|02/19/20 - |
It was far from a masterpiece, but the Ada High boys basketball team found a way to get a win against upset-minded Seminole Monday on Senior Night inside the Cougar Activity Center.
David Johnson blocked a point-blank shot attempt by Seminole playmaker Cepado Wilkins that could have tied the game, and that helped the Cougars hold off the Chieftains for a tense 41-35 win.
Ada, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, improved to 18-5 on the year, while Seminole left town at 13-8. The Chieftains entered the game riding a five-game win streak.
The Cougars had whipped Seminole 62-44 in a Jan. 17 road game.
With the host leading 37-35 with less than 30 seconds left, Wilkins drove down the left side of the lane and put a shot up. But Johnson stood his ground and swatted the ball away, and Jaxson Robinson secured the rebound.
Ada head coach Garland Parks said Johnson got an assist from freshman Wyatt Brown.
“It was an outstanding play defensively, but it wasn’t just David. Wyatt had slid over and walled up. That caused (Wilkins) to hesitate and allowed David to get the block. It was a big defensive play by both of them,” Parks explained. “I told them it was the biggest defensive play of the game.”
Robinson was quickly fouled by Seminole’s Hunter Wurtz after grabbing the rebound. Before everyone could make it down to the other end of the court for Robinson’s free throws, Wurtz was whistled for a technical foul.
After an explanation was given to SHS head coach Josh Edenborough, Robinson sank four free throws with just 25 seconds to play that helped secure the Cougars’ six-point victory.
Parks believes being able to win a tight game like the one Monday could pay off in the postseason.
“This was a playoff-type atmosphere and a playoff-type game. Games come down to the wire in the playoffs, and you have to be able to do what you need to do to come out and win these close games,” he said.
Ada led 13-7 after the first quarter, but the pace of the game slowed to a crawl over the middle two quarters. The Chieftains took advantage and outscored the Cougars 18-9 over the middle two frames. In fact, Seminole led 25-20 after two Wilkins free throws at the 3:30 mark of the third period.
A late basket down low by Johnson made it 25-22 heading into the fourth frame. Ada finished 1-for-3 from the floor in both the second and third quarters.
It didn’t take the Cougars long to improve on those marks in the fourth period.
Trey Havens tied the game with a 3-pointer to open the scoring, and Johnson hit a free throw that put Ada on top 26-25.
Two Wilkins free throws at the 4:52 mark put Seminole ahead 27-26.
Robinson answered with two long 3-pointers — the second following a basket by Seminoles Bryce Marshall — that put the Cougars ahead 32-30 with 2:03 remaining.
Havens hit a pair of free throws with 1:21 before Wilkins drove to the basket and lofted a shot toward the goal that just crawled over the rim that cut the AHS advantage to 34-32.
Two Robinson free throws at the 53.6 mark put Ada ahead, 36-32. Seminole’s Marshall answered with a clutch 3-pointer that got the visitors within 36-35 with 44.8 ticks left in the game and set up the crazy finish.
Parks was thrilled to see his team revive in time to finish the game on a 21-10 run.
“We kept encouraging them to play with a sense of urgency and keep playing hard on the defensive end,” he said. “There are always going to be some offensive struggles, but you can always work and give effort on the defensive end of the floor. In the huddle, we just encouraged them to keep defending and keep defending.”
Robinson finished with a game-high 16 points but got into early foul trouble and had just four points after three quarters. He scored 12 points in the final period, including a 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line.
Havens, who hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Johnson contributed eight points apiece to the AHS offense. Johnson also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Marshall led Seminole with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. He sank 2-of-3 3-point attempts. Wilkins followed with 11 points. He sank 6-of-7 free throws and also had five rebounds.
The Cougars now turn their attention to the playoffs and will host Blanchard at 8 p.m. Saturday in a Class 4A District championship game.
It was Senior Night inside the Cougar Activity Center, and Ada’s five seniors — Austin Eastwood, Jake Shannon, Braedyn Sauce, Trey Havens and Caleb Willis — were honored before the game.