Ada — The Class 4A fifth-ranked Lady Cougars opened the playoffs with a resounding win at home Saturday night inside the Cougar Activity Center. Ada used a pressure defense, 50 percent shooting from 3-point land and a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe in downing McLoud 59-36 to claim the district championship.
Ada head coach Christie Jennings had been talking free throws and defense to her squad all week at practice.
“I challenged the team heading into the playoffs this week about their free throws and how important they will be down the stretch. We didn’t miss a free throw tonight with our top six players,” said Jennings. “Our defense was very good again tonight. We just held a pretty good 3-point-shooting team to 36 points. Defensively, we mixed it up. We gave them a lot of different sets, and we had success in all of the sets.”
The Lady Cougars only led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter, but they went on a 22-7 run in the second behind 6-of-7 shooting from the field and forced the Lady Redskins into five turnovers during the volley. Olivia Wells, who led all scorers with 18, had eight points and two rebounds in the quarter.
Ada took a 32-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, McLoud would cut the lead to 13, but that was as close as the Lady Redskins would get. Ada outscored McLoud 27-23 in the second half, while Jennings got some valuable playoff experience for her bench.
“McLoud runs a strange defense, and we really handled their pressure all night long,” said Jennings. “When we turned it over tonight, it was because of us trying to press or getting in a hurry. In the end, we won the turnover battle.”
Aaliyah Blakley and Meneé Thomsen also posted double figures with 16 and 13 respectively. Thomsen finished 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, had the only block of the game and had two assists and one rebound.