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February 27, 2021

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Late Polar Bear rally upends gritty Ada boys

Bulldogs face three opponents this week

 By Cort Reynolds
DOLA - Host Hardin Northern reeled off 12 straight points in the final two minutes to rally past county foe Ada 41-33 in a tough non-conference boys basketball Saturday night showdown.

The Bulldogs held the lead for almost the entire final three periods, but lost their fourth close heartbreaker of the season due to the 12-0 HN closing rush.

HN junior Nevin Robson started the decisive finishing spurt with a baseline runner to inch the hosts within 33-31 as 1:31 remained to play. Luke Wilson then splashed a right side trifecta that put Northern on top 34-33 with 1:15 to play.

Polar Bear Owen Wetherill then came up with a timely steal and driving layin to put the hosts ahead 36-33 with a minute to go. Luke Wilson canned two foul shots to extend the margin to 38-33 with 32 ticks left.

Ada missed a trey try, and HN senior Cole Morris split two free throws with 16.7 seconds to play. The Bulldogs then misfired on two shots, Robson rebounded and was fouled.

With 6.5 seconds left he sank both charity stripers to advance the lead to eight and put the game out of reach.

Ada fell to 1-10 with the gut-wrenching defeat. HN evened its record at 6-6 with the comeback victory. 

"It was really a heartbreaker," said Ada head coach Jon Cook. "We have such a narrow margin of error. We can do a lot of things well and right, but we can't afford lulls or mistakes in segments. We just can't survive it."

HN jumped out to leads of 6-0, 8-2 and 12-6 early on. But Robson got in foul trouble after scoring eight early points, and Ada rallied to score 10 of the last 14 points of the period.

Ada took a 13-12 lead early in the second stanza on a Micah Cook triple, and held that advantage until the final 91 seconds.

Junior Cayden Murphy scored two inside baskets off Cook feeds to build a 17-12 Bulldog margin. 

Cook capped a 10-0 run by nailing a trey to provide a 20-12 cushion. HN finally scored its only basket of the second period in the final minute on a field goal by Owen Wetherill to pull within 20-14 at intermission.

Murphy and Cook led Ada with nine points apiece in the first half.

Murphy canned a shirt hook to open the third quarter. Wetherill drained a triple and Robson hit a foul shot for Northern.

Bulldog senior Jacob Poling stole the ball and converted a layup to give Ada a 24-20 edge with 1:30 left in the third period.

Morris canned a basket but Cook blocked a Bear layup at the buzzer to keep Ada ahead by a basket heading to the fourth quarter.

Ada senior Trent Ennis converted a traditional three-point play to start the final stanza. Murphy sank a driving basket to give the Bulldogs a 29-22 advantage.

Polar Bear Zeb Wilson drained a trifecta to cut the lead to four at the five-minute mark. 

Robson split two free throws, then finished a conventional three-point play off a Wetherill dish on a power move inside to tie it 29-29 at the 3:30 mark.

Cook answered with a 10-footer to put Ada back on top 31-29 with three minutes left in the period. 

Ada senior Tristan Conley then buried two free throws to build the edge to four points at the 1:57 juncture.

But then Robson nailed a baseline runner to ignite the 12-0 Polar Bear closing charge.

Robson led all scorers with 19 points.

Murphy led the Bulldogs with 13 points, while Cook netted 11. 

"For 30 minutes of a 32-minute game we deserved to win," Cook offered. "We got to the final point of the game where we had to earn it, and we didn't. But I couldn't be happier with our defense considering our limitations in size."

The Bulldogs canned 13 field goals. They sank 10 baskets inside the arc, and made three shots from three-point land, all by Cook.     
Ada converted just four of 11 attempts from the charity stripe (36 percent).

"Free throws continue to kill us," Cook lamented.

The Polar Bears connected on 14 total baskets, one more than Ada. They also sank a trio of shots from three-point territory, and hit 11 two-point field goals. 

HN converted 10 of 12 free throw attempts (83 percent) from the charity stripe. 

Ada lost the junior varsity contest to drop their record to 5-5. The Bulldog freshmen squad did beat HN in an overtime battle Saturday to secure their first win of the season.

Ada 33 (1-10)
Thompson 0, C. Murphy 6 1-2 13, Cook 4 0-2 11, Wall 0, Ennis 1 1-3 3, T. Conley 0 2-4 2, Poling 2 0-0 4, E. Murphy 0.
Totals: 10-3/4-11/33. 3-pointers: Cook 3.

HN 41 (6-6)
Wetherill 3 0-0 7, Z. Wilson 1 0-0 3, L. Wilson 1 2-2 5, Robson 6 7-8 19, Morris 1 1-2 3, Good 1 0-0 2, Curtis 1 0-0 2, Hooker 0.
Totals: 11-3/10-12/41. 3-pointers: L. Wilson 1.
    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    10    10    4    9    33
HN    12    2    8    19    41

Ada (0-5 road) will try to bounce back when they visit Arlington (5-6), led by former Bulldog All-NWC point guard Brandon Hull on Tuesday night, January 19.

The Bulldogs (0-2 NWC) then visit powerful league foe Crestview (9-2, 2-1 NWC) Friday night, January 22. 

"Brandon Hull has been a tremendous fit for their program," said Cook. "It is a big game for our program and we look forward to playing games like that which bring out the best in you."

The Bulldogs (0-2 NWC) then visit powerful league foe Crestview (9-2, 2-1 NWC) Friday night, January 22. 

"Crestview has been a house of horrors for a lot of people over there over the years," said Cook. "They have a Div. I commit (6-7 Kalen Etzler) we will have a hard time matching up with.

"We will have to keep the possessions down, control the tempo, defend well and be reasonably competitive on the backboards," he noted. 

Ada is slated to conclude a tough week by hosting beleaguered county rival Kenton (0-9) Saturday night, Jan. 23.

The postponed Ada/Waynesfield-Goshen contest has been rescheduled for February 1 at W-G.