Christmas came early for the Shawnee Wolves, and it was senior Theo Berry that pulled the biggest present from Santa’s bag.
After No. 14 Guthrie cut Shawnee’s lead to just two with 5.6 seconds left to play, Berry hit two out of four free throws — collecting his own rebound in the process — to preserve a 65-61 upset Friday night at the Shawnee High School Performing Arts and Athletic Center.
The victory, which snapped a five-game losing streak, is significant in more ways than one. First, it moves the Wolves to 2-7 overall and 1-2 against Suburban Conference foes, but it also capsized a string of losses to the Bluejays that dates back to 2006.
“That was a great win for us,” said SHS coach Ron Arthur. “It’s been a long time. They’ve owned us.”
Arthur said the Wolves — who have been on the losing end of four games this year that were decided by four or less points — “did a pretty good job of following the keys of the game” Friday night.
Some of those keys were playing aggressive and limiting Guthrie’s opportunities.
“We’re really proud of these guys because we’ve had just about every type of adversity a team can have,” Arthur said. “Adversity is what it is; you have to live with it and do your best.”
Arthur said he instructed his team to enter Friday’s game with an aggressive attitude.
“We wanted to be the aggressor. We wanted to be on the attack,” he said.
And it paid off.
Shawnee went up by as many as six points in the first quarter before settling on a 14-13 lead to start the second. The Bluejays tied the score at 18 midway through the second, but the Wolves strung together 11 uncontested points for a 29-18 lead with 1:53 left in the half.
The hosts led 34-23 at the break, and 46-36 after three quarters.
Guthrie picked up steam down the stretch, pulling to within four points (56-52) with 2:43 to go, and again with 15 seconds to go.
Both teams, playing aggressive defense, were in double bonus for much of the fourth. They combined for 32 trips to the charity stripe, of which Shawnee went 11-for-18 and Guthrie went 10-for-14. Bluejay L’liott Curry, who finished with a game-high 21 points, netted the two foul shots that cut Shawnee’s lead to two (63-61) with less than six seconds left to play.
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That, however, ended Guthrie’s share of the scoring.
The Bluejays finished at 13-for-18 on free throws, and picked up four 3-point field goals — including two from Edgar Baez. Baez and Bailey Nichols each finished with 10 points.
Trey Maston paced Shawnee with 18 points, including all three of the Wolves’ connections from beyond the arc. Berry came away with 13 points, and Don Murphy netted a dozen.
Luke Laster was next with nine.
Shawnee was 19-for-31 on foul shots.
The Wolves will resume their season Jan. 8 at Suburban Conference foe El Reno.