|01/30/20 - |
With the game tied and eight seconds left on the clock, Ada junior Landyn Owens knew exactly what she had to do.
Owens took the inbounds pass and sank a Kobe Bryantesque step-back, fadeaway shot over a McAlester defender to give the Ada Lady Cougars a thrilling 42-40 win over the archrival Lady Buffaloes Tuesday night inside the Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
Ada, ranked No. 15 in Class 4A, improved to 14-4 on the year, while McAlester — No. 10 in Class 5A — fell to 9-8.
Ada head coach Christie Jennings — a huge fan of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning — had worked with Owens on the patented shot he made famous the night before.
Jennings never dreamed she’d use it so quickly and in such a huge moment.
“The whole thing was crazy. We had worked on it, and I told her we were going to continue to put this in your game after we get out of season. It’s just something I want to add,” Jennings said. “I told her it probably wasn’t something you were ready to use right now, but that she was the type of player that could use that shot. It was great to see a kid that wanted to put some extra time in, and it paid off.”
Owens felt comfortable and confident enough to attempt the shot to try and win the game against Ada’s old rivals on their own home court.
“While we were in the huddle, she looked at me and said, ‘Get the ball and go score.’ After that, I knew exactly what I would do. I decided to pull out that move,” Owens recalled.
“She taught me a fadeaway inspired by Kobe Bryant,” she continued. “I wasted no time and drove down the right side, backed (her defender) down a little and pulled up with a little fadeaway. Everything went by really fast so the next thing I knew, I was surrounded by coach Jennings and my teammates.”
Jennings said she just wanted Owens to get a chance to beat her defender and try to score on that final play.
“We tried to set it up where she could go one on one. She just attacked the right side and hit that pull-up fadeaway. It was crazy. It was just a really special moment,” Jennings said.
For the play to happen after a time out with eight seconds left — Bryant wore No. 8 — and for Owens to nearly score 24 points was surreal. Owens finished with a game-high 22 points and had missed a pair of free throws — which would have made the night even more uncanny.
“I don’t think she realized that yet. And she never misses free throws. But she made two big ones when we needed them, though,” Jennings said. “It was such a cool moment.”
The Lady Buffaloes had made a comeback to tie the game at 40-40. Ada led 23-18 at halftime and 34-26 after three quarters. But McAlester outscored the visitors 14-6 to open the final frame and knot the score.
“McAlester’s good. I don’t think people realize how good they are. Defensively, that’s probably the best team we’ve played,” Jennings said. “The game was super physical. We felt fortunate to come out on top. I was proud of our team.”
Owens sank three 3-point shots in the contest. Tatum Havens scored 13 points for Ada, including two 3-pointers.
Mackenzie Atherton led McAlester with 14 points, while Stevie Stinchcomb and Brenae Rhone added seven points apiece.
Jennings said she and her coaching staff have been passing along Kobe-isms to her team all week.
“We’ve been really using all of this to teach our kids different lessons that are Kobe-inspired, and they’ve been really locked in on it,” she said.