Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

March 13, 2014

Anadarko tops Ada in tense Class 4A State Tournament win

Oklahoma City — A relentless Anadarko defense and the offensive firepower of junior Ashley Beatty proved too much to overcome for an Ada High girls team that had a gold ball in its sights.

Beatty scored a game-high 24 points and the Lady Warriors' defense was a big part of 22 Ada turnovers. But Anadarko still had to hold off a late Lady Cougar charge during a tense 40-37 win in the first round of the Class 4A State Tournament Thursday afternoon inside the State Fair Arena.

The third-ranked Lady Warriors advanced to today's 4A semifinal round with a 25-4 record while Ada — making it's first state appearance since 2006 — saw it's 2013-14 season come to an end at 21-6.

Beatty's steal with just over three seconds left thwarted any last-ditch effort by Ada to tie the game.

"It wasn't so much their press as after we got it across the halfcourt line. They used a trap zone (defense) and we kind of panicked. That gave us fits," said Ada head coach Christie Jennings after a long stint in the locker room following the contest. "But we just kept fighting back. It was like a dogfight sometimes on the ground, fighting for the ball. Both teams wanted to win it so much, Everybody scrummed for the basketball at every given opportunity."

Ada lead 26-23 after a basket by Aaliyah Blakley with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. But Beatty gave her team the momentum heading into the final period by following a putback by teammate Kaytlen Johnson with back-to-back-to-back 3-point shots — the final one at the buzzer from way down town — that gave the Lady Warriors a 34-26 advantage.

Ada chipped away at its deficit in the fourth quarter and after Sami Jewett drilled a 3-pointer at the halfway point, the Lady Cougars had pulled within 36-35.

There was no scoring over the next two and a half minutes, but there was a big play.

Ada defense specialist Haley Dean ripped a loose ball out of the hands of Anadarko gaurd Tandra King and appeared to have given the Lady Cougars a possession with 1:44 left. But officials had ruled that Anadarko coah Jeff Zinn had called time out before Dean had the ball in her hands.

During that play, King became irate, yelling and gesturing toward Dean. Jennings appeared to ask the officials if her behavior warranted a technical foul, but no infraction was called.

Beatty hit two free throws with 1:28 to give Anadarko a 38-35 lead.

Blakley hit a wide open jumper off an assist from Jewett with  56 seconds remaining that made it 38-37.

Beatty was sent to the charity stripe again, but this time she only hit one of two shots, leaving Ada trailing 39-37.

Blakley was fouled and stepped to the line with just 21.7 ticks left, but she couldn't get either free throw to fall.

Cara Osceola then made a free shot to give Anadarko its three-point lead and Ada missed two field goals before Beatty's late theft sealed the outcome.

"We usually make those shots in the paint and we usually make those free throws," Jennings said.

Ada grabbed an early 11-5 lead after two Menee' Thomsen 3-pointers and a putback by Wells.

Anadarko followed with five straight points to get with 11-10 early in the second and it was a seesaw affair throughout the rest of that period. Jewett's free thrwos with 36.6 seconds left sent the teams to the break tied at 20-20.

Beatty would finish with nine rebounds and four steals to go with her 24 points. No one else scored more than five for Anadarko.

"She played really, really well. She's a really good player," Jennings said.

Ada got 13 points, two steals and three rebounds from Jewett while Blakley followed with 10 points and a game-high 13 boards

Ada says goodbye to its five starting seniors.

"It's still a great season. What I told them after the game is these seniors did a good job of putting this program back where it belongs. They're leaving a legacy and it's up to these underclassmen to take it to the next level," Jennings said.

Note: The Big House gym floor appeared to be super slick and both teams addressed the issue to game officials."The floor was so slick it took both teams out of what they were trying to do," Jennings said.


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