Big plays in crunch time vaulted the Shawnee Lady Wolves and Wolves into the win column Tuesday night at the SHS Performing Arts and Athletic Center.
Aubrie Megehee scored inside off a feed from Esabelle Ramirez with 29 seconds to go as the Class 5A 17th-ranked Lady Wolves held on for a 43-42 victory over the 16th-ranked Guthrie Lady Bluejays in the opener while Isaiah Willis' put-back shot of a missed free throw with 11.3 seconds left and ensuing free shot to complete an old-fashioned 3-point play enabled the fourth-ranked Wolves to come away with a 51-47 decision over the 11th-ranked Guthrie boys in the nightcap.
The sweep sent the home crowd home happy on 'Senior Night.'
SHAWNEE 43, GUTHRIE 42 (Girls)
The Lady Wolves' only senior Alycia Edwards recorded a steal in the waning seconds to help Shawnee come away with the win.
Over half of Shawnee' scoring came from the bench as junior Alesia Thomas led the way with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, to go with a pair of rebounds and a steal while freshman Amaya Martinez tacked on eight points and grabbed five boards.
“We've been playing a lot with a tag-team mentality,” said Lady Wolves' head coach Wendi Wells. “We don't see it as starters and bench players.”
Ramirez, a starter, tallied 12 points for Shawnee as she was 6-of-9 from the floor. Megehee, who struggled offensively much of the night, ended up with six points, but all of those came after halftime and none was more critical than her last bucket down the stretch.
The Lady Wolves, for the most part, were able to beat Guthrie's full-court pressure. Shawnee, plagued by turnovers in recent games, had only seven Tuesday.
“We have worked a lot at trying to remain calm and making good passes,” Wells said. “I was really pleased with our effort. I thought Tristyn (Napier) had a great game and Alesia stepped up and knocked down some big shots.”
The contest was practically nip-and-tuck throughout the night. The Lady Wolves' largest lead was five in the first quarter (11-6) and the Lady Jays had a five-point advantage (26-21) early in the third quarter.
Shawnee, which improved to 10-12 on the season, had a 39-35 lead with 4:13 to go after back-to-back buckets by Ramirez.
Guthrie actually took a 42-41 advantage off a Madi Jones putback with 41 seconds left.
But that's when Ramirez dished off to a cutting Megehee, who scored with what proved to be the game-winning basket with 29 seconds remaining.
Kyra Wheeler and Anjewl Murillo led the Lady Jay scoring charge with 15 and 14 points respectively.
Neither team was able to get on the board again as the Lady Wolves avenged an earlier season loss to the Lady Jays in a game which ventured into overtime in Guthrie. Shawnee will face Guthrie in the first round of a Class 5A regional at Piedmont on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The next action for Shawnee will be this Friday when the Lady Wolves take on Ponca City at 6:30 p.m. at Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena.
SHAWNEE 51, GUTHRIE 47 (Boys)
Willis, who managed just five points on the night, corralled a free-throw miss and put up a shot off the glass. He drew a foul on the play and nailed the free throw for the conventional 3-point play to make it a four-point game.
The Bluejays tried a long-range shot but Jaylon Orange hustled for the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
“It was a huge play by Isaiah. We had opportunities to get to the free-throw line and didn't cash in, but we were able to get some key offensive rebounds,” said Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur. “We were fortunate to get out with a win. Guthrie is very scrappy.”
The Wolves, who improved to 17-5 on the season, were back to playing closer to full strength after suiting up just eight players in a victory at Piedmont on Friday. Shawnee was without starting senior Ka'Veon Sharp and three reserves in that game due to sickness.
“I thought we were missing some energy and electricity tonight, but I know we're still trying to overcome some sickness,” Arthur said.
Orange paced the Wolves with a game-high 17 points to go with six rebounds and two steals. Senior teammate J'Briell Easley, in his final regular-season home game, nailed 4-of-5 shots from the floor and finished with 10 points, four rebounds and a steal.
Karran Evans and Tanner Morris contributed nine and eight points off the bench for Shawnee. Evans also yanked down eight rebounds while Morris had two rebounds and a pair of steals.
Willis finished with eight boards and blocked two shots in addition to his six points.
The Wolves had a pair of eight-point leads and had a nine-point advantage at one point in the second quarter, but saw scrappy Guthrie stay in contention and even take a 36-35 edge late in the third quarter.
It looked as if Shawnee was going to pull away after breaking a 38-all deadlock through three periods and scoring the first six points of the fourth quarter. Three foul shots by Orange and a 3-point jumper from the left wing by Morris made it 44-38 with 6:51 to go.
But the Bluejays wouldn't go away and even forced a 47-47 tie with 2:13 left. But the Wolves, behind the heroics of Willis, were finally able to put the game away.
TJ Kelly led Guthrie with 13 points and Kade Whorton followed with 10. Luke Morgan and Jaylen Chelf each drained two treys in finishing with six points each for the Bluejays and Richard Doolittle snatched a game-leading 11 rebounds to go with his five points.
Tuesday's game was the regular-season home finale for Easley, Sharp and Moses Martinez.
The Wolves will close out the regular season Friday against Ponca City at OSU's Gallagher-Iba Arena at 8 p.m. Shawnee then hosts a four-team 5A regional on Friday, Feb. 28. The Wolves will square off against Altus at 8 p.m. after Ardmore and Duncan do battle at 6:30 p.m.