|01/08/18 - |
In a game that was a little on the raggedy side, the Ada Lady Cougars made enough good plays on both ends of the court to hang on for a narrow 44-38 win over archrival McAlester Thursday night in the first round of the East Central Oklahoma Classic hosted by Ada High School.
The Lady Cougars evened their record at 4-4 on the year, while McAlester stumbled to 3-8. Ada met Class 4A No. 14 Newcastle in a semifinal matchup Friday night. Results of that contest were not available at press time.
It looked like Ada was going to roll to an easy victory over the Lady Buffaloes after Landyn Owens hit a pair of free throws with 5:47 left in the game that put the home team on top 38-23. That 15-point advantage nearly disappeared.
McAlester, helped by some of that aforementioned raggedy-ness, wouldn’t go away. The Lady Buffaloes put together an improbable 15-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Brenae Rhone that got the rivals within 40-38 with 46 seconds to play. Rhones scored all 12 of her points during that MHS run.
Kaley Watkins hit two big free throws with 18.8 seconds left to give Ada some breathing room, and Mikayla Emarthle sealed the deal with two more free shots with 5.6 on the clock.
Part of Ada’s near collapse was the result of a bevy of turnovers. Ada finished the game with 25.
Ada head coach Christie Jennings said part of her liked seeing the Lady Buffs push her team to the limit.
“That’s part of growing up for this group. They need to play in those type games,” she said. “It stresses me out, but they need to be in those situations. They need to find a way to win those types of games. Those are the kind of games that we’ve been getting beat on.”
Jennings blamed some of Ada’s late troubles on herself.
“I went (to a big lineup) for a little bit, thinking we would control the boards and just continue to put the game away. It kind of backfired on me because we gave up a lot off offensive rebounds in that stretch and gave them a chance to get back in it,” she said. “We had a good lead, but the next thing I knew it was a tight game. Hopefully, we grew up a little bit tonight.”
After a tight first quarter, Ada was in control of the contest through the two middle frames. The Lady Cougars opened the second period with an 11-1 barrage and led 21-13 at halftime.
Ada was still on top 31-21 after three quarters and extended that lead to 15 before the bottom almost fell out.
Freshman Landyn Owens had another big night for Ada, scoring 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting. She also made 5-of-7 free throws.
Watkins scored 11 points and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe, including the two clutch makes late in the game.
“She’s a kid that plays hard all the time. She hit two big free throws late,” Jennings said.
Emarthle roamed the paint to the tune of 10 points and eight rebounds.
Rhone’s dozen fourth-quarter points paced the McAlester offense.