Ada High’s basketball teams sent their seniors out with a bang on Senior Night inside the Cougar Activity Center.
The Ada girls got a career-best performance by Shayla Wofford in a 72-49 win over Durant, and the Ada boys kicked their offense into high gear in the second half and shot past the Lions 67-43 Friday night.
“It’s great for the kids, and it’s certainly great for the seniors to go out with a win. It was fun for the entire team,” said Ada boys head coach Garland Parks.
“We’ve had the misfortune a couple of times of taking an L on Senior Night, and that’s never fun. It was a good atmosphere tonight, and it was great to get a win,” echoed Ada girls coach Christie Jennings.
Both Ada teams are ranked No. 12 in Class 5A.
Ada 72, Durant 49
Wofford exploded for a game-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds to lead the Ada attack. She went 11-of-16 from the field and hit 4-of-7 free throws.
“She’s been working her tail off. She’s going to be really successful and a really great player, and she deserves it,” said Jennings. “She’s been busting her tail and getting better every single day.”
It took just a little while for Ada to take the mystery out of the outcome. After Durant’s Annalee Jones scored on a putback early in the second quarter, the Lady Lions trailed just 21-20. However, the Lady Cougars finished the period with a 17-5 surge and started to pull away, leading 38-26 at halftime.
Tatum Havens scored 10 of her 12 points during a game-changing 20-11 Ada third-quarter charge that put the Lady Cougars on top 58-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Landyn Owens also had a big game for Ada, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds and seven steals. She helped the Lady Cougars force a whopping 31 Durant turnovers.
Tristyn Hamilton kept Durant close for a while. She scored a team-high 20 points and five 3-point shots — most from well past the arc.
Ada honored seniors Dixie Redman and Kaley Watkins, who has missed the Lady Cougars’ last eight games while recovering from injuries suffered in an automobile accident in mid-January, during a Senior Night ceremony between games.
“The thing about these two seniors is they’re gritty. They are great examples of what our team embodies,” Jennings said. “They’ll do the things like sacrifice their bodies, take charges and play great defense. They’re really tough kids and when people watch our team play, I hope that’s what they see.”
Ada 67, Durant 43
The Cougars raced out to a 22-7 lead after a 3-pointer by Trey Havens with just over five minutes left in the second quarter.
The Lions cut their deficit to 27-19 by halftime and still just trailed by 10 after Tyler Hamblin scored on a drive with 3:56 left in the third quarter. Ada finished that frame with a 16-6 volley and after Jaxson Robinson drilled a fallaway 3-pointer at the buzzer, the hosts carried a 52-32 lead into the final period.
Robinson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds to pace the Ada offense, while Cody Smith followed with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Freshman Kaden Cooper gave Ada a nice spark with 10 points, five rebounds and two steals off the bench.
Jake Shannon just missed double figure with nine points for the locals.
Daniel Long hit five long 3-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points for Durant.
The biggest ovation of the night came on Ada’s first play of the game, when senior Clay Balthrop buried a 3-pointer right after the Cougars won the opening tip.
“They had been asking me about this jump ball play, and I had been telling them no. Tonight, before they got introduced, I told them to go ahead and do it,” Parks said. “That was a play they had worked on.”
Balthrop, along with fellow seniors Tanner Gilliam and Cody Smith, were honored between games.
“(Those seniors) mean everything — the leadership they bring, the work ethic, the positivity. They will be sorely missed,” Parks said.