Ada — If the Ada High girls basketball team had been playing baseball Monday night against Class 5A No. 1 Shawnee, a gut-wrenching 33-29 loss could have been blamed on the closer.
The Lady Cougars led 27-22 after Aaliyah Blakley banked home a 13-footer, was fouled and converted the three-point play at the halfway point of the fourth quarter. But during a crucial stretch in the final minutes, Ada turned the ball over on four straight possessions that helped the high-powered Lady Wolves rally for the victory and put a damper on Senior Night inside the Cougar Activity Center.
Shawnee stayed unbeaten at 21-0 on the year, while Ada (No. 5 in Class 4A) fell to 17-5.
“I hate to even make this statement because we were playing the No. 1 team in 5A, but I didn’t think we played very well at all in the fourth quarter,” said Ada head coach Christie Jennings. “That’s not taking anything away from them. They have a great basketball team, and they know how to finish games.”
Jennings said the loss was similar to a 47-41 setback to Shawnee in a Dec. 16 road game.
“It was almost a mirror image of what happened in Shawnee. We have to handle the basketball and learn to finish those situations,” she said.
Ada committed seven of its 19 turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“We just lost our heads late. Every one of us. We played really well defensively, and that kept us in the game,” she said.
Shawnee standout McKenzie Cooper followed Blakley’s three-point play with one of her own at the 3:35 mark that trimmed the Ada lead to 27-25.
Blakley followed with a putback after an offensive rebound just 11 seconds later. She again was fouled on the shot but missed the free throw, leaving Ada on top 29-25 with 3:24 left. The Lady Cougars wouldn’t score again.