Entering the 2019-20 season, head coach Ron Arthur thought his Shawnee High School boys' basketball squad could play some defense.
The Wolves certainly clamped down on the defensive end Friday night, particularly in the second half. The Ada Cougars went scoreless in the final 4:54 of the game as Shawnee posted a 45-35 victory at the SHS Performing Arts and Athletic Center.
In the girls' game, Aubrie Megehee nailed a running jumper in the lane with 12 seconds to go as the Lady Wolves edged Ada, 33-32.
The Wolves, 4-1 on the season, actually trailed 33-31 in the first minute of the fourth quarter but went on to outscore Ada, 14-4, in the period and secure the win in their home opener.
Shawnee went on a 12-2 run in the final 6:51 in coming close to keeping the Cougars off the board.
Ada star Jaxson Robinson, who poured in a game-high 19 points, had 16 of those in the first half as the Wolves managed to contain the 6-foot, 5-inch junior over the final two quarters.
“It was a combination effort in guarding him. J'Briell (Easley) did an excellent job and Ka'Veon (Sharp) moved over on him and did well. They were able to drape over him, but he's a tough player to guard,” said Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur. “Our guys gutted it out. This team can play defensive and it showed tonight.”
Two Wolves reached double figures as Tanner Morris led the way with 11 points, including three treys, and Joe Maytubby tallied 10 points off the bench to go with 10 rebounds for a double-double. Morris was 4-of-7 from the floor and Maytubby finished 5-of-7.
One critical factor in the game was the play of 5-9 sophomore point guard Jaylon Orange, who tallied eight points, including one 3-point basket, and nailed 3-of-4 free throws, but more importantly showed the ability to break down Ada's defense.
“He handles the ball so well, has width and is so strong,” Arthur said. “He can go inside and when the defensive collapses, he has the ability to dump the ball off or kick it out.”
After the Cougars had taken a 33-31 to start the fourth, Shawnee responded on the other end when Easley soared in for a slam dunk and Orange spotted up for a trey off a pass from Karran Evans to put the Wolves on top for good at 36-33.
Though Ada got a Robinson bucket to trim it to 36-35, that was the Cougars' last successful scoring effort.
Shawnee closed the game with a 9-0 run as six of those points came from Maytubby, who had back-to-back scores off a put-back shot and a drive to the basket to make it 40-35 with 3:49 remaining. Orange knocked down two free shots with 3:17 left. Then Maytubby got a steal and executed a layup on the other end to make it 44-35 with 2:36 to go.
Orange hit 1-of-2 free throws with 23 seconds left to wrap up the game's scoring.
Trey Havens, off a pair of treys, finished with six points for the Cougars and teammate Kaden Cooper had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots to go with his two points.
The Wolves' next action will be Jan. 3 at Ada.
Bench production was the key for the Lady Wolves in the opener Friday.
Twenty-one of Shawnee's 33 points came from reserves as Esabelle Ramirez led the way with 10 points. Amaya Martinez, also off the bench, added eight points and eight boards. Megehee led the Lady Wolves' starters with six, including her game-winning bucket.
Shawnee was able to overcome 21 turnovers, nine of which came in the first quarter alone.
Landyn Owens paced the Lady Cougars with 10 points. Amaya Frizell followed with eight points and Alexus Hamilton chipped in seven.
Ada, which had a 24-17 advantage at one point in the third quarter had to settle for a 26-all tie heading into the fourth.
Megehee, who was scoreless in the first half, tallied four points during a 9-0 run in the final 3:07 of the third quarter to pull Shawnee back into contention. Tristyn Napier had a steal and layup during that stretch and Martinez sank 3-of-4 free shots, including 2-of-2 with one second left to force the 26-26 deadlock through three quarters.
Owens' basket with 3:44 to go gave the Lady Cougars a 32-29 edge, but Shawnee chipped away at the foul line, despite some misses, to clip the Ada lead to 32-31 with 54 seconds remaining.
Megehee's game-winner came after she pump-faked to the left and cut to right in the lane to nail the five-footer.
Defensively, the Lady Wolves were able to knock the ball out twice on the Lady Cougars' final possession. An off-balance shot at the buzzer glazed the rim as Ada came up empty.
Shawnee's girls, 3-2 on the season, will face Western Heights on Dec. 26 in the Duncan Tournament at 1 p.m.