ORLAND, FLA. — The Shawnee Wolves' overcame any signs of jet lag by claiming a 72-57 win Thursday over the Fountain Valley (CA.) Barons in their first game at the KSA Pre Holiday Classic.
Junior forward Luke Laster led the way for Shawnee with 18 points.
Junior guard Austin Cooper and senior guard Trey Maston were the other Wolves who scored in double figures. Cooper had 16 points while Maston added 13 points.
Other scorers for Shawnee were senior forward Don Murphy with 9 points, senior forward TJ Blochowiak with 6 points, senior guard Marquese Tramble with five points, sophomore guard Antonio Garza with three points and sophomore guard Jackson Winrow with two points.
The Wolves faced some challenges to open tournament play.
First, their opponents used a combination of full court press and half court man on defense.
Shawnee Head Basketball Coach Ron Arthur was satisfied with his team's response on offense.
“We handled their style of defense well for the most part,” he said.
Arthur added that the Wolves found a weakness in the Barons' defense to the tune of 44 points from 22 lay-ups.
“We scored so many lay-ups because they pressed full court and used a half court man to man trapping defense,” he said. “Whenever we were able to break the press we were able to get lay-ups.”
The second challenge the Barons presented was in the way they used their substitutions.
Arthur said Fountain Volley utilized an unusual rotation throughout the game.
“Five would come in and five would go out,” he said.
Although this line change substitution method may be out of place at a basketball game, the Wolves handled it.
“I thought we did a great job communicating whenever they substituted frequently,” Arthur said.
Of the players that appeared in the game for Fountain Valley, nine of them scored. Meanwhile, only seven players got on the board for Shawnee.
Jordan Venters scored 13 points to lead the Barons. Other scorers for Fountain Valley included Calvin Le with 12 points, Cory Bitzer with 9 points and Richard Le with 7 points.
Most of the Barons' offense came courtesy of three pointers. The California-based squad connected on 15 long-range shots including nine in the second half. LeCalvin led the Barons' three-point barrage with four such shots of his own.
Although both teams found their own ways to score, neither outfit shot particularly well from the free throw line.
Shawnee was 5 of 17 from the charity stripe while Fountain Valley was 2 of 7.
Arthur was to the point about his team's free throw shooting.
“We still need to shoot better from the free throw line,” he said.
However, that wasn't the last word from the team's leader.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm very proud of the effort by each and every player this afternoon,” Arthur said.
Tournament play resumes this morning for the Wolves. Shawnee takes on Deep Run (Va.) at 9:30 a.m. Eastern in a winners' bracket semifinal game.
Other teams competing in the tournament are East Islip, (N.Y.), Roy C. Ketchum (N.Y.), St. Francis Catholic (Ont., Can.) West Mifflin (Pa.) and Yulee (Fla.).
Note: Report compiled by Matt Caban.