Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
Bethel Acres — In a game which appeared to be severely beaten by an ugly stick, it was a downright gruesome ending for the Class 4A 13th-ranked Ada Cougars on Wednesday.
Ada suffered its third straight hard-luck defeat as Tecumseh survived for a 48-45 double-overtime win in the boys’ championship game of the weather-delayed Global Productions Tournament at Bethel High School’s B.E. Cantrell Fieldhouse.
The tournament originally started in mid-December, but the final day of competition was postponed due to icy, wintry and hazardous traveling conditions.
Ada, which fell to 6-4 with the loss, built a five-point lead (39-34) with 26 seconds to go in the first overtime, but saw Tecumseh pick up its first bucket of the period, 10 seconds later. The Cougars misfired on two free shots with 14 seconds left and the Savages’ Tanner Pitchford knocked down a 3-point jumper with five seconds remaining to force another extra period.
“It was another disappointing loss. We’ve got to contend shots and we didn’t go out far enough (on Pitchford),” said Ada head coach Ron Anderson.
The Cougars had the opportunity for the tie at the end of the second OT, but Tryce Prince’s 3-point try was off the mark as the horn sounded. Tecumseh came away with the victory, avenging two earlier losses to Ada. Anderson’s club whipped Tecumseh 63-39 in December and defeated the Savages 55-49 on Jan. 7.
It was a woeful shooting display by both teams as the Cougars hit just 29.2 percent of their tries while the Savages managed just 34.1. Ada, which hit just 2-of-11 three-point attempts, also committed 15 turnovers compared to Tecumseh’s nine. The Savages were 4-of-12 from long range.
The Cougars dominated the boards by a massive 44-25 margin and they proved to be critical in the third-quarter comeback and in the fourth as the Savages, routinely, were limited to one shot on each possession. Ada corralled 16 offensive boards on the night while the Savages totaled just six.Points were a premium for both squads as Ada had a 10-8 edge after one quarter, but was limited to a single bucket in the second as the Savages built a 20-12 advantage at the break. Thanks to a 14-6 run in the third, the Cougars drew even at 26, heading into the fourth.
The Savages were playing their sixth game in seven days.
“They did a good job of subbing and keeping their players fresh,” Anderson said. “We’ve been going six-deep and my seventh guy (Osahwv Frazier) came in and played well.”
Pat Fox paced Tecumseh with 15 points and earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Pitchford added 12 points and Rylan Pierce, the tournament’s most valuable player, finished with nine points and pulled down six rebounds.
The Ada loss overshadowed a double-double effort from Cory Kilby, who finished with 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Jamal Henderson followed with 15 points and David Forbes finished with eight points and snatched nine rebounds.
Kilby was named to the all-tournament team and was joined by teammate Walker Whitworth.
The second overtime was a see-saw affair before Tecumseh took the lead for good with 43 seconds remaining on a Pierce basket. A charging foul on the Cougars’ Jamal Henderson on the other end and subsequent fifth penalty, set the stage for two Fox free throws with 17.5 seconds to go, giving Tecumseh a 47-44 lead.
Then on the other end, Ada’s Jermaine Lawson connected on the second of two free shots with 13.5 shots. Even then, the Cougars still had a chance for the tie when Fox hit just the first of two shots to keep the game at one possession.
Ada forced overtime when Kilby sank a 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go off a spot-up pass from Henderson.
Prince collected eight rebounds to go with his three points, two assists and a steal for Ada. Whitworth ended up with four points, four boards and an assist in a losing cause.
The Cougars will try to get back on the winning track Saturday at McAlester.