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August 18, 2019

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Lady Rams knock off Ada in Border tourney semis

By Cort Reynolds

ADA - After a slow start, visiting Upper Scioto Valley outscored tournament host Ada by 16 points over the final three periods to post a 44-35 win over their backyard rival in semifinal Border Battle girls basketball tournament action Thursday night.

The Lady Bulldogs fell to 1-8 with the defeat. Meanwhile, the Lady Rams improved to 1-7 with their first win and advanced to the second annual tourney finals Saturday against Allen East.

Ada raced to an 11-2 lead as sophomore post Megan Light netted three inside baskets. But USV switched to a 2-3 zone defense and the Bulldogs were unable to solve it.

"I thought we played our best first half of the season, especially the first quarter," said first-year Ada head coach Morgan Bass. "Everyone played hard, the intensity was up.

"Their zone broke us down, it killed us," she continued. "They used their size and pounded it inside. We had a stretch where we made a lot of turnovers, which they then scored off of."

USV outscored Ada 17-11 in the fourth period to gradually pull away and post the win. The Rams knocked down 11 of 13 free throws in the key final quarter to clinch the victory.

"USV hit their free throws in the fourth quarter," Bass agreed.

Ram sophomore post Allison Moore powered her way to six points in the decisive stanza inside. Classmate Haylie Martin splashed eight of 10 from the charity stripe as well in the fourth quarter to help seal the verdict.

Ada freshman Kirsten Poling drained a high-arching 16-footer to start the fourth period and inch Ada within 27-26. Three Ram foul shots stretched the lead to four.

Moore followed her own miss with a basket inside. Moore then canned a putback layin to extend the lead to 34-26 and prompt an Ada timeout with 3:51 remaining.

"We needed to do a better job of limiting them to one shot," Bass noted of the big offensive rebound baskets inside that Ada allowed.

Bulldog sophomore guard Brenna George knocked down a left side 13-footer to advance Ada within six at the 3:17 mark. Poling hit a foul shot and a 15-footer sandwiched around two Martin free tosses to make it 36-31 with two minutes left to play.

Ram sophomore Graesen Evans then made a backbreaking three-point drive to put USV up by eight at the 1:44 juncture. After an Ada misfire, Martin canned two charity stripers to extend the margin to 10.

Poling converted a layup off a steal and assist by hustling Bulldog sophomore Miranda Wills. But Martin hit three of four free throws to build a 44-33 cushion.

Bulldog southpaw Lexi Waugh drilled a lane shot just before the buzzer to provide the final margin of nine.

Martin led all players with 18 points, while Moore contributed 10 points. "Martin is definitely their motor, she makes them go," said Bass.

Poling tossed in a career-high 17 points to lead Ada. Light added seven markers.

After Ada led 11-2 early, Martin led an 8-0 Ram run to get back in it. Bulldog Brook Phillips sank a foul shot to stop the flurry, but Martin tied it on a fast break layin halfway through the second stanza.

Two foul shots by Mackenzie Grener gave USV its first lead, 14-12. Moore swished a left side 14-footer, followed by two Poling foul shots.

Ada rallied to tie it 17-17 at intermission on a Light free toss and Poling's left side 15-footer five seconds before the horn.

Waugh's eight-footer at the 6:06 mark of the third period gave the Bulldogs the lead back, 19-17. Moore tied it on a layup and a bank shot by Grener put the Rams in front by two.

Poling knotted it again by hitting a 17-footer. Her short bank shot in transition and a Waugh free throw gave Ada a 24-21 edge at the 2:41 juncture.

Yet Martin responded with a stickback layin, sparking a 6-0 spurt to end the stanza. Ram senior Avery Sanders sank two foul shots and canned a short bank shot in traffic to give USV a 27-24 edge heading to the final period.

The visitors never trailed again and stretched the lead to as many as 11 in the final period behind accurate foul shooting and solid defense. Their collapsing zone helped cause numerous Bulldog turnovers.

"On offense we need to reverse the ball more and not force passes into the zone," explained Bass.

Ram second-year head coach Travis Donley was pleased with his team's first win. "I am happy with how we responded after being down nine points early," he noted. "Going to the 2-3 zone and pressing made a big difference."

USV outscored Ada 42-24 over the final 25 minutes of play.

The Rams sank 12 two-point goals and converted 20 of 26 (77 percent) from the charity stripe. Ada canned 14 field goals, but hit on just seven of 15 (47 percent) at the foul line. Neither team made a three-point field goal.

Allen East pulled away late behind guard Kate Newland to defeat Waynesfeld-Goshen 60-41 in the first Border Battle semifinal Thursday night. The win advanced AE to their second straight title game in the tournament.


Ada 35 (1-8)

Wills 0 1-2 1, Poling 7 3-5 17, Light 3 1-4 7, Waugh 2 1-2 5, George 2 0-0 4, Phillips 0 1-2 1, Blankenship 0.

Totals: 14/7-15/35. 3-pointers: none.


USV 44 (1-7)

Martin 4 10-12 18, Evans 2 1-1 5, Grener 1 3-4 5, Sanders 1 4-4 6, Moore 4 2-5 10.

Totals: 12/20-26/44. 3-pointers: none.


1 2 3 4 F

Ada 11 6 7 11 35

USV 6 11 10 17 44

No JV game.


USV will face Allen East (6-2) in the girls championship game of the second Border Battle tournament Saturday night at 6 p.m.

AE will be shooting for its second straight tournament crown. The Mustangs rallied to beat Ada 39-32 last year at Waynesfield in the inaugural Border title game.

Ada will meet non-league foe Waynesfield (3-6) in the third-place consolation game Saturday at noon.

"They are scrappy and play hard," said Bass of the Tigers. "We scrimmaged them in pre-season."