SHAWNEE – It was another close win for Shawnee Tuesday night in their last home game of the regular season. The No. 6 in Class 5A Wolves narrowly held off No. 20 Piedmont with a 40 percent free throw percentage down the stretch to close out the 48-47 win.
“Even though we weren't 100 percent from the free-throw line, we still got to the free-throw line. That was big in that type of game where the offense was a little stagnant,” coach Ron Arthur said.
Carson Meier missed both of his free throws with 9.4 seconds to go and a 48-47 lead to give Piedmont one more shot at victory. As the Wildcats passed the ball around looking for an open shot, LJ McKissick got a steal to seal the win for the Wolves.
The steal was the culmination of a to and fro game between the two teams that saw several lead changes as Shawnee had two starters out of the lineup. Chase Morris and Ramey Harrison were unable to contribute due to both boys being sick. In their place bench players Brayden McGinnis and Tyler Huebert were given the starts.
The steal was just one of several key defensive plays from the Wolves to close out the game.
“Defensively down the stretch when we needed to make some stops, we made some big time stops,” Arthur said.
The teams traded leads throughout the first half, until Piedmont rallied with a six point closeout to lead 24-20 at the midway point. The Wildcats put on four more to kick off the second half for their biggest lead of the contest before McKissick spearheaded a few small runs, culminating in a couple of courtesy tosses from Timmy Young.
With 18.8 seconds left in the third, Young came up with an offensive board and found himself at the line, sinking both shots to give the Wolves a 36-35 lead – their first since the 3:07 mark in the second quarter.
The advantage never went back to the Wildcats, but it wasn't from lack of trying – just one shot from the lead for the majority of the fourth.
Meier led the Wolves with 13 points and McKissick put up 12. Young contributed six and was 4-4 from the line and McGinnis put up eight in his first varsity start.
Piedmont saw three double-digit scorers in Peyton Sage and Dylan Hahn with 14 apiece and Rylan McDaniel had 11.
Ultimately, Arthur said, the key to winning was just keeping collected throughout the game.
“We didn't lose our focus, we didn't lose our ambition to keep fighting. We did a really good job of just staying calm,” he said.
The Wolves (13-7) travel to Guthrie Friday for their final game of the regular season. They will host Altus Friday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. for their playoff opener.