Jan. 30—The Ada High School boys basketball team needed to make one final defensive stand to turn back host Fort Gibson 42-41 in a Saturday night nail-biter.
The big road win improved Ada, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A, to 13-5 on the year, while the Tigers dropped to 11-7.
"Saturday was a good, tough, gritty win for the Cougs," said Ada boys coach Kyle Caufield. "In the fourth quarter, I thought we were a little careless and they got some momentum and made some big shots. But we responded well and got the stops we needed to seal the victory."
In the girls' game, Fort Gibson broke up a close game with a big second half and pulled away from Ada in a 53-25 victory.
Coach Christie Jennings' club fell to 8-10 on the season, while Fort Gibson — ranked No. 5 in Class 4A — improved to 13-5.
Both Ada teams are back on the road tonight at Harrah before hosting Millwood Friday at the Cougar Activity Center.
Ada 42, Fort Gibson 41
The host Tigers got within a single point three times in the fourth quarter, but Ada never lost the lead.
Devon MacCollister scored Ada's final two baskets. His drive down the heart of the Fort Gibson defense with 3:24 to play put the Cougars on top 40-37.
Brody Scott sank a pair of free shots for the Tigers to trim the AHS advantage to 40-39 with 3:09 to play. But MacCollister again made a strong drive to the basket for a tough layup that gave the Cougars a 42-39 lead with 2:41 remaining.
Ky Murrell lofted a jumper in the lane for Fort Gibson that rolled all around the rim before falling into the basket to make it 42-41 with 2:04 showing.
Ada milked the clock down to the 1:10 mark before a layup by Carter Colombe rolled off the front of the rim, giving Fort Gibson the opportunity to take the lead.
Blane Scott missed a tough baseline, fadeaway jumper for the Tigers, and Tremain Gray came up with the rebound. But Fort Gibson forced a jump ball with 20.4 ticks left to get another chance at the victory.
Carter Colombe came up with a huge blocked shot on Fort Gibson's next try, but the ball was still in possession of the Tigers with 7.5 seconds remaining.
MacCollister sealed the outcome when he poked the ball away from Murrell and Gray came up with the ball with time running out.
A low-scoring first half saw both teams score eight points apiece in the first quarter and the Cougars edge the Tigers 8-5 in the second period to gain a slim 16-13 halftime advantage.
Ada won the third quarter 18-12 before Fort Gibson made it a battle to the buzzer by ending the game on a 16-8 run.
"Fort Gibson was really physically on the inside and we knew we would have to match their energy inside the paint. I thought we played really well defensively and worked together well to disrupt their offense," Caufield said.
Columbe led the Ada offense with 17 points and MacCollister followed with 14. No other Ada player scored more than five.
Murrell paced the Tigers with 11 points and Blane Scott was next with eight. Bordy Scott and Cooper Wicks both scored seven points for the home team.
Fort Gibson sank 9-of-10 free throws in the contest, all in the second half. Ada finished 2-of-3 from the line.
Fort Gibson 53, Ada 25
When Rylynn Truett went coast-to-coast for a layup and just beat the halftime buzzer, the Lady Cougars were probably feeling pretty good, trailing just 22-20 at the break against the highly-touted Fort Gibson club.
At the 5:50 mark of the third period, Jamieson Emarthle hit one of two free throws to get the Lady Cougars within 24-21.
Later in the period, post player Ava Campos hustled down the floor and scored in the paint when the Lady Cougars beat a Fort Gibson press to make it 26-23 with 3:43 left in the third frame.
Then the bottom fell out for the Lady Cougars. Fort Gibson outscored Ada 27-2 over the final 11 minutes to turn a highly competitive game into a blowout.
Ada stopped making shots and had some turnovers sprinkled in and the Lady Tigers went on a scoring spree.
"We came out in the second half and couldn't throw it in the ocean," Ada head coach Christie Jennings said. "It was the tale of two halves. We played pretty well in the first half. Since the start of the second semester, Fort Gibson has been playing a lot of junk defense and trying to take away the strengths of their opponent. They did that to us. They really tried to keep (Makaviya Nelson, Abbey Strong, and Sadie Epps) from getting a look from the 3-point line. They did a good job on us."
Truett and Emarthle were the only AHS players to hit 3-point shots. Truett paced the Ada offense with nine points. Epps, Campos, and Emarthle all ended up with four points apiece.
The game wasn't going to be decided at the free-throw line. Only a combined seven total fouls were called in the contest.
Laynee Staley led the Fort Gibson offense with 22 points, including four 3-point baskets. Four other Lady Tigers scored six points each.