsten Poling drained a left elbow jumper at the 1:47 mark. George then banked in a layup with two seconds left in the quarter to edge Ada within 24-18 heading to the final stanza.

HN senior Zoey Curtis knocked down a short banker to open the fourth period scoring, igniting an 8-0 Lady Bear run that put the game out of reach.

Stewart-Evans sank a layup at the 5:33 juncture, and almost a minute later Curtis drilled a 15-footer from the right side. A bank shot by Curtis upped the lead to 32-18.

Poling's layup with 3:01 remaining cut the deficit to a dozen points. A 10-foot banker by Curtis in response closed out the HN scoring.

Poling splashed a pair of foul shots in the waning seconds to provide the final margin of 12.

"We got more aggressive in the second half," said Mast. "The girls did a nice job getting in the passing lanes and handling ball screens. We switched to a two-post offense.

"It was nice to get a win after being blitzed by Elgin," he added.

Stewart-Evans topped all players with a dozen points. Curtis tallied all eight of her points in the fourth quarter. Grappy added seven markers and a solid floor game.

George led Ada with eight points while Poling added six.

"Second half turnovers hurt," Bass admitted. "Brenna had a great game. She played hard, ran the floor and looked to score."

Ada won the two-quarter reserve game, 10-4. Freshman Timber Blankenship scored five points to pace the Bulldog reserves.


Ada 22 (1-1)

Light 1 0-2 2, Poling 2 2-2 6,  Wills 0 2-4 2, George 4 0-0 8, Acheson 0, Waugh 2 0-0 4, Blankenship 0.

Totals: 9/4-8/22. 3-pointers: none.


HN 34 (0-2)

Herrod-Gonzalez 1 1-2 3, Grappy 2 3-4 7, Stewart-Evans 5 1-2 12, Curtis 4 0-0 8, McCoy 1 0-0 2, Russler 1 0-0 2.

Totals: 14/5-8/34. 3-pointer: Stewart-Evans 1.


1 2 3 4 F

Ada 5 5 8 4 22

HN 6 7 11 10 34

JV: Ada 10, HN 4.


Ada (0-1 road) visits local rival Bluffton (2-1) Thursday in the Northwest Conference opener. "We need more aggression overall," said Dumbaugh.

The Pirates lost in the championship game of their own Bluffton Holiday Tournament to Arlington, 40-39.

The Polar Bears (1-2) play NWCC league rival Riverside Thursday.