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Turnovers Hurt Cougars In Loss
01/10/20 -

The Ada boys basketball team couldn’t overcome some first-half sloppiness in a 43-38 setback to Shawnee Friday night inside the Cougar Activity Center.

The Cougars, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, fell to 4-3 on the year, while Class 5A No. 4 Shawnee improved to 5-1.

Ada committed 13 of its 17 turnovers in the first half and trailed 22-14 at halftime. Eight of those turnovers came in the second period, when the Cougars scored just two points on a putback by Jake Shannon with just under six minutes to play in the frame. Ada was just 1-of-5 from the field during that ugly stretch, which proved pivotal in the game.

“We struggled, especially early, against their pressure. I thought we did a better job in the second half of settling down a little bit. We kind of let the game get away from us in the first half,” said Ada boys coach Garland Parks. “We knew it would be a hard-fought game like that. Again, they are a really good team. A game like this shows us where we are and where we need to get to.”

Ada pulled within 25-23 when playmaker Jaxson Robinson scored on a nice drive to the basket with just over five minutes left in the third period. Kaden Cooper scored on a nice move in the paint of his own to get the home team within 28-25 with 17 seconds left in the period.

Ada received a 3-point basket from Trey Havens — his only field goal attempt of the game —  with 3:45 to play that cut the SHS lead to 32-31. However, the Cougars could never get over the hump.

KaVeon Sharp hit 3-of-4 free throws to push the Shawnee lead to 35-31, and two free shots from Karran Evans made it 37-33.

Evans then rebounded a missed free-throw attempt by Isaiah Willis and scored on the putback with 1:14 left to stretch the Shawnee lead to 40-33 and put the game out of reach.

A 3-pointer by Robinson off a nice cross-court pass from Cooper shrank the Ada deficit to 40-38 with 31 seconds left, but the Cougars didn’t score again.

Robinson led all scorers with 19 points, including a 5-of-8 performance from 3-point territory. No other Ada player reached double figures.

Jake Shannon scored seven points and had six rebounds, while Cooper ended with six points and five boards.

Minus Robinson, the rest of the Cougars shot a combined 6-of-19 (31.6%) from the field.

Parks believes more of those shots will start to fall as the season continues.

“We need guys to make shots. I feel like we’re getting open shots, we’re just not making them,” he said. “Other teams are going to key on Jaxson and we’ll be open in other places. We just have to make those shots.”

Freshman Wyatt Brown came off the bench and had his most playing time of the season for Ada. He didn’t score (he didn’t shoot) but had a team-high seven rebounds and a steal.

“The expectation all year was for him to really play a lot. Being a freshman, he’s struggled to adjust to the speed of the game and our offensive and defensive concepts,” Parks explained. “But he’s catching on, and I thought he did a really good job tonight, particularly with things that don’t necessarily show up on the scoreboard — hustle plays, rebounds, tough defense. I knew he had that potential, but sometimes it takes young players a while to get comfortable.”

Shawnee got a team-best 13 points from Tanner Morris and 10 points, four rebounds and three steals from Sharp.

Ada will look to bounce back during the rugged boys bracket at the 2020 East Central Oklahoma Classic, which tips off Thursday inside the Cougar Activity Center. The Cougars take on Class 5A No. 19 Lawton Eisenhower at 8:30 p.m. in a first-round game.

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