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Ada basketball teams post sweep against Ardmore in Class 4A district playoffs

Devon MacCollister has 29 to lead Cougars; Sania Richardson scores 25 in Lady Cougars' win

By Christian Potts 

ADA - When Kyle Caufield saw the pairings for the Class 4A playoffs, the coach knew his Ada Cougars were going to be in for a battle right from the start.

The Cougars' district playoff opponent, Ardmore, brought a wealth of experience and perhaps was underseeded after being moved down from Class 5A to Class 4A at midseason.

"Ardmore is always a tough opponent, a rival, and they're a really good team," Caufield said. "Record-wise it might not show, but they played a tough schedule."

But the Cougars, ranked No. 12 in Class 4A, showed some power of their own, flexing their defensive muscle by rolling after halftime and advancing to the winner's bracket by a decisive 66-43 count on Friday.

"That's one of my big coaching points, defense," Caufield said. "Defense is everything in just about every sport you play.

"If you can defend really well, you obviously have a chance to win. And I thought we defended really well and we knew we had to."

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From there, the Cougars rode the play of Devon MacCollister, who scored a game-high 29 points, and Carter Colombe, who scored 15 of his 19 after halftime.

MacCollister had a steady hand in handling the ball, knocked down six 3-pointers and answered everything the Tigers threw at him defensively.

"I feel like we shared the ball really well, moved it around, picked each other up and took care of the ball pretty well," MacCollister said.

The Cougars took a 29-22 lead into halftime before Ardmore struck for two quick buckets, a driving layup by Kylan Cohee and a 3-pointer by Zaven Henderson, to get within 29-27 in the first minute of the third quarter.

But MacCollister and Colombe spurred an 11-2 run, punctuated by Colombe's dunk, to make it 40-29.

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From there, Ardmore never got closer than eight points, with the lead cresting at the final margin as the Tigers managed only eight fourth-quarter points.

Perhaps the biggest hand in Ada's defensive effort came from senior Andrew Hughes, who drew the primary assignment against Jordan Brown, Ardmore's top scorer. Brown finished with eight points but had to work for every look against Hughes.

"We're focused on defense more than offense," MacCollister said. "We know if we hold them enough we can score enough to win the game, and that's the most important part about basketball."

Ardmore's boys are just two years removed from a run to the Class 5A state semifinals. That included a quarterfinal victory against pre-tournament favorite and No. 1-ranked Tulsa Memorial that marks one of the biggest wins in recent years for the Tigers.

Several contributors from that Ardmore team are still on the roster, making this anything but a typical unranked squad. But on this night, they came up short against the Cougars.

"Our coaches set a really good game plan out for us," MacCollister said. "We've all been hyped to play, because we know most of them from down there."


Ada 59, Ardmore 31

The 4A No. 17 ranked Lady Cougars used sweltering defense in the first half, then an offensive explosion from star guard Sania Richardson, to race to a district championship victory in the opening game of the night.

The Lady Cougars held Ardmore scoreless in the second quarter in bolting to a 28-5 halftime advantage. The Lady Tigers picked up their offense in the second half but so did the sophomore sensation Richardson, who had 17 of her 25 points after intermission to lead the way as the only Lady Cougar to reach double figures.

Richardson is ranked as one of the top sophomore guards in the country, and she has looked the part this season, averaging 26.5 points per game coming into Friday's contest.

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The Lady Tigers had a lead on Ada deep in the third quarter of a meeting in the Ada Invitational last month, so they came into the game with confidence based on that experience. And while they defended well at times, their offensive struggles ultimately did them in.

Ada moves on to face the winner of the Oklahoma City Heritage Hall/Perkins-Tryon contest - which will be played on Saturday - in a regional tournament semifinal Thursday night.

Sophomore guard Alivia Pettigrew had 12 points and senior Crislyn Booker scored seven to lead Ardmore, which will face the Perkins-Heritage Hall loser next Thursday in the regional consolation round.