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March 8, 2021

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Ada boys nipped by late Paulding rush

Cook scored a game-high 19 points on the strength of 5 trifectas, and also dished out 5 assists. 

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - Homestanding Ada led for much of the game but a late 16-8 run lifted Paulding to a 52-48 comeback win in Northwest Conference boys basketball makeup game action Saturday night.

Senior guard Blake McGarvey nailed seven consecutive free throws and scored the last eight Panther points over the final 4:04 to help the Panthers stave off upset-minded Ada.

"I don't want to celebrate a moral victory but we responded well to a poor performance the night before that ended badly," said Ada head coach Jon Cook. "We fought like crazy, and for the first 27 minutes out of 32 I thought we were the better team.

"It is disappointing to have another game where we were so close and did not get over the hump," he continued. "But we were connected as a group, played remarkably selfless and shared the ball. We met our four core values."

Ada led 17-12 after the opening period as senior guard Micah Cook tossed in 10 points. Cook buried two triples and Cayden Murphy added one trey in the opening stanza.

Bulldog senior Tristan Conley added four points in the first quarter. A left wing trifecta by Jacob Poling gave Ada a 14-10 lead with 2:10 to go in the period.

Hunter Kauser sank a layup but Cook drilled a right corner triple at the 40-second mark to give Ada a five-point lead after one quarter.

Conley's driving layup to open the second period gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of seven. Panther Zach Gorrell swished a 16-footer from the left baseline, but Murphy nailed a short banker for Ada.

Andrew Adams banked in a corner triple for the visitors, followed by a right wing trey from McGarvey.

Snior Trent Ennis nailed a left wing trifecta with 1:55 to go in the half to put Ada in front, 24-20.

But Panther sophomore guard Nick Manz stole the ball and drove for a layup at the 1:11 mark. Manz then swished a right corner triple just five seconds before the intermission horn to give the Panthers a 25-24 edge at the half.

A long three from out top by Cook started the second half well for Ada. A driving power layup by Panther post Payton Beckman gave the visitors a one-point lead.

Bulldog sophomore Carter Conley canned a layup off a nice feed from Cook. McGarvey answered by hitting a triple from the top of the key at the five-minute mark.

A Kauser right wing triple helped Paulding cap a 7-0 run as they forged ahead, 35-29. But Ada did not fold. Ennis splashed a left corner trey from Cook with 2:47 left. 

Cook then took a skip pass and buried a right corner trey to tie it 35-all with 2:01 to go in the third period.

Murphy then took a nice dish off Cook's driving airborne pass and laid it in to finish Ada's responding 8-0 surge at the 1:29 mark. 

Paulding tied it on a Bauer layin off a nice McGarvey feed to knot it up 37-37 heading to the final period.

Gorrell drilled a left corner shot from 18 feet to open the fourth quarter. Tristan Conley split two foul shots, but Kauser drove through the Ada zone and scooped in a short shot off glass.

Pressing Paulding then stole the ball and Ethan Foltz converted a traditional three-point play to provide a 44-38 Paulding lead with 6:12 left to play.

Poling drained a right corner triple at the 5:52 juncture to cut the deficit in half. Murphy dropped in a short jumper over heavy pressure to pull Ada within 44-43 with five minutes remaining.

McGarvey then hit two foul shots. Ennis made a nice steal yet was unable to finish a contested drive. McGarvey converted two more charity stripers, and the Bulldogs committed a costly over-and-back turnover.

Two more McGarvey free throws extended the Panther advantage to 50-43 with 65 seconds left. Tristan Conley grabbed a weakside offensive rebound and laid in a putback with 40.9 ticks to go, slicing the deficit to five.

McGarvey then missed the second of two free throws, and Cook splashed a deep three from out top to inch Ada within 51-48 with 15.6 seconds to go.

McGarvey was fouled again and missed the first, but made the critical second shot to build the lead to four. He then stole a pass with about six seconds left and dribbled out the clock to preserve the victory.

The Bulldogs fell to 3-16 overall and 1-6 in the NWC with the difficult loss. The Panthers improved to 7-10 overall and 3-4 in the NWC with the victory. 

Cook scored a game-high 19 points on the strength of five trifectas, and also dished out five assists. 

"Micah played a good floor game," said Cook. "It is not easy to be a leading scorer and a playmaker. He passed pretty well."    

Murphy and Tristan Conley each contributed nine points, while Poling added six.

Despite playing their fifth game in 10 days, the Bulldogs competed with high energy but came up just short in the final period.      

McGarvey led Paulding with 17 points. Kauser netted 10, and Manz added seven markers.     

The Bulldogs connected on 19 total field goals, two more than Paulding. They sank 10 baskets inside the arc, and canned nine shots from three-point country.     

Ada converted one of their mere two attempts from the charity stripe (50 percent). 

The Panthers sank 17 total baskets. They also sank 10 two-point field goals and hit on seven shots from three-point land.     

The visitors converted 11 of 19 free throw tries (58 percent). Their final nine points came at the charity stripe, where they outscored Ada 11-1.

The hard-luck Bulldogs fell to 2-8 at home this season with the defeat.

Paulding also won the junior varsity contest 43-29 to drop the Ada reserve record to 6-10. Luke Zartman paced the Panthers with 12 points. Jacob Sutherly and Kadin Phipps led Ada with seven points apiece. 

The Bulldog reserves made all their points from three-point land (eight treys) and the foul line (five), with no made two-point goals.    

Ada 48 (3-16, 1-6 NWC)
Thompson 0, Ennis 1 0-0 3, Cook 7 0-0 19, C. Murphy 4 0-0 9, T. Conley 4 1-2 9, Poling 2 0-0 6, E. Murphy 0, C. Conley 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 10-9/1-2/48. 3-pointers: Cook 5, Poling 2, Ennis 1, C. Murphy 1.   

Paulding 52 (7-10, 3-4 NWC)
Adams 1 0-0 3, McGarvey 3 8-10 17, Bauer 1 2-4 4, Manz 3 0-2 7, Kauser 4 0-0 10, Gorrell 2 0-0 4, Beckman 2 0-2 4, Foltz 1 1-1 3.
Totals: 10-7/11-19/52. 3-pointers: McGarvey 3, Kauser 2, Adams 1, Manz 1.

    1    2    3    4    F
Ada    17    7    13     11    48
Pau    12    13    12    15    52
JV: Paulding 43, Ada 29.

On Tuesday night, February 16 Ada plays at MAC foe New Knoxville (5-15). The Rangers have lost their last six games since a January 23 win over Fort Jennings, 42-40. 

It will be the sixth Bulldog game in 13 days.

"New Knoxville has had some good wins and some losses that make you shake your head," said Cook. "Playing over there is never easy. They have a good young coach and will be well-prepared."

Ada (1-8 road) then visits league leader Columbus Grove (16-2, 7-0 NWC) Friday, Feb. 19 in the league finale. A win would give CG its second straight undefeated NWC title.

Bulldog sophomore Spencer Wall missed all three game this past week after injuring his knee in practice. Cook hopes to have him back in practice Monday, and for the NK game.

Ada concludes its regular season Saturday, Feb. 20 at home vs. Temple Christian (2-18). TC recently snapped a 15-game losing streak with a Feb. 9 win over Monclova Christian. The JV game starts at 2 p.m.