MCALESTER — Oklahoma has had its fair share of drought problems this year.

And after a Tuesday night trip to McAlester, the Ada High School boys basketball team can relate.

The Cougars went over 13 minutes in the second half without scoring and the rival Buffaloes took full advantage, rallying past Ada 53-36 before a rowdy crowd inside the Bob Brumley Gymnasium.

McAlester evened its record at 8-8 on the year while coach Scott Lowrance watched his team stumble to 6-11. Ada has now lost four straight games, three consecutive on the road. The Cougar will begin a four-game home stand Saturday night when Dickson visits the Cougar Activity Center.

In the girls contest, the Ada Lady Cougars got a career night from reserve Lauren Whitworth, but it wasn’t enough as McAlester prevailed 57-49.

The Lady Buffaloes — No. 11 in Class 5A — improved to 14-2 while No. 12 Ada dropped to 12-5.


McAlester 53, Ada 36

The Cougars couldn’t have scripted a much better start to the game. Cody Hibbard went Kobe on the Buffaloes in the opening eight minutes. He went 4-of-5 from 3-point range and scored 15 points to help the Cougars snag a 19-16 lead.

After freshman center Colton Richardson scored on a strong move to the basket and Ian Webster followed with two free throws, Ada had pushed its lead to 23-16 at the 5:48 mark of the second period. The Cougars actually had seven-point leads four more times in the quarter before McAlester’s Darrick Matthews scored just before halftime to cut the AHS advantage to 31-26 at the break.

And that’s when the Ada offense dried up.

Over the next 13:06 — including a scoreless third period — the Cougar offense was mired in an 0-for-16 slump and had committed nine turnovers (after only three in the first half) in the nightmarish span. That helped McAlester secure the game with 20 unanswered points. Ada’s five-point halftime lead turned into a 46-31 deficit before guard Michael Roberts finally stopped the AHS scoring skid with a basket in the paint with 2:54 left in the game.

Hibbard, who oddly enough didn’t even take a shot in the second quarter after his red hot start, sank a 3-pointer that got Ada within 10 with 2:26 to play, but the visitors would get no closer. Hibbard hit just 1-of-10 field goals over the final two frames. He finished with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds. No other Cougar scored more than six.

Webster came off the bench and yanked down seven rebounds for Ada.

McAlester got a game-high 19 points from Grant Zellner, who went 5-of-9 from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Matthews (who would have added two more but missed a third-quarter dunk) and reserve Deon Hall added 10 points each.

McAlester owned a 36-28 rebounding edge and enjoyed an 18-of-25 performance from the free throw line compared to just 3-of-7 for Ada. After the contest, the Buffaloes dedicated the win to outgoing McAlester Superintendent Lucy Smith, who will retire in June.


McAlester 57, Ada 49

The contest lived up to its pre-game billing for three quarters, as the two teams entered the final stanza tied at 38-38.

However, the Buffaloes scored the first six points of the fourth quarter — including back-to-back baskets by freshman Jaci Bigham — and Ada had to play catch-up the rest of the way and never quite could.

A Molly Maloy trey with 4:25 left pulled Ada to within three at 46-43, but McAlester answered by scoring seven of the next 10 points — four from the free throw line and a conventional 3-point play by Kyla Adams — and watched its lead balloon to 53-46 with 2:10 left.

Ada started off behind, too. McAlester hit 4-of-6 first-quarter field goals — including 3-pointers by Bigham and Megan Henley — and bolted to a 15-6 lead.

But behind Whitworth’s huge inside effort off the bench, Ada had whittled the MHS lead to 25-22 by halftime.

Whitworth, a 5-10 sophomore, erupted for a career-high 26 points and six rebounds in the dominant effort. She finished 9-of-14 from the field and 8-of-13 from the free throw line. The rest of the team went an ice-cold 3-of-16 from two-point range.

“Lauren did a great job. We just needed to play better defensively. Offensively, 49 points should be enough to win,” Ada head coach Jeff Maloy said.

Maloy hit a trio of trifectas and just missed double digits with nine points while freshman Jourdan Clark battled through a cold shooting night to register seven points and eight rebounds.

The roster continues to shrink for the Lady Cougars, who played without another starter. Senior guard Joy Barrick suffered a broken hand in a win over Idabel Saturday afternoon and was in street clothes on the bench, sporting a pink cast. Her timetable to return to the Ada lineup is uncertain.

Freshman Taylor Howard started in Barrick’s slot and scored five points and tracked down seven rebounds.

Megan Foley, Ada’s 6-1 starting center, was plagued with poor shooting and foul trouble all night and scored just two points before picking up her fifth foul at the 2:56 mark of the third period.

Bigham came up big for McAlester, leading the Lady Buffs with 20 points. Adams was right on her heels with 18.

Like their male counterparts, the McAlester girls made a living at the free throw line. The Lady Buffs hit 18-of-24 attempts compared to just 10-of-18 for Ada.

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