McGUFFEY — With Ada and Upper Scioto Valley were locked in a tight game boys basketball game Saturday night, it was the Rams’ top players that stepped up and made plays when they needed to.
Making seven of eight free throws, the Rams outscored Ada 7-2 in the final minute of the game to hold on for a 60-55 win over their neighborhood rivals.
USV, which was led by Woody Prater’s 16 points, improves to 7-1 on the season. Dylan Hunsicker added 15 points and Lane Hurley, who made all four of his free throws in the final minute, added 11 points.
“The first half I was a little concerned about the effort; I didn’t feel like the effort was there,” USV coach Jeff Kloepfer said. “This is a big rivalry for us and in the first half I felt like they took the challenge and we didn’t. … In the second half at times we did well. We almost stretched it to 10 there and then we made a couple of real costly mistakes that got them right back in the game. We made free throws down the stretch, that was a positive thing.”
The Bulldogs (1-5) were paced by Blake Willeke’s 19 points. Brayden Sautter, Levi Bass and Austin Dumbaugh added nine points each.
Ada coach Chris Sautter said just giving a solid effort is not enough for the Bulldogs
“Until everybody shows up and plays well on the same night, we’re going to keep giving great effort, we’re going to keep being in games, we’re going to keep being close, but we’re going to keep losing,” the Ada coach said. “We’ve seen improvement, but we’re not seeing improvement from everybody on the same night. You can’t take games off, you can’t take possessions off and expect to win.”
With the score tied 27-27 at halftime, the Rams went to their strength in the paint to gain the upperhand in the third quarter.
Prater tallied eight of the Rams’ first 11 points in the third quarter including a bucket midway through the stanza that gave USV a 38-31 lead.
Kloepfer said that while wanting to get the ball in the paint, he wasn’t expecting Prater, who also had the first two USV baskets of the fourth quarter, to light up the scoreboard as much as he did in the second half.
“We wanted to go inside, but not so much to Woody,” Kloepfer said. “With Lane and Dylan we always feel like if they have an advantage in the post we want to get them in the post. That was something we talked about at halftime. They were denying the ball to Lane all over the court, so let’s try and get him in the post and see if we can get him the ball. … That’s what we did, but Woody just came in and kind of surprised us with how he was able to score there to start the second half. That really helped us.”
“They put four guys on the court that can shoot in (Austin) Howard, Hurley, Hunsicker and (Braden) Rostorfer,” Sautter said. “About the time you leave one of them to help out inside they hit a 3. So your one (in the post) just has to be better than their one and there for a stretch at the start of the third quarter he (Prater) was just better.”
Ada rallied to pull within 38-36 on a triple by Ansley and a post basket by Spencer Archer. However, a scoop layup for two by Hurley and another basket by Hunsicker gave the Rams a 42-36 lead entering the fourth quarter.
After a pair of free throws by Willeke with just under six minutes left got Ada within 46-45, the Rams appeared to be on the verge of pulling away for good. They went on a 7-0 run, forcing the Bulldogs into three straight turnovers, and taking a 53-45 lead on a Hunsicker basket.
Ada wasn’t finished though. With Prater on the USV bench with four fouls, the Bulldogs forced a pair of Ram miscues in an 8-0 run, tying the game at 53-53 on a pair of free throws by Willeke with a minute left. Willeke scored six points during the stretch.
The USV coach said the Rams missed having Prater on the floor at that point in the game.
“When you talk about our effort, if he (Prater) is in foul trouble and not on the floor it really hurts us,” Kloepfer said. “He just plays with so much energy – offensively, defensively – I don’t care what it is, he’s going to go all out. He sets the tone for a lot of the guys.”
Hurley was able to make a pair of free throws to put USV back on top on the next trip up the floor. And after a jump ball gave the ball back to USV, Hunsicker drained a pair of free throws to put the Rams ahead by four.
Sautter scored on a drive to the bucket with 10 seconds left to make it 57-55, but Hurley was able to sink two more free throws to put the game out of reach.
Kloepfer was pleased with was how the Rams handled adversity.
“I’m happy with he way we responded and happy with the outcome, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Kloepfer said. “I think as long as we continue to listen and work, hopefully we can be a good team in the end.”
Ada had 12 turnovers in the game, while USV had seven miscues.
USV won the junior varsity game 47-44. Stephens and Cornell had 13 points each for the Rams and Blake Ansley had 11 for the Bulldogs.
Ada travels to Wapakoneta on Tuesday, while USV takes to the road for a game against Ottoville on Friday.
Sautter 4 0 9, Willeke 4 9 19, McBride 1 3 5, Bass 4 1 9, Dumbaugh 3 1 9, Archer 1 2 4. Totals 17 16 55. 3-point goals: Sautter, Willeke 2, Dumbaugh 2.
Upper Scioto Valley (60)
Rostorfer 3 0 7, A. Howard 3 1 9, Hurley 3 5 11, Hunsicker 5 4 15, Prater 7 2 16, H. Howard 1 0 2. Totals 22 12 60. 3-point goals: Rostorfer, A. Howard 2, Hunsicker.
Score by quarters
Ada 15 12 9 19 — 55
USV 13 14 15 18 — 60
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
Times staff writer