SHAWNEE – Shawnee's Chase Morris drained a late go-ahead 3-pointer but a putback by Stillwater's Isaac Fox proved to be the differentiator in a 56-55 Wolves loss Friday in the first round of the consolation bracket of the 2017 Shawnee Invitational.
“There was a lot of heart and effort that went into that right there,” Shawnee coach Ron Arthur said.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, losing to Stillwater was familiar territory, having come up short against them last year in the tournament as well – that one a two point overtime loss.
The Wolves trailed 49-39 with 3:47 left to play before Shaun Willis landed a pair of buckets to kick off a 16-5 run capped on Morris' trey to take a 55-54 lead with 45 seconds remaining.
Arthur had four starters with four fouls in the final minutes that had him swapping out offense and defense every opportunity he had.
“It's tough to go in there and follow that role... those guys did a great job of going in there and making plays,” he said.
Shawnee went into the half with a 25-24 lead that was quickly extended on two free-throws by LJ McKissick but Stillwater rallied with a 14-5 run to lead 38-32 after the third. They continued on with four more unanswered points before Morris drained a triple to stop the bleeding.
It was a back-and-forth game, particularly in the first half where McKissick hit his second free-throw with 15 seconds left to take a 25-22 lead. David-Paul Caldwell hit a layup at the buzzer to make it a one-point difference at the halfway point.
Willis led all scorers with 18 points, Morris had 17 and McKissick put in eight. McKissick was 6-8 from the line for the majority of his points, Willis was 3-4 and Morris had three shots land from beyond the arc.
Alec Noftsger led Stillwater with 11 points, Caldwell had 10 and Simon Devlin and Lamont Evans had nine apiece.
Daryl Busby made his first start of the year after Ramey Harrison had to miss the game for personal reasons and Carson Meier was out sick. The game was the latest in a string for the Wolves where they have been minus at least one starter, but the bench has stepped up.
“Everyone has a role and everyone has a responsibility, and sometimes roles change,” Arthur said. “And when roles change you obviously have to adapt to them to the best of your ability. And that's to our guys' credit for going out there and competing to the highest level that they can possibly compete, and that's all we ask from them.”
Shawnee will square off with Northwest Classen Saturday at 11:30 in the seventh-place game.