Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
The Ada News
The Ada Cougars blew a 13-point lead by going scoreless from the field in the final 7:17 as the Tecumseh Savages rallied for a 64-59 victory Saturday night to win the Oklahoma Baptist University Invitational at the Noble Complex.
Tecumseh outscored Ada by a massive 21-5 margin in the fourth quarter to deal the Cougars their first loss of the season after winning their first two games of the season at OBU. Ada opened 2012-13 play on Thursday by routing Meeker, before bouncing Bethel in the semifinals on Friday.
“I take responsibility for this. I left our starters in the game too long,” said Ada head coach Ron Anderson, who played just six players the whole night.
It showed in the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, as the Cougars wilted by committing too many turnovers, forcing too many shots and suffering a bit on the backboards. Anderson opted to not go to the bench due to limited court time by several of his reserves, who played in the semifinals of the Class 4A state football playoffs just over a week ago.
“I think our bench can be more ready as this upcoming week goes on,” Anderson said.
When Cory Kilby scored off a Walker Whitworth feed early in the fourth quarter to give Ada the 13-point cushion, the Cougars failed to get another field goal the rest of the way while connecting on 3-of-4 free throws.
Trailing 58-45 after two free throws by Ada’s David Forbes, Tecumseh scored 13 unanswered points to tie the game. The Cougars then snatched their last lead at 59-58 with 1:12 to go when John Stout converted the second of two free shots.
But the Savages’ Alan Brewer scored on the other end, the Cougars turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and Colton Owen scored off a putback to make it 62-59 with 37 seconds to go. Yet another Ada turnover helped seal the deal for Tecumseh and Brewer canned two free throws with 21 seconds remaining.
The loss overshadowed two solid performances by Stout, a 6-1 senior, and 6-6 sophomore Cory Kilby. Stout, behind 8-of-12 shooting from the floor, finished with 22 points while Kilby fired in 21 points in going 9-of-16 from the floor.
“Cory had three outstanding games in the tournament. He had 20 and 24 points in the first two games,” said Anderson. “John played outstanding as well. Whenever we have a lead, we’ve got to do a better job of taking better care of the basketball. But I’m very, very proud of our effort. We left it all out the floor.”
Stout and Kilby were named to the Bison Invitational All-Tournament Team, it was announced after Saturday’s finals.
Brewer, behind four 3-pointers, tossed in a game-leading 23 points while Colton Owen followed with 16 points and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end.
Tecumseh owned a 28-21 advantage on the boards and totaled 11 off the offensive glass.
The Cougars led 40-26 late in the third quarter and built their largest advantage at 52-37 with 1:20 to go in the third. Two free throws trimmed the deficit to 40-28 to conclude the third period.
Ada had 13 turnovers compared to the Savages’ 11. Nine of those miscues came in the second half.
The Cougars play their first home game of the season on Tuesday against Madill and will then host Tecumseh in a rematch on Friday.