BETHEL — The beginning of Tuesday's matchup between Tecumseh and Ada may not have indicated a thriller was at hand with the Cougars running to a 6-0 lead within the first minute. But it was a different story at the end of the night as the Savages held on for a 48-45 victory in double overtime.
BETHEL — The beginning of Tuesday's matchup between Tecumseh and Ada may not have indicated a thriller was at hand with the Cougars running to a 6-0 lead within the first minute. But it was a different story at the end of the night as the Savages held on for a 48-45 victory in double overtime. After the initial deficit, Eric Litherland's team pushed back. And they pushed back hard. Tecumseh went on a 20-6 run to close the first half. That surge put the Savages up 20-12 at the half. Litherland, Tecumseh's head coach, hailed his team's effort. “For us, it's a huge win,” he said. “It was big to knock off a top-ten team.” Litherland was especially proud of his team since they are still adjusting to the loss of players who graduated last year. “Not a lot of people give these guys much of a chance,” he said. We graduated 90% of our offense. Ada began the week as the #13 in Class 4A's OSSAA rankings. Tuesday night's game marked the third time the teams had faced off this season. “In the second game of season, they thumped us,” Litherland said. “But it was closer when we played them at home.” Ada hosted and won the first meeting between the teams 63-39 on December 13. Their second battle, on January 7 in Tecumseh, also went to the Cougars by a score of 55-49. Litherland said his team's defense on Ada's Walker Whitworth was key to the victory. The senior guard had a total of 10 3-pointers in the previous two games between the teams. However, he did not make a single 3-pointer Tuesday. The game marked Tecumseh's sixth in seven nights. “We played some tough games against Piedmont and Harrah in that time,” Litherland said. Tuesday's win also clinched the Global Production Solutions Classic championship for Tecumseh. Junior guard Pat Fox paced the Savages with 14 points. Tecumseh junior guard Tanner Pitchford added 10 points. Ada came out in second half with a vengeance and outscored Tecumseh 14-6 in the third quarter. Tecumseh had a three-point lead with 15 points left in the fourth quarter. The Savages chose not to foul, but Ada junior forward Cory Kilby hit a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to tie the game. Tecumseh called a timeout, but wasn't able get a shot off before time expired. In first overtime, Ada ran scored the first five points before Tecumseh fought back to tie it on a 3-pointer by Pitchford to send the game to a second extra period. Litherland said the play of the game was on the defense end as Tecumseh senior guard Rylan Pierce took a charge with three seconds left in the second overtime. The offensive foul was called on Ada's Jamal Henderson. It marked the junior guard's fifth and final foul of the night. “Then, Fox makes three of four free throws to seal the deal,” Litherland said. Tecumseh returns to action tonight at 6:30 p.m. when they host McLoud for homecoming. Note: Report compiled by Matt Caban.