- Ada, Oklahoma

January 13, 2014

Ada advances to finals of 2014 East Central Oklahoma Classic

Tom Bolitho, special corresponde

Ada —    Behind 27 points from junior star Cory Kilby, the Ada Cougars nipped the Durant Lions 49-48 in Friday night’s semifinal game of the East Central Oklahoma Classic.

   With the win, the Cougars (No. 8 in Class 4A) qualified for ECOC’s Saturday night final against Class 6A power Sapulpa.

   The 6-7 Kilby played his finest all-around game of the year Friday. He was creative and athletic on the offensive end, hitting a wide variety of shots, including three thunderous dunks. On defense, he combined with 6-7 senior post David Forbes to block and alter Lion shots, particularly in the second half.

   The maturing Forbes had another solid game, chipping in 10 points, seven rebounds and several blocks.

   Kilby and Forbes had to contend with 6-9 Lion senior post James Donelan. Donelan had some success on both ends of the floor, but Kilby and Forbes bottled him up enough to propel the win.

   Cougar junior guard Jamal Henderson ran the offense with precision. Henderson seemed to always find the right pass and ended the evening with eight assists to go with six points. His driving, double-clutch layup in traffic near the end of the third quarter was a big turning point for Ada.

   Senior shooting guard Walker Whitworth had six points, three rebounds and two assists. It was obvious Durant had come out with a mindset to stop the sharpshooting Whitworth, so the senior doubled down on defense and forced numerous Lion turnovers.

   The score was tied 24-24 at halftime. Ada (6-1) led 43-38 at the end of the third on the power of two Kilby dunks and a baseline jumper and Henderson’s eye-popping drive bucket.

   But Durant (5-5), greatly improved over last year, rode the efforts of its great young guard tandem of Skye Lowe and Tyler Cox. Lowe, a 5-7 sophomore, is cat quick and a slashing lane driver. He led the Lions with 18 points. Cox, a 5-10 freshman, is a savvy ball-handler with an excellent outside shot.

   And Donelan became more active in the final quarter, scoring two buckets and blocking three shots.

   At the 1:50 mark of the game, Henderson tossed an alley-oop pass to Kilby, who executed perfectly and the Cougars led 49-46. But Lowe immediately answered with a drive and floating underhand shot that kissed the glass lightly and went in.

   Ada turned the ball over at the 1:10 mark, and Durant held the ball until calling a timeout with :22 remaining in the game to set up a play. Cox fed the ball in to Donelan, who tried to get past Forbes on the baseline. It appeared Donelan would make an easy layup, but Forbes managed to reach over the big center and get a touch on the shot, which banged off the board and was scooped up by Kilby with just :03 left. Ada ran out the clock for the win.

   “I am so tickled for these guys,” Cougar coach Ron Anderson said. “I can’t remember the last time Ada was in the finals of this tournament. It’s a tough road, and these guys have earned a spot in the finals. They absolutely deserve it.”