You are here

Bulldog girls basketball stings Hornets, wins home opener

Stingy defense, balanced scoring paves way to win

By Cort Reynolds

The Ada High School girls basketball team dominated the middle quarters with tough defense to rally from a big early deficit and win their home opener 54-46 over non-league foe Cory-Rawson Tuesday night, November 28.

The Bulldogs trailed 20-8 after the opening period, but turned things around with an 8-0 spurt to end the first half. Ada carried over the momentum to the third period and seized control with a pair of 11-0 runs.

Ada then staved off a late Hornet rally to preserve the impressive, hard-fought victory.

The Bulldog girls outscored Cory by a whopping 34-7 margin over the middle periods. Tough ballhawking defense, offensive rebounding baskets and timely shooting paved the way for the stunning turnaround.

Ada improved to 1-1 with the big win, while C-R dropped to 0-3 after the defeat.

“We switched to a man defense in the second quarter, and they really struggled when their other girls besides McVetta had the ball,” said second-year Ada head coach Zach Ricker. 

“We got the momentum as we became more active on defense,” he noted.

Senior point guard Olivia Burkhart played a fine floor game and scored 17 points to pace Ada to victory. She hit some key baskets, played strong defense and passed well.

Senior Mariah King made three steals and scored 10 big points while playing aggressive defense. Sophomore post Anna Conley added eight points.

All the Ada players contributed greatly to the win as they played tough defense, inspired by a loud crowd. The Bulldogs turned several steals into key transition baskets, especially in the third period as they built the lead to as many as 16 at 42-26.

After increasing their lead to 17 in the final period, Ada held off a furious 15-4 Hornet flurry to post the win.

C-R jumped to a 20-8 lead after the first period as Chelci McVetta scored 10 points against the Ada zone defense. Burkhart canned three field goals to keep the Bulldogs in striking distance.

Two Conley foul shots and one by Burkhart ignited the Ada second period run after being down 22-10. The defense tightened up, and then freshman Kenley Poling swished two big right baseline jumpers to jump-start the rally.

Poling drained a 15-footer, then splashed a 17-footer on the next possession to pull Ada within 22-17. Burkhart then swished a left wing trifecta six seconds before intermission to cap the 8-0 spurt and bring the raucous crowd to its feet.

The stingy Ada defense held C-R scoreless over the last 6:30 as they gave up just two points in the second period. 

“The momentum turned right there before the half when Kenly made those two shots and Liv hit a three,” Ricker pointed out.

McVetta sank two foul shots a minute into the second half before Ada turned it on. Conley made a seven-footer, followed by a pull-up 10-footer by Burkhart that tied it 24-24.

King then banked in a left-side drive and completed a three-point play to give Ada the lead for good, its first edge since it was 4-2.

Autumn Andreasen banked in an offensive rebound at the 3:57 mark. Lexi Poling then made a left-handed layup in transition to climax the 11-0 run and give Ada a 31-24 bulge with 3:30 left in the third period.

McVetta stopped the flurry with two more charity stripers, but a 13-foot lane runner by Lexi Poling bounced in to restore the margin to seven. Conley then canned a weak-side rebound putback at the 1:50 juncture. 

King then stole the ball and fed Lexi Poling for a fast break layup and a 38-26 lead.

Katie Sizemore sank a stickback inside with 25 ticks left in the period. Just 11 seconds later, the speedy King then ran out in transition and banked in a short shot after a jump stop to finish another 11-0 flurry.

“The offensive rebound baskets were huge,” Ricker agreed. 

The 16-point cushion gave Ada its biggest lead, and a C-R free throw made it 42-27 heading to the fourth quarter.  The Hornets mustered just one basket in the middle two quarters as the Bulldog defense had them on their heels. 

Cory went without a basket in the third period and made no field goals for almost 15 game minutes until a Hailey Sparks putback early in the fourth quarter..

Riding their defense and good shooting, the Bulldogs outscored the Hornets 30-5 from the final minutes of period two to the end of the third quarter.

Early in the fourth stanza, Ada built its biggest lead. Andreasen sank a short banker. Burkhart weaved through the C-R defense for a driving layup. Sizemore then drained a 10-footer to fashion a 48-31 lead.

The reeling Hornets answered by ripping off an 8-0 run to cut the lead to nine. But Burkhart then sank a key left baseline pull-up shot from 10 feet out to stem the rally with 3:15 left to play.

Cory inched within 50-42, yet King answered with another crucial driving layup down the left baseline to restore the lead to 10. 

A 4-0 spurt sliced the Ada lead to 52-46 with 25 seconds remaining. Cory then stole the ball and had a chance to inch within three. But a triple try from the top of the key missed, and Andreasen chased down the key rebound. 

She was fouled and made one of two shots at the 18.7 second mark. 

After another missed Hornet trey, Burkhart was fouled and split the pair with 6.5 ticks left to provide the final margin of victory.

The Poling girls combined for 10 critical points, while Andreasen netted five points, all in the second half. Sizemore added four markers and several rebounds and physical defense.

“We had foul trouble so we needed more balanced scoring,” said Ricker. “That was huge.”

Ada had good ball and player movement throughout the contest as they played with high energy, with every player involved in the offense.

“We forced a lot more turnovers and were much more active than we were against McComb,” he observed. Cory committed 18 costly turnovers, while Ada was guilty of 16 miscues.

C-R 5-10 senior Chelci McVetta led all players with 22 points, but no other Hornet scored more than seven. Morgan McVetta and Laine Kempf each netted seven markers.

The Bulldogs connected on 21 two-point goals, and made one triple.

Ada converted nine of 16 free throws (56 percent), while C-R canned 15 of 22 charity stripers (68 percent). The Hornets sank 11 two-point goals and connected on three trifectas.

Ada also won the two-quarter reserve contest, 16-15. Sophomore Ashley Hevlin led the Bulldogs with eight points.


Ada 54 (1-1)

Burkhart 7 2-4 17, King 4 2-5 10, L. Poling 3 0-0 6, K. Poling 2 0-0 4, Sizemore 2 0-0 4, A. Andreasen 2 1-2 5, Conley 2 4-5 8.

Totals: 21-1/9-16/54. 3-pointers: Burkhart 1.


C-R 46 (0-3)

Price 1 3-6 5, Kempf 2 3-4 7, C. McVetta 7 6-8 22, M. McVetta 2 2-2 7, Keuneke 1 0-0 2, Sparks 1 1-2 3. Totals: 11-3/15-22/46. 3-pointers:  C. McVetta 2, M. McVetta 1, 

1 2 3 4 F

Ada 8 12 22 12 54

C-R 20 2 5 19 46

2-quarter JV:  Ada 16, C-R 15.


Ada (1-0 home) entertains local arch-rival USV (1-1) Thursday, Nov. 30 in a varsity-only contest at 6 p.m. The Rams have beaten Vanlue and lost to Ben Logan.