Coming into this past week, Ardmore junior guard Quintarrus Cohee wanted the Tigers to build some momentum heading into the Holiday Festival.
Class 5A’s No. 9 Ardmore put together perhaps its most complete effort of the season Friday night, defeating No. 17 McAlester 68-40 at Ardmore High School Gymnasium.
It was the second win in a span of four days for the Tigers, who outlasted No. 17 Durant 76-66 last Tuesday.
“We had a big chip on our shoulder coming in,” Cohee said. “We was one and four. We decided to start working on rebounding and get ready for these two games and win them.”
Rebounding was the biggest reason why Ardmore left with its second consecutive victory Friday.
Ardmore made it a point to get the ball down in the block to Donald Murray and Berto Sanchez, who powered their way to the basket, even when draped by multiple defenders. Murray and Sanchez each finished with 10 points.
“(Ardmore coach Mark Wilson) wanted us to do better on the boards, because we’re bigs and that’s our jobs,” Sanchez said. “We just really focused on that in practice. It was just rebounding, rebounding and rebounding. It showed tonight.”
The Tigers led throughout the contest but struggles shooting behind the 3-point line allowed the Buffaloes to keep within striking distance. Ardmore made just two treys the entire game. Loftis converted a 3-pointer in the second quarter. Chris Brown sank a look from behind the arc in the fourth.
Zach Lerblance’s fast-break layup with two seconds remaining in the first half capped off a 6-0 McAlester run.
Ardmore led 30-22 at intermission.
The second half was all Ardmore.
Ardmore’s hard work on the defensive boards led to scoring opportunities in transition for the Tigers, who proceeded to turn the game into a rout thanks to a 38-18 scoring burst over the final two quarters of play.
Ardmore led 39-31 with 3:19 left in the third quarter when a 10-0 run in a little more than two minutes helped the Tigers to seize control.
And it was senior Chris Loftis and junior Jamal Clark who headlined the run. Junior Braeden Vance zipped a lead pass to Loftis who converted a layup for a 43-31 lead. Seconds later, Clark ripped the ball from a McAlester player at mid-court and finished at the other end with a layup.
Loftis finished with 18 points.
“The defense started that,” Wilson said. “We had been in our little zone trap and we got in a little trouble. Then we went back to man and just doubled them. We got them turned over and finished.”
Ardmore’s advantage grew to 54-33 on Brown’s 3-pointer from the left wing at the 6:18 mark of the fourth quarter.
“From start to finish, the consistency was probably the best that we played (this season),” Wilson said. “We had lapses but they were short and we responded pretty well.”
McAlester 7 15 11 7 — 40
Ardmore 15 15 19 19 — 68
Ardmore: Chris Loftis 18, Donald Murray 10, Berto Sanchez 10, Jamal Clark 9, Chris Brown 5, Shodric McGee 4, DeAndre Walker 4, Braeden Vance 4, Juwaun Miller 2, Demarco Rucker 2.
McAlester: 3; Ardmore: 2 (Brown, Loftis)
McAlester: 11-18; Ardmore: 7-15