|02/01/18 - |
MCALESTER — I guess a 34-point beat down of archrival McAlester on its own home floor counts as a successful debut for Ada assistant boys basketball coach Kyle Caufield.
The Ada Cougars shot 57.8 percent from the field, and 57.1 percent from 3-point range, andout-rebounded McAlester 38-21 on the way to a convincing 65-31 win over the Buffaloes Tuesday night before the usual rowdy crowd inside Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
The Cougars, ranked No. 19 in Class 4A, improved to 13-6 on the year, while McAlester sank to 5-14.
Caufield, Ada’s longtime assistant coach, was in charge of the Ada boys while first-year head coach Garland Parks was at home, recovering from the flu. Caufield admitted he was a bit nervous before the game got tipped off.
“There’s always going to be jitters there — the excitement of the game, where we’re at. I’ve played in this rivalry myself. I just wanted the kids to play hard and put on a good show,” he said.
The Cougars particularly showed off in the second half, outscoring McAlester 36-12 over the final two quarters in the runaway victory.
Obviously, when shots are falling, it allows any coach to relax a bit. Caufield said he was proud of Ada’s offensive outburst.
“We did a really good job of executing our offensive sets ... and we hit shots and finished shots at the basket,” he said. “We took a lot of good shots. We’ve been stressing to the kids to be efficient on the offensive end, and I thought we did a good job of that today.”
Ada’s defense was sound, too. The Buffaloes hit just 10-of-43 field goals (23.3 percent) and were 3-of-18 from 3-point territory (16.7 percent).
“We did a great job on the defensive end of the floor, too,” Caufield said.
The first 14 minutes of the game looked like anything but an Ada blowout. In fact, McAlester started the game on a 12-6 run and surely amped up Caufield’s pregame jitter.
The Cougars answered with fast-break buckets by Tanner Gilliam and Cody Smith before Kylen Cooper scored inside on a nice feed from Kobe Burgess to knot the game at 12-12.
Jake Shannon buried back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter, and freshman Jaxson Robinson sank a pair of free throws at the 5:17 mark to cap a 14-0 Ada run that pushed the Cougars ahead 20-12.
McAlester closed within 22-19 on a 3-pointer by Jeff Wood with just under two minutes to go in the second quarter.
Robinson answered by burying two long 3-point shots, and Sam Godwin finished the second period with a free throw to extend Ada’s lead to 29-19 at halftime.
Fittingly in the rivalry game, Burgess and McAlester’s Jacob Amos both received technical fouls after a hard foul to Godwin sent him crashing to the floor late in the period.
Ada’s lead ballooned to 38-21 after a basket by Gilliam capped a 9-2 AHS burst to start the third quarter.
After Wood got free for a breakaway dunk for McAlester, Ada ended the third period on a 10-2 volley that put the Cougars ahead 48-25 heading into the fourth period.
Robinson paved the way for the Cougars with a game-high 18 points. He sank 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc and also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Cooper was again strong off the bench for Ada with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Burgess and Smith added eight points each, while Godwin chipped in seven points.
Wood scored 14 points for McAlester but finished just 6-of-17 from the field. Zach Lerblance added 12 points for the hosts.
It’s worthy of note that Caufield had to work much harder in the junior varsity game earlier in the night. Ada won that contest by one point in overtime. Sophmore Trey Havens hit nine 3-pointers and finished with 29 points to lead the Cougars in that slim victory.
“That got me all worked up for the varsity game,” Caufield said, only half joking.