Feb. 13—Just days after signing a letter of intent to play college football, George Maddox saved the day for the Cougars on the basketball court.
Maddox made four huge plays down the stretch for Ada and capped off his late flurry by sinking two gigantic free throws with 6.1 seconds left in the game to give the Cougars a dramatic 50-48 win over Fort Gibson on Pink Out Night Friday inside the Cougar Activity Center.
Maddox's two free shots capped a remarkable Ada comeback that saw the hosts erase every bit of a 12-point, second-half deficit.
Ada, ranked No. 9 in Class 4A, improved to 16-6 heading into a Senior Night matchup with Seminole on Monday. The Cougars are then scheduled to make a trip to Tuttle for a Class 4A District Tournament contest with the host Tigers on Saturday night.
Fort Gibson left town at 14-8.
"It was a good, gritty team win," Ada boys coach Kyle Caufield told The Ada News. "Basketball is a game of runs, and you have to find a way to respond. We responded in the fourth quarter and we have been in games like this enough to know what it takes to get to the finish line."
In the girls' contest, No. 4 Fort Gibson knocked off Ada 47-28. The Lady Cougars have dropped eight straight games, falling to 8-14 on the year. The Lady Tigers improved to 17-5.
Ada 50, Fort Gibson 48
Maddox started his series of big plays when he dove to the floor and forced a jump ball with just over two minutes left in the game to get the possession arrow pointed Ada's way.
Devon MacCollister hit a tough, baseline floater with 1:37 remaining that tied the score at 48-48.
After Tremain Gray missed a pair of free throws with 42.8 ticks left, Maddox was Johnny on the spot again, coming up with an offensive rebound.
Following a late Ada turnover, Ky Murrell attempted a short baseline jumper and the ball danced across the rim before falling off. Maddox blocked his man out and was fouled as he pulled in the rebound.
After he made what turned out to be the two game-winning free throws, Fort Gibson's Brody Scott launched a 45-foot shot from half-court that hit the back of the rim as time ran out.
Caufield had high praise for Maddox and the energy he brings to the table.
"George is a competitor. He gives it his all every time he steps on the court. He plays with a lot of energy and emotion," he said. "He comes up with extra possessions all the time because of his effort and will to not give up on a play. That's what he has been doing his whole basketball career and he came up with some big ones late in the game tonight and made the free throws to top it off."
The Cougars trailed by 12 late in the third quarter before MacCollister made a 25-foot 3-pointer that got the Cougars within 42-33 heading into the fourth period. Ada outscored the Tigers 17-6 over the final eight minutes.
Ada started strong against Fort Gibson, running out to a 17-8 lead. But the Tigers bounced back, outscoring Ada 14-4 in the second period to grab a slim 22-21 halftime lead. Both teams scored 12 points apiece in the third period before Ada took off in the fourth frame.
"I thought we did a really good job getting off to a hot start and making a run to close out the first quarter. We really were taking what the defense was giving us," Caufield said. "We cooled off in the second, started pressing on the offensive end, and turned the ball over, allowing them to get out in transition, and they hit some open shots. We talk about how you have to continue to defend and find a way to get stops until you can get yourself back going and we did that."
Ada was hurt by 19 turnovers and sank just 6-of-16 (37.5%) free throws. The Tigers weren't any better from the stripe, making just 5-of-17 (29.4) attempts.
MacCollister led all scorers with 18 points for Ada, including a trio of 3-point baskets. Caron Richardson also hit double figures with 12 points and made one triple. Tremain Gray followed with eight points and scored five big points during Ada's fourth-quarter rally. He made a pair of 3-pointers.
Carter Colombe was limited to only four points but had a team-high eight rebounds, along with four assists and a couple of blocked shots.
Fort Gibson got a team-high 13 points from Scott, nine coming in the second half. Cooper Wicks also hit double digits with 11 points and Blaine Scott followed with eight. Wicks, Blaine Scott and Cooper Crawley all hit 3-pointers for the visitors.
Fort Gibson 47, Ada 28
The high-powered Lady Tigers got off to a 15-5 start to the contest and carried a 24-12 lead into halftime.
The Lady Cougars got consecutive 3-point baskets from Rylynn Truett, Abbey Strong and Sadie Epps during a 9-3 run to open the third period to trim the Fort Gibson lead to 27-21 at the 5:04 mark.
However, Ada didn't score again in the quarter until Karsyn Woods hit 1-of-2 free throws with no time left on the clock. But by that time, the Fort Gibson lead had ballooned back to 34-22.
Ada went ice cold from the field.
After Epps' 3-pointer with just over five minutes left in the third quarter, the Lady Cougars didn't make another field goal until Truett banked in a shot from high off the glass with just under two minutes left in the game. During that stretch, Fort Gibson used an 18-1 run to stretch its lead to 45-22.
Truett led Ada with eight points and Makaviya Nelson followed with six. Epps added five points for the locals.
Laynee Standley led the Fort Gibson charge with 15 points and Kashae Brown followed with nine points and eight rebounds for the visitors.