|02/20/18 - |
The 19th-ranked Ada Cougars got in early foul trouble, had to play a freshman who hadn’t played a minute of varsity basketball before, were without the services of two reserve post players and committed 22 turnovers in their matchup with Blanchard during a Class 4A District championship game Friday night inside the Cougar Activity Center.
Ada still won, 44-35.
“It certainly wasn’t pretty. We didn’t take care of the ball. We didn’t execute offensively or defensively,” said Ada head coach Garland Parks. “It was a struggle for us all around, yet the kids hung tough and made some plays when it counted late in the game, and we were able to come out with a win.”
It was the turnovers that seemed to bother Parks the most.
“We were being really careless with the basketball, which we can’t do at this time of the year,” he said.
Trey Havens hit a 3-pointer to end the first quarter, and Kobe Burgess sank two free throws to begin the second period to give Ada an early 11-6 lead. That was the biggest lead in the first half.
After being fouled on a 3-point attempt, Jake Shannon hit 2-of-3 free throws late in the second quarter to give the Cougars an 18-14 halftime lead.
Ada grabbed a 26-20 lead when Jaxson Robinson scored on an inbounds pass at the 2:58 mark of the third period, but Blanchard had closed to within 26-23 heading to the fourth period.
Following a technical foul called on Burgess, Blanchard’s Jack Kiker hit 3-of-4 free shots to get the Lions within 33-30 with 2:17 left in the game.
The Cougars finally put the game away with a late 9-2 run. Tanner Gilliam sank three free throws during that stretch. Shannon scored the final four Ada points of the spurt on two free throws and a layup off a picture-perfect pass from Burgess.
Shannon finished with six points off the bench.
“We knew without a couple of kids, there would be some guys who would have to contribute if we were going to be successful. They came in and did what they needed to do,” Parks said.
Robinson finished with 13 points and hit three 3-point baskets and also had seven rebounds. Burgess added 10 points, five rebounds, five steals and six assists.
Sam Godwin pulled down a team-high eight rebounds for Ada.
Blanchard got 12 points from Burke Bailey, including a pair of 3-pointers, while LJ McDonough added 10 points and five rebounds.
Freshman Hayden Sparks made his varsity debut for the Cougars, wearing No. 25.
“He’s a kid that we brought up. We hope he can help us defend the post,” Parks said. “He’s a big strong kid that can help us inside.”
Ada advances to a Class 4A Regional Tournament winners-bracket battle with No. 20 Cache at 8 p.m. Thursday in Blanchard.