The Class 4A fifth-ranked Lady Cougars opened the playoffs with a resounding win at home Saturday night inside the Cougar Activity Center. Ada used a pressure defense, 50 percent shooting from 3-point land and a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe in downing McLoud 59-36 to claim the district championship.
Ada head coach Christie Jennings had been talking free throws and defense to her squad all week at practice.
“I challenged the team heading into the playoffs this week about their free throws and how important they will be down the stretch. We didn’t miss a free throw tonight with our top six players,” said Jennings. “Our defense was very good again tonight. We just held a pretty good 3-point-shooting team to 36 points. Defensively, we mixed it up. We gave them a lot of different sets, and we had success in all of the sets.”
The Lady Cougars only led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter, but they went on a 22-7 run in the second behind 6-of-7 shooting from the field and forced the Lady Redskins into five turnovers during the volley. Olivia Wells, who led all scorers with 18, had eight points and two rebounds in the quarter.
Ada took a 32-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, McLoud would cut the lead to 13, but that was as close as the Lady Redskins would get. Ada outscored McLoud 27-23 in the second half, while Jennings got some valuable playoff experience for her bench.
“McLoud runs a strange defense, and we really handled their pressure all night long,” said Jennings. “When we turned it over tonight, it was because of us trying to press or getting in a hurry. In the end, we won the turnover battle.”
Aaliyah Blakley and Meneé Thomsen also posted double figures with 16 and 13 respectively. Thomsen finished 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, had the only block of the game and had two assists and one rebound.
Sami Jewett chipped in 8, while Markeisha Black and Maddie Jessepe had 2 each. Jewett had six rebounds and two steals, while Black grabbed 4 boards. Haley Dean led the Cougars with a game-high eight assists to go with two steals and one rebound.
Jordan Murphy led McLoud with 11 points, Erin Estep had 10 and Ashley Boyer finished with 9. Bethanie James had 6 points.
Jennings likes her team’s focus right now.
“This is the first step, the girls know it is a step-by-step process,” Jennings said. “This was a good win and the way we needed to start.”
The Lady Cougars ran their season record to 18-5, while McLoud fell to 7-14. Ada will travel to Checotah at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to play Bethel in the first round of regional action. Ada defeated Bethel in the finals of the Bethel Tournament back on Jan. 15.
Cougars crush McLoud
ADA – The Ada Cougars, behind three double-figure scorers, blew the game open with a 20-5 third-quarter run and coasted to a 62-29 rout of McLoud Saturday for a Class 4A district title on Saturday at the Ada Cougar Activities Center.
Senior David Forbes fired in a game-high 17 points, including 10 in the third quarter alone, to pace Ada, which led 10-7 after the first quarter and 28-18 at halftime.
Joining Forbes in double figures were senior Walker Whitworth with 15 and junior Cory Kilby with 12. All of Whitworth’s points came off five 3-point jumpers.
Jamal Henderson added nine points to the Cougar attack.
Ada, leading 48-23 through three periods, closed the game with a 14-6 spurt in the fourth to push the margin of victory to 33.
The Cougars will face Bethel in Class 4A regional action in Checotah at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Ada-Bethel winner will battle the Tulsa Central-Victory Christian winner on Saturday for the regional championship. A loss places Ada against the Glenpool-Catoosa winner at 8 p.m. Friday.
NOTE: Meneé Thomsen, Haley Dean and Brooklyn Cupps were named FCA All-State this past week. Menée won Miss Cougar and Haley won All-Around Girl at Ada High School this week. Walker Whitworth was Mr. Cougar, and Jake Boone was All-Around Boy.