ADA – It was a case of different opponent; same result for the Shawnee Wolves dropped their fifth straight game in a 59-53 decision Friday afternoon at the East Central Classic.
This time the opponent was the Choctaw Yellowjackets, who controlled the game after overcoming Shawnee's opening outburst.
The Wolves made interesting late by outscoring Choctaw 17-13 in the fourth quarter.
Up to that point the Yellowjackets had maintained a steady lead throughout most of the game.
In the closing moments, the Wolves cut the deficit to three points when senior guard Trey Maston made the score 53-50.
On the next Choctaw possession, Shawnee's defense forced a charge to win the ball back.
Choctaw's travelling fans were incensed at the call.
The Wolves pushed on to get another key three from Maston. This shot, just in front of the Shawnee bench, sent the sitting Wolves and their fans into celebration.
However, the party proved to be a short one as Choctaw took back the lead quickly with a made layup.
Down 55-53, the Wolves went looking for the right shot on their next possession.
After trading a few passes, the Wolves turned the ball over as Choctaw's Houston Jackson intercepted a pass and was fouled with 13.4 seconds to go
The play drew cheers from the Yellowjacket supporters. Jackson then hit both free throws to increase the score to 57-53.
With time winding down, the ball went to Shawnee senior Marquise Tramble. The guard dribbled up the left side of the court briefly before calling a timeout with 9.3 seconds remaining in the game.
Shawnee's players then discussed the plan of attack with head coach Ron Arthur and his staff.
Then, the Wolves were unable to convert a shot coming out of the timeout.
Choctaw senior Dylan Bradley grabbed the rebound and was quickly fouled by two Wolves
with 3.2 seconds to go.
Bradley drained both free throws to make the score 59-53.
With one last chance, Shawnee pushed down the floor in force. Once more the ball found its way into the hands of Maston who tried his luck with a 3-pointer from the left side of the arc. This time the ball clanged off the rim to end the game.
Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur said the whole team was upset by the defeat.
“We've been up big before and lost,” he said. “Being down by double digits our guys wanted to get that kind of win. No one's feeling good about this loss or the last four losses.”
It would have made a difference if they were better at free throw and inside shooting.
The Wolves attacked from the get go on both ends of the floor. Their aggressive play led to an early 9-2 lead. This playing style helped the Wolves pull the Yellowjackets into a frenzied pace in the early going.
Page 2 of 2 - Arthur said part of Shawnee's game plan was to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. “We were in situations where we made some, but missed most of the inside shots,” he said. “In this game here we were 11 of 31 from inside, which is right around where we've been. We had to relax on that pressure a little bit due to foul trouble.”
Shawnee junior Luke Laster was among those scoring in the early going with three points. Laster's defense also led to a lob to senior Don Murphy for an easy layup.
Murphy and Laster each scored again as Shawnee built their early 9-2 lead.
But just like that the Yellowjackets went on a 6-0 run to pull within a point. Choctaw was powered by senior Derrick Pruitt's five points in this stretch.
The first quarter ended with the Yellowjackets up 14-11.
The crowd got louder as the second quarter went on and it may have helped Choctaw seize -control of the game. The Yellowjackets outscored the Wolves 17-11 in the second quarter. As such, Choctaw had a 31-22 advantage at the break.
Things were quieter to start the second half although Shawnee gave up an early score before senior TJ Blochowiak scored on a sweeping one handed put back.
Shawnee was able to find more success from the free throw line in the third quarter as the game remained a physical battle.
The Wolves cut the Yellowjackets' lead to 42-36 as the third quarter neared its end. However, two quick baskets by Choctaw made it 46-36 to end the period.
Maston was the lone wolf to score in double digits with 15 points. Other Shawnee players came close to double digits with Murphy and Tramble among those. Murphy had 9 points and Tramble had 8 points.
Bradley led Choctaw with 13 points while Jackson added 12 points for the Yellowjackets.
Maston said the team is in a bit of a slump right now, but that they will get out of it.
“We're just not finishing [shots],” he said. “I think we're expecting to get fouled. We need to go up and not worry about getting fouled. Right now it's not about the game of basketball. We just need to come together and not give up on each other”
Shawnee moves on to the 7th place game today at 11:30 a.m.