WASHINGTON — The 19th-ranked Ada High boys basketball team raced to a double-digit halftime lead and coasted past football rival Clinton 53-43 Thursday night at the Class 4A Area Tournament hosted by Washington High School.
It was a game that probably wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.
Ada improved to 19-7 on the year and had a Class A Area date with No. 17 Elk City Friday at Washington. Clinton saw its season come to an end at 15-13.
The Cougars held Clinton without a field goal in the first quarter in bolting to a 12-6 lead. The Red Tornadoes were 6-of-9 from the free-throw line in the opening frame.
Cody Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers and Jake Shannon added a triple of his own during an 18-13 AHS second-quarter surge to put the locals on top 30-19 at halftime.
Kobe Burgess hit a 3-pointer to open the third period and put Ada on top 33-19. His triple with 1:04 left in the period kept the Cougars on top by 13 at 38-25. Ada carried a 40-30 lead into the final frame.
The Cougars could have — and probably should have — built an even larger lead during the third period but went 0-for-8 from the field during one cool spell and most of those field goals came from inside the paint.
The Red Tornadoes made a run at Ada in the fourth quarter. Conor Wyer scored the first bucket of the period and after Gage Gaunt buried two free shots with 7:05 on the clock to get Clinton within 41-34.
The Red Tornadoes had a chance to make the game even tighter down the stretch, but missed five consecutive free throws before Tanner Gilliam scored on a putback at the 4:15 mark to break another Ada dry spell. Burgess then scored on a nifty drive to the basket to give Ada back its double-digit lead at 45-34.
“It was definitely a playoff atmosphere. Our guys had to keep their composure and finish the game,” Parks said. “They went on a run — and basketball is a game of runs — and we just had to weather that storm and keep playing and that’s what we did.”
Wyer — who finished with a game-high 20 points — scored again to get Clinton within nine and then things got a little chippy (or more chippy) on the other end of the court.
Burgess drove to the basket and was fouled by Wyer. The two talented players jawed with each other an both received technical fouls. It was the fifth foul on Burgess, who didn’t even get to shoot his free throws from the foul.
Jake Shannon entered the game and calmly sank the two free shots with 2:37 left and sank two more at the 1:33 mark that gave Ada a 49-36 and helped the Cougars secure the victory.
“Those were key coming straight off the bench cold and hitting those big free throws. That helped us seal that win,” Parks said.
Both teams missed their fair share of free throws. Clinton finished 18-of-25 from the line, while Ada went 15-of-24.
Burgess finished with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals to lead the Ada attack. Cody Smith added 11 points, while Gilliam had eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Jackson Robison and Shannon both had seven points for the Cougars, while Sam Godwin added six.
Attrel Bryson joined Wyer in double figures for Clinton with 12 points.