CATOOSA – The Shawnee boys saw their season come to an end Thursday with a 72-66 loss to Claremore in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament.
The Wolves saw Claremore back in December and were handed a 67-72 loss, so they knew who they were facing. The Zebras brought in some new attacks of their own though, coach Ron Arthur said.
“They had a couple of other guys who really stepped up for them this afternoon. But we're really proud of our guys for just a tremendous effort,” he said.
The game was back and forth, until the Zebras pulled ahead and stayed on top with their free throw shooting late into the fourth.
The Wolves led by as much as 10 points in the third.
Up 37-36 with 2:40 to go in the third, Brayden McGinnis drained a 3-pointer to kick Shawnee off on a 9-3 run in the third, capped on a trey from Tyler Huebert to go ahead 49-39 late in the quarter. Claremore went on an 8-0 run to the halfway mark of the fourth to take a 58-55 lead and the Wolves could never retake the lead.
Ramey Harrison and LJ McKissick led the Wolves with 17 points apiece. Carson Meier had 13 and Timmy Young finished with 11 points.
The Wolves expect to field a good team again next year, returning four of their five starters, but Young will not be easy to replace.
“Losing Timmy is gonna hurt us,” Arthur said. “He supplies a lot of leadership for us. He supplies a great defensive effort for us, so we're gonna miss him.”
The Wolves added a spark to the program with their efforts this season, and a lot of people took notice.
“They've made a lot of people proud of this program. I've had people from the 1960's teams contact me and congratulating us and wishing us well because they've enjoyed watching our teams play,” Arthur said.
The early exit at the state tournament is a disappointment, but still something to be proud of, Arthur said. The team can hold their heads high knowing they finished as one of the best in the state.
“This is like the Final Four for us... Looking at the last teams that get to practice this week and there's only one team that's going to be able to end on a winning note in the whole state,” Arthur said.
The Wolves finish their season with a 17-9 record.