Hope rebound

McAlester's Hope Johnston grabs a rebound against Ada on Tuesday night.

It all came down to eight seconds. But this wasn’t a rodeo — it was POTAC.

The rivalry matchup between Class 4A-No. 15 Ada and Class 5A-No. 10 McAlester lived up to the hype as the two teams played in Bob Brumley Gymnasium, where the Lady Buffs were handed a 42-40 loss on a last-second shot.

After a steal and a swishing triple by the Lady Buffs, they pulled within a single possession in the waning minute of play. Dewzee Selman forced a tie ball to give McAlester possession and later made a free throw to tie the game at 40-40. But Ada’s Landyn Owens, however, would have the last say as she was able to hit a jumper to end the game and steal away a win.

"We’ve played in enough big games. We got the toughest schedule in the state, in my opinion,” McAlester girls basketball coach Jarrod Owen said. “It never stops, and it’s made us tough."

Things started off with a tough defensive game plan from both teams. Stevie Stinchcomb tied up the basketball, which gave McAlester possession and lead to a three-point shot by Caylin Horton to tie the game at 3-3.

Ada’s Owens answered with a triple of her own. Defense took back over, and a shot at the buzzer by Brenae Rhone pulled the Lady Buffs to a 11-7 score after the end of the first quarter.

Rhone hit another early in the second quarter, and then a block by Hope Johnston forced an Ada turnover. The scoring then started to flow for both teams as Makenzie Atherton drained one from deep before another three-point shot for teammate Elizabeth Milligan saw the Lady Buffs pull to a 16-15 lead.

“We spend a lot of time on our rebounding, defensive shell drills,” Owen said. “We take a lot of pride (on those things)."

After a 23-18 deficit at the break, McAlester tightened their game on the defensive side of the ball.

The tenacity of the Lady Buffs proved pivotal as they forced turnovers and worked their way from a nine point deficit to within four points halfway through the final period.

Atherton led the way for the Lady Buffs with 12 points, Stinchcomb finished with 10 points, and Rhone finished with 7.

Owens knows his ladies are a tough team, and they’ll be looking forward to Friday night’s game in Broken Bow.

“Our process is get back to work,” Owen said. “Fix the mistakes we made today, and go down there and get our minds right."

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com

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