Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
The Class 4A seventh-ranked Ada Lady Cougars had the 5A top-ranked Shawnee Lady Wolves right where they wanted them Monday night.
Senior Markeisha Black drove to the baseline, scored a layup, drew the foul and nailed the ensuing free throw with 4:15 remaining, giving Ada a 39-35 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Lady Cougars, that was the final field goal of the night as they managed just two free throws the rest of the way in dropping a 47-41 basketball decision to host Shawnee.
Ada, which fell to 1-1 on the young season, committed four critical turnovers while watching the Lady Wolves stage a 12-1 run down the stretch.
“We didn’t finish. We played well enough to win. I guess it’s something that will have to come with experience,” said Ada head coach Christie Jennings. “I felt like we controlled the game. We just have to figure out how to play 32 minutes instead of 27 or 28. I think we’ll be fine.”
The Lady Cougars showed some grit after falling into a 15-7 hole after one quarter. Ada limited Shawnee to four second-quarter points while scoring 15 on the way to a 22-19 halftime advantage.
The senior tandem of Aaliyah Blakley and Sami Jewett registered a big second quarter in sparking Ada’s comeback. The pair accounted for 12 of those 15 points during that stretch, as each tossed in six apiece.
“We got down by seven or eight against the No. 1 team in 5A and didn’t quit,” Jennings said.
Blakley topped the Ada scoring effort with 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half, as she snatched 11 rebounds (six on the defensive end) for a double-double. Blakley knocked down 9-of-10 free throws in the contest and was 5-of-11 from the floor. She scored off a pair of put-back shots and connected on three turnaround jumpers.
Jewett drilled a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, with 13 coming before intermission, to go with four boards.
That pair also proved to be effective on the defensive end, as each recorded three steals on the night.
The two teams were deadlocked at 29, heading into the fourth quarter.
Ada opened the fourth quarter with a spot-up 3-pointer from the right corner by Jewett off a pass from Meneé Thompson. Blakley feathered in a jumper for a 34-31 Lady Cougar advantage with 6:07 to go, and Jewett canned two foul shots with 5:46 remaining to make it 36-33.
After the Lady Wolves pulled within 36-35, Black executed her old-fashioned 3-point play for the short-lived four-point cushion.
But that’s when everything fell apart for Ada.
Junior guard Bailey Taylor led Shawnee with 15 points, McKenzie Cooper followed with 12 and Monique Tramble ended up with 10.
Taylor also led the Lady Wolves with six rebounds, but the Lady Cougars owned a 27-20 advantage on the boards.
Ada was plagued by 19 turnovers, while Shawnee finished with 11.
The Lady Cougars took a critical hit down the stretch when Haley Dean exited the game with her fifth foul at the 2:43 mark of the fourth quarter.
Ada’s next action will be Thursday in the 2013 Global Productions Tournament, being co-hosted by Bethel and McLoud.
The Lady Cougars are scheduled to face Little Axe at 4:15 p.m. at McLoud High School. The Ada-Little Axe winner will face the McLoud-Newcastle winner at 5 p.m. on Friday, while the losers of those two games will square off at 2:30 p.m. in consolation bracket play on Friday.