Jets oust Bluffton in ACAC first round
In the record books, it shows that Adams Central junior Alyssa Keller hit one three-point shot in Wednesday night's opening round of Allen County Athletic Conference tournament play against Bluffton, but it was the shot of her life and undoubtedly one of the most spectacular shots to ever come down in the Adams Central gym.
With 1.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Keller heaved the basketball three-quarter length at the basket. It hit the front of the rim and then exploded the net and the pandemonium of the crowd with awe. In addition to its spectacular nature, the shot lifted the Flying Jets into a 35-33 lead that would become a key factor when regulation play ended 48-48.
In the end, AC outscored the Tigers 9-4 in overtime play to allow the Jets to oust the Bluffton girls 57-53 in the second game of Wednesday's exciting tournament.
The first game was no less exciting as the Jets held on to a narrow lead most of the contest to pull out a 59-54 win over the three-time defending tournament champions that sent them into the second round of tournament action.
With Adams Central barely hanging on to a 32-31 advantage at the end of the first half of the boysâ€™ game, Bluffton quickly jumped into a 36-32 advantage on a 3-point shot by Jordan Leising and a quick bucket by Chandler Okey. The Jets' Nathan Busse retaliated with a trey; then a rebound by Keaton Fiechter put the Jets back on top 37-36. Another basket by Busse and a trey by Kyle Fawcett extended the lead to 42-36.
Midway through the fourth quarter, four successive points by Bluffton's Michael Vanderkolk tied the game at 51-51 but a three-point score by the Jets' Dalton Combs put AC on top to stay, 54-51.
Fawcett led the Adams Central scoring with 15 points while Busse added 14 points to the AC cause.
"I thought we made big plays when we needed to," commented Adams Central head coach Aaron McClure.
McClure referred to a three-point tally by Isaac Luginbill near the end of the third quarter that put AC on top, 45-42, as an example of the big plays carried out by his players.
"Dalton Combs had a big three that was important to us. The guys did a good job hitting free throws down the stretch. That was extremely important to us," commented McClure.
"I thought that our defense played much better the second half," continued McClure. "We played harder and a little smarter. We did a good job limiting their second shots on the boards."
McClure liked the way his players snatched the lead right back at the beginning of the third quarter when Bluffton temporarily gained superiority on the scoreboard.
"We did a nice job of getting back in front right away," said McClure. "I feel a lot better sitting on a four-point lead like we held most of the second half. You can play with more breathing room under those circumstances."
The Bluffton boysâ€™ squad had four players in double figures including Cameron Gerber with 10 points, Okey with 13 points, Keith Cochran with 12 points and Vanderkolk with 10 points.
In girlsâ€™ action, Adams Central nudged into a 10-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Bluffton passed the Jets to lead by a count of 25-20 at the end of the half.
In the overtime, Bluffton drew first blood on a basket by Kara Fiechter, but Adams Central's Janae Blackburn tied the game for AC. Then, Madison Carroll connected on a three-point shot to put the Jets on top to stay, 53-50.
Carroll finished the game with 13 points for the Jets while Blackburn tallied 19 points, including three treys.
Gina Eisenhut led Bluffton and all players in girls' action with 21 points.
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