Once the Ada girls got a bit of separation from a scrappy Tuttle squad, the Lady Cougars made sure they would stay on top from the free-throw line.
Ada finished a perfect 19-of-19 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and kept the Lady Tigers at arm’s length in a 64-58 victory Thursday afternoon at the Class A Area Tournament held inside the Chickasha Activity Center.
Ada improved to 19-8 on the year and was scheduled to meet the Newcastle-Elgin winner today at 1:30 p.m. back in Chickasha. Tuttle is done at 14-12.
The Lady Cougars trailed 23-21 at halftime and were probably fortunate to be that close after committing a whopping 15 turnovers throughout the first two quarters and having playmaker Sami Jewett pick up her third foul at the 5:46 mark of the second period.
“We were really, really nervous — some more than others,” Ada head coach Christie Jennings said of her team’s slow start. They got us in foul trouble, we turned the ball over and took stupid shots.”
Tuttle built its biggest lead of the game after a 3-pointer by Peyton Garrett put the Lady Tigers on top 30-25 at the 4:27 mark of the third period.
Ada then went on a game-changing 16-4 surge to end the quarter and led 41-34 heading into the final eight minutes.
After the Lady Tigers had trimmed their deficit to 43-39, Haley Dean hit a pair of free throws, Aaliyah Blakley converted a three-point play and Kyndel Carter added two more free shots to push the Ada advantage back to double figures at 50-39.
And then the Lady Cougars would stop making free throws. Tuttle even hit two 3-pointers, made an old fashioned three-point play and hit three free shots after being fouled from behind the arc — all in the final 1:07 — but couldn’t make much progress in a comeback attempt thanks to Ada’s red-hot free throw shooting. After the 19 free throws in the fourth quarter, Ada finished the game 27-of-31 compared to 12-of-17 showing by Tuttle.
“We settled down a bit in the second half. That’s just what happens when you’re inexperience as far as getting to this point. But we’re getting a little more experience every game,” Jennings said. “It’s good to be shooting good from the free-throw line at this time of the year.”
Blakley scored 17 of her game-high 25 points in the big second half — including a pair of big 3-point shots during the closing minutes of the third quarter. She also had 10 rebounds.
Jewett, Dean, Carter and Olivia Wells all added eight points in the balanced Ada effort.
Alyssa Jones had 18 points and three steals for Tuttle while Garrett added 12 points.