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Bulldog boys basketball fall to muscular Musketeers

By Cort Reynolds

ADA__The Ada High School boys basketball team hung close most of the way, but eventually lost 73-56 to a more experienced, stronger Fort Jennings squad Saturday night.

The Bulldogs managed to hang within 61-52 midway through the fourth period, but FJ closed on a 12-4 run to win by a deceptively wide margin of 17.

    1   2   3   4   F
ADA   10   18   14  14   56
FT J   19   15   17   22   73


Ada trailed 19-10 after the first period, yet scrapped back within 34-28 at intermission. The Bulldogs cut their deficit to three points twice early in the third stanza, but fell behind by nine heading to the final stanza.

Ada fell to 0-2 after the defeat, while FJ improved to 1-1 with the win.

“The tougher, more physical and older team won,” said Bulldog third-year head coach Vince Halliday. “We couldn’t make free throws the first half (0-7), and turned the ball over too much.

“I felt like the 50-50 balls were 85-15 their way,” he added. “Our energy was good but they are an older, stronger and more muscular team.”

The Musketeers raced to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes and never trailed, but Ada clawed its way within 12-8 after a timeout. 

FJ spurted in front 19-8, yet a driving layup by sophomore Kayleb Hickman pulled the hosts within nine after the opening eight minutes of play.

Hickman sank a follow shot off an inside scrum, then nailed a triple to keep the Bulldogs close at 23-15. He then tossed a line-drive 28-foot alley-oop pass that missed its intended receiver and went in the hoop for an unexpected trey.

Freshman guard Carson Conley hit a basket to inch Ada within 24-20. FJ junior ace Jarron Swick powered in a double-pump banker, but Bulldog freshman playmaker Kolton Dysert netted a driving southpaw layin to make it 26-22.

A half-hook in the lane by Conley sliced the deficit to two with five minutes left in the half.

A steal and southpaw layup by Dysert pulled the hosts within 27-26. Another driving Dysert shot kept Ada within a point, but they could never grab the lead.

FJ netted the last five points of the second period to take a 34-28 lead to intermission.

Ada sophomore wing Zack Zimmerman drained a triple to open the second half and halve the Musketeer lead to three. A Conley left-handed shot made it 36-33 at the 7:22 mark. A 6-0 FJ spurt was answered by a Zimmerman free throw and his left side trifecta with five minutes left in the third period.

After a Musketeer trey, Zimmerman nailed a 14-footer to make it 45-39.

FJ sophomore guard Calvin Menke then scored six straight points to offset an Ian House lefty layin off a pokeaway steal by Levi Green.

Menke hit two foul shots to open the fourth period and make it eight points in a row. Dysert sank a right side floater with 6:40 remaining, but the powerful 6-1 Swick responded by converting a pretty, spin-drive layin.

Menke canned a drive at the six-minute juncture. Conley hit two foul shots, and Hickman converted a driving bank shot three-point play to edge within 57-49.

FJ spurted ahead by 12 after making two mid-range baskets with 4:25 left. 

Ada sophomore post Slade Gossman hit two free tosses and Zimmerman slit a pair to stay in striking distance, down 61-52 with 3:42 left to play. 

Musketeer post Adam Hoersten then canned consecutive right side 10-footers to rebuild the lead to 13 at the 2:40 mark.

Swick then followed in his own miss with two minutes left. Dysert converted two foul shots, and Conley made a spinning bank shot. 

FJ then threw deep over the Ada press and Menke tallied a breakaway layin. Hoersten added a bunny to close the scoring. 

“We didn’t value the ball enough,” said Halliday. “Their press-breaker offense hurt us, they were very decisive and quick with the ball and their passes.”

Swick and Menke each tallied 19 points to pace the victors. “We knew their top two were good, but we held Calvelage to just four points,” said Halliday.

Musketeers Hoersten, Bryce Gasser and Sam Dube each contributed eight points.

Hickman led Ada with a career-high 14 points. Zimmerman tallied a dozen markers, and Conley added 10.

Inaccuracy at the free throw line hurt the Bulldogs.

Ada converted just 10 of 24 at the charity stripe (42 percent). The Bulldogs canned 17 two-point goals and hit four triples. 

FJ sank 22 two-pointers and also nailed four treys. The Musketeers made 17 of 23 from the free throw stripe (74 percent).

Ada won the JV game 28-21 to improve to 2-0. Freshman Blake Zoladz scored a team-high nine points on three triples.

Ada 10 18 14 14 56

FtJ 19 15 17 22 73

JV: Ada 28, FJ 21.

Ada 56 (0-2)

Zimmerman 4 2-4 12, Hickman 5 2-3 14, Conley 4 2-4 10, Dysert 5 2-2 12, Green 0, Blankenship 0, Gossard 1 0-2 2, Lawrence 0, House 1 0-0 2, Gossman 1 2-7 4. 

Totals: 17-4/10-24/56. 3-pointers: Zimmerman 2, Hickman 2.

FJ 73 (1-1)

Calvelage 1 2-4 4, Menke 6 7-8 19, Dube 3 0-0 8, Gasser 4 0-0 8, Swick 6 7-9 19, Hoersten 4 0-0 8, Howbert 2 1-2 7.

Totals: 22-4/17-23/73. 3-pointers: Howbert 2, Dube 2.

Ada plays at future BVC foe McComb (0-0) in the Panther season opener Saturday, December 9.