Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ada News
The Ada girls offense has never looked better.
Aaliyah Blakley erupted for a game-high 31 points and the Lady Cougars hit eight 3-pointers in soaring past a bewildered Star Spencer club 77-47 Thursday night in a Class 4A Regional Tournament game inside the friendly confines of the Cougar Activity Center.
The 17th-ranked Lady Cougars improved to 18-7 and were scheduled to battle No. 8 Harrah for a regional championship Saturday night in Newcastle. Star Spencer dipped to 14-10.
“Maybe we can keep this going,” first-year Ada coach Christie Jennings said when asked about an Ada offense that shot 59.2 percent from the field and buried 8-of-16 3-point shots. “It was a bunch of points ... but I still feel like we had to battle for everything.”
Sorry, coach, the battle was over early.
Star Spencer kept pace for nearly a quarter, but hot-shooting Ada never let up. After Meneé Thomsen was knocked to the floor on a last-second 3-point attempt at the end of the first period, she drained all three free throws to put the Lady Cougars on top 23-15.
Thomsen then banked in a 3-pointer to open the second quarter to give her team its first double-digit lead at 26-15.
Shaytoya Bryson tried to keep the game in reach when she hit one of her four 3-pointers, but Ada followed with a 9-0 run that essentially put the game away.
Sami Jewett started that spurt with a nice baseline drive before she and Kyndel Carter hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Jewett then hit a free throw at the 3:28 mark that put Ada on top 35-18. The Lady Cougars sank five of their first eight 3-pointers.
The Lady Bobcats got within 11 late in the second period, but Blakley scored on back-to-back trips down the court just before halftime — the second basket after a nice drive and pass from Jewett — to put the Lady Cougars ahead 42-27 at the break.
Blakley scored seven straight points during one stretch in the third quarter, capped by her conventional three-point play at the 4:10 mark that boosted the Ada advantage to 52-32.
Ada would put an exclamation point on the big victory by closing out the game with a 13-3 run.
“I’m just so proud of the kids. They just rose up to the occasion. Star Spencer was better than I anticipated or I even told them they were going to be. They didn’t get rattled and kept their focus,” Jennings said. “I just couldn’t be any happier.”
Blakley would hit 14-of-19 field goals in the game and add nine rebounds to her big night. Jewett chimed in with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Thomsen finished with 11 points and hit all five of her free shots. Ada owned a huge 39-22 rebounding edge.
Bryson scored 23 points to pace Star Spencer.