The 16th-ranked Ada Cougars erased nearly all of a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit before No. 3 Harrah hung on for a tense 71-67 victory in a Class 4A showdown Friday night inside the Cougar Activity Center.
Ada fell to 10-7 on the season, while the Panthers improved to 16-2.
“I’m really proud of their effort. One neat thing is, we’re down (13) and could have folded, but they didn’t. They fought back,” said Ada head coach Ron Anderson. “They’re a very, very good team, and we knew that. That’s why they’ve only lost two games. They have all the tools. They have everything.”
After Braden Jennings scored on a fast break, the Panthers led 58-45 with just over five minutes to play in the game.
Ada’s Cory Kilby, who scorched the Harrah defense for a game-high 29 points, hit two 3-pointers and Jamal Henderson scored on a coast-to-coast drive that got the Cougars within 60-53 with 3:23 remaining.
With 1:27 left, Harrah star Collin Jennings converted on a clutch three-point play to give his team another double-digit lead at 67-57. The son of head coach Bryan Jennings, Collin has committed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Kilby followed with back-to-back buckets, the latter after a steal and spin move in the lane. After Dak Stephens missed a free throw for HHS, Henderson came off a screen and buried a 3-pointer with 42.3 seconds left that capped a 7-0 Ada spurt that cut the Harrah lead to 67-64.
After Jennings missed another free throw, Ada had a chance to get even closer — or maybe tie the game — but couldn’t convert.
Brady Manek beat the Ada defense down the court for a layup to put Harrah ahead 69-64, but Henderson hit another 3-pointer to trim the Cougar deficit to 69-67.
Kellen Manek finally iced the game with two free throws with 6.4 ticks remaining.
The Cougars led 28-24 after a Tryce Prince jumper midway through the second quarter, but Harrah scored the final 10 points of the first half to lead 34-28 at the break and force the Cougars to play catch-up over the final two frames.
Kilby finished 11-of-16 from the field, including a 4-of-6 showing from 3-point land, and hit all three of his free-throw shots. He also had 10 rebounds for an impressive double-double.
“Cory had another outstanding game. Probably the biggest compliment to Cory was Collin started out on him and at the end, Collin had enough, or his dad did,” Anderson said.
Walker Whitworth hit five (of eight) 3-pointers of his own to finish with 15 points. The Cougars would finish 11-of-19 from beyond the arc as a team. Henderson bounced back from early foul trouble to contribute 13 points.
“Walker is playing so well and so hard. I’m so proud of him,” Anderson said. “And during these last four games is probably the best I’ve seen Jamal play. He hit some big shots.”
Prince added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Cougars while trying to keep Collin Jennings in check on the defensive end.
“Tryce did an outstanding job on Collin. I know he was riding him all night long. He looked like a cowboy out there,” Anderson said.
Ada big man David Forbes didn’t score, but he pulled down seven rebounds.
Kellen Manek led a balanced Harrah attack with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Zack Manek and Brady Manek (a freshman reserve) added 15 points apiece.
Collin Jennings finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Overall, Anderson was pleased with his team’s showing against the third-ranked Panthers.
“We proved tonight we’re one of the top teams in the state. We can certainly be, if we just cut down some of the errors,” he said.
Ada played Duncan on Saturday and will host rival McAlester Tuesday night inside the Cougar Activity Center. The Cougars end the season Friday at Durant.