COLUMBUS GROVE — Columbus Grove’s hard-nosed, aggressive defense led to a lot of trips to the free throw line for Ada.
It also led to a lot of missed shots and turnovers.
The latter is what helped Columbus Grove push past Ada 57-34 in Friday night’s Northwest Conference showdown at Columbus Grove. Grove raised its record to 13-6 overall, 5-2 in the NWC.
“When were on the same page, we created a lot of problems for them,” Columbus Grove coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “When we fouled, we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing with our rotation and covering the weak side. We were changing defenses, switching up the way we trap and trying to give them a couple of different looks.”
Columbus Grove was off to a hot start early when sophomore Jace Darbyshire drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the middle of the first quarter to give his team a 10-2 lead. From there, Grove used its big men to create consistent scoring opportunities inside the paint. Will Vorhees, Derek Rieman and Brady Shafer were all key presences underneath the basket throughout the contest.
Vorhees led all scorers on the evening with 15 points, while Darbyshire finished with 14 points and Rieman finished with 13 points. Shafer had nine points.
But it was on the defensive side of the ball where Columbus Grove shined. It forced 11 turnovers in the first half and didn’t allow Ada to make a shot from the field for the first 9:10 of the game. All of Ada’s seven first-quarter points came from the charity stripe.
It didn’t get much better for Ada. Down 29-16 at halftime, Ada did enjoy a solid third quarter, in which it did not turn the ball over, and ended up outscoring Grove by one to enter the fourth down 41-29. That’s as close as it would get, however, as Columbus Grove opened the fourth with an 8-0 run en route to a decisive victory.
“We told our kids we really wanted to extend that lead coming into the third,” Stechshulte said. “We were hoping to get out to a 20-point lead to get ourselves comfortable enough to give a few guys some rest. But they hung around a little bit, and it took until a couple of minutes into the fourth for us to get where we wanted it to be.”
Spencer Archer paced Ada’s offensive effort with 11 points. Mason Acheson scored eight, and Gabe Sutton had seven points.
“Once we got into some foul trouble, we had to go into a zone, which wasn’t how we wanted to play,” Ada coach Chris Sautter said. “We had it cut down to 10 in the third quarter. The kids battled and battled and then we turned the ball over three or four times to start the fourth quarter. It’s the same thing that’s gotten to us all year.”
Ada falls to 5-12 on the season and 1-6 in the NWC.