ADA — Ada’s 30-27 victory over Edmond North Friday night in the girls semifinals of the East Central Oklahoma Basketball Classic wasn’t an artistic triumph.  But hey, a fifth straight win — no matter how ugly — is a fifth straight win.

The Lady Cougars managed just 18 points through three quarters but held the Huskies to just 13 over the same period, then Ada withstood a late North rally — despite going without a field goal for the final five minutes — to move into Saturday’s championship game against Choctaw.    

Although Ada (5-1) hit just seven field goals through three quarters, managed just nine baskets (in 23 attempts) overall, and didn’t hit a 3-pointer, the Lady Cougars put together a 6-2 run in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to balloon their five-point lead after three quarters into a 24-15 advantage with 4:58 to play. 

“I guess it was an ugly game, but I thought it was a game where both teams played good defense,” Ada coach Jeff Maloy said. “We went into the locker room (at halftime, leading 11-9), and I was surprised that we just had 11 points, but I was amazed that we held them to just nine points in the first half.”

Joy Barrick hit a short jumper (her only field goal of the game) to cap Ada’s mini-spurt to the game’s biggest lead early in the fourth quarter, then the Lady Cougars managed just six free throws (in 11 tries) the rest of the way.

After Barrett’s bucket, North didn’t score again until Kristin Philhower sank two free throws with 2:27 left to make it 24-17, then the Huskies got a long jumper and a 3-pointer from Hope Heinen over the next 1:18 to make it 27-22, and, after Ada sophomore Jenny Bolin missed two free throws, Whitni Doherty hit a pair of charity shots with 32.2 seconds left to trim the lead to 27-24.

Bolin, who played a solid floor game and scored five of Ada’s 14 fourth-quarter points after not taking a shot through three periods, was fouled again with 20.8 seconds remaining, and this time she made both free throws to build the lead back to 29-24 and offset a 3-pointer by Philhower with only six seconds to play. Barrick was fouled with two seconds remaining and sank the first of two free throws for Ada’s final victory margin.

“Jenny gave us an extra ball handler to handle their press,” Maloy said of Bolin. “We handled their full-court press really well, but their half-court pressure gave us trouble.”

North managed just four field goals in the first three quarters, due largely to pressure outside from Barrick, Malloy Maloy and Jourdan Clark and the inside presence of Megan Foley. A 6-1 junior, Foley scored just seven points and didn’t take a shot in the second half, but she had two blocked shots and team-high five rebounds.

“I thought Megan played probably the best defensive game she’s ever played,” Maloy said. “I was really pleased with her defense. She was a lot more active than usual.”

Ada never trailed in the game, and, in fact, North had only one opportunity in the entire contest to take the lead. But Rachel Snider missed the second of two free throws with 2:15 left in the opening quarter to leave the scored tied at 6-6, Ada missed the only shot by either team the rest of the period, and the Lady Cougars took the lead for good on Foley’s layup off an assist from Maloy with 7:08 left in the half.

The Ada lead grew to 11-6 on Maloy’s long jumper with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter, but the two teams combined for just seven shots the rest of the way, and the Huskies cut the halftime lead to 11-9 on Doherty’s 3-pointer a minute before halftime.

Maloy scored 11 points and added four rebounds and three assists, but she was the only player in double figures on either team. Barrick scored five of her six points in the fourth quarter and added three rebounds, and Clark (Ada’s freshman point guard) had four of the Lady Cougars’ seven steals and added two rebounds and an assist.

Heinen was perfect from the field but took only four shots (three in the fourth quarter) to finish with a team-best nine points (seven in the final period) for the Huskies.