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January 24, 2021

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It's Ada boys over McComb

Murphy scored a season-high 17 points. Ennis fired in 15 points with 3 triples, and Cook added 12

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - The hustling Ada boys basketball team got its first victory of the season with a 50-42 victory over visiting McComb in non-conference play Saturday night.

The Bulldogs took a 21-16 lead after one period when senior Micah Cook banked in a 33-foot triple at the buzzer. McComb pulled within one point in the second stanza, but Ada never relinquished the lead.

A 10-2 third quarter where the Bulldogs limited the Panthers to just one basket allowed the purple and gold hosts to extend the lead to 41-28 heading into the final period.

Ada then stretched the advantage to as many as 14 before McComb rallied within 47-40 in the final minutes, but that was as close as the Panthers got.

The Bulldogs improved to 1-8 with the hard-earned non-league home win. Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped to 4-6 with the defeat. 

"Absolutely it feels good," said Ada head coach Jon Cook when asked about the first victory of a challenging season. "It is a win, and it feels very good for that group of young men.

"To come off a 10-day quarantine, practice two times and then win on the second night of a back-to-back is not easy. They deserve to be really proud of it, and should be proud," he added.

Senior Tristan Conley nailed a corner trey to start the game strongly. Junior Cayden Murphy sank a putback, and senior Trent Ennis drained a left corner triple to give Ada an early 8-0 lead.

After a timeout, McComb closed the gap by drilling four long three-pointers, three by Garrett Clark-Rader and one from Kaden Sherick.

But Murphy canned three straight baskets inside - a left-handed layup, a bank shot and a half-hook off glass. Cook then banked in his buzzer-beating bomb to make it 21-16 after one highlight-filled period of play.

"Both teams shot the lights out the first quarter," said Cook. "We scripted our first five plays and executed well. McComb also made shots." 

McComb crept within 21-20 after a long three-pointer by Sherick. yet Cook was fouled on a triple try and converted all three free throws. 

Sherick unleashed a 25-foot trey, but Ennis answered by hitting a left corner three of his own. Murphy scored inside off a Cook assist, then Murphy sank a lane shot to build a 31-23 bulge.

Sherick nailed a 28-foot triple to inch the Panthers within 31-26 20 seconds before halftime. 

Ada kept the pressure on to start the second half. Ennis drilled a left wing triple, and Cook swished a right wing trifecta to shoot the hosts to an 11-point lead.

Camden Glaser banked in a short shot to stop the 6-0 run, but it would be their lone basket of the period. 

Murphy converted two charity stripers and Ennis splashed a step-back 13-footer off the right baseline to extend the Ada lead to 41-28 after three quarters.

Sherick stole the ball and drove the length of the floor for a layup to open the final stanza. Yet Ennis sank a transition layup and a free throw to make it 44-30 with 5:04 remaining.

Jared Dillon scored inside on a post-up for the Panthers. Murphy responded by muscling in a power layin at the four-minute mark.

A Dillon putback, and another deep three from Sherick inched McComb within 46-38 with 2:14 left to play.

Ennis hit a foul shot and Glaser converted a stickback to make it 47-40. But Ada senior Jacob Poling canned a brekaway layup with 39 seconds left to all but clinch the win.

The 6-4 Dillon finished a power move inside but Poling sank a foul shot with eight seconds left to ice it.

After three near wins that ended up in gut-wenching losses, the Bulldogs had held on for their first vctory.

"Tonight our offensive execution was there and our shots went in," Cook noted. 

Murphy scored a season-high 17 points to pace Ada. Ennis fired in 15 points with three triples, and Cook added a dozen markers.

"That was good to see three guys in double figures for us," Cook observed.

Sherick topped McComb with 17 markers on the strength of five treys. Clark-Rader added 13 points, but only four came after the first period.

The Bulldogs canned 17 field goals. They sank 11 baskets from inside the arc, and made six launches from beyond the arc.     

Ada converted 10 of 21 attempts from the charity stripe (48  percent).

The Panthers connected on 15 total baskets, including nine from three-point territory and only six inside the arc. They converted three of eight free throws (38 percent) from the charity stripe. 

"It was a really good growing experience that ended with a win," Cook summed up. "We have a tremendous amount of work left to do, but we got a win and I am proud and happy for the players."
Ada also won the junior varsity contest 40-30 to even their record at 4-4. Grant Preston led the Bulldog reserves with 11 points, while Carter Conley added nine.

Ada 50 (1-8)
C. Murphy 7 3-8 17, Cook 3 4-4 12, Wall 0, Ennis 5 2-5 15, T. Conley 1 0-0 3, Poling 1 1-2 3, E. Murphy 0.
Totals: 11-6/10-21/50. 3-pointer: Ennis 3, Cook 2, Conley 1.

McComb 42 (4-6)
Glaser 2 1-2 5, Clark-Rader 4 1-2 13, Wittenmeyer 0 1-2 1, Sherick 6 0-1 17, Dillon 3 0-1 6.
Totals: 6-9/3-8/42. 3-pointers: Sherick 5, Clark-Rader 4.
    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    21     10    10    9    50
McC    16    10    2    14    42
JV: Ada 40, McComb 30.

Ada hosts traditional arch-rival Upper Scioto Valley (3-4) Tuesday, January 12. Among common opponents, the Rams defeated Ridgemont by 16, while Ada lost by a point in overtime to the Gophers in the lidlifter. 

USV also fell 59-52 to Perry, whereas Ada lost to the Commodores 69-49 in a game that was more competitive than the final score indicates.

The JV contest starts at 6 p.m. and will only be two quarters long. Ada is 1-4 at home while the Rams are 1-2 on the road this season.

"USV is playing really well right now, they only lost by seven to Perry," said Cook of the Bulldogs' backyard foe. "They have strength and size inside, which we lack. They have switch-able defensive players. Even their perimeter guys have length.

"They are a difficult matchup for us, and it is a big rivalry game to look forward to," continued Cook, a USV alumnus. "It is a game I grew up on, so it means a lot to me and the kids.

"It allows us another chance to play, which we are thankful for, especially this year," added Cook. "It also gives us a chance to get back on the floor right away and correct things."

The Bulldogs then visit another county foe at Hardin Northern (5-4) Saturday, Jan. 16. HN beat USV 55-50 in the season-opener, and defeated Van Buren 63-58 Saturday.