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No. 3 Carl Albert claims area crown over No. 4 Shawnee

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor
Shawnee's Jaylon Orange (3) delivers a pass downcourt with Carl Albert's Quenten Woodson (22) and Jaden Harrell (12) pursuing on defense Friday night in Norman.

NORMAN – Mental toughness will be the focus Saturday night as the fourth-ranked Shawnee Wolves take another crack at a Class 5A State Tournament berth.

Shawnee, 20-6 on the season, was put in that position after dropping a 61-56 decision to the third-ranked Carl Albert Titans Friday night at Norman North High School.

The Titans, 18-7, outscored Shawnee 17-7 in the fourth quarter, closing the game with a 5-0 run in the final 1:15.

“No doubt our effort was there. I have no complaint about the effort,” said Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur. “In the locker room we talked about bringing it. Now our focus is on mental toughness. We have to come back tomorrow and regroup.”

The Wolves will face El Reno for the area runner-up title Saturday at 8 p.m. at Norman North. El Reno eliminated Piedmont Friday night.

Antonio Watson had the go-ahead score with with 1:15 to go and Carl Albert went on to convert 3-of-5 free shots down the stretch.

Shawnee, down 59-56, had a chance to tie it up after a block-out by Isaiah Willis and rebound from J'Briell Easley gave the Wolves a chance. Jaylon Orange's 3-point attempt near the top of the key was rebounded by the Titans' Curtis Rose, who was fouled with 2.1 seconds left.

Rose went on to sink the free shots, giving Carl Albert the five-point margin of victory.

Quinten Woodson paced the Titans with 15 points to go with five rebounds. Woodson was 6-of-9 from the floor and nailed both of his free shots. Rose and Jaden Harrell tallied 12 points each as Harrell knocked down a pair of treys while Rose connected on one. James Locke also canned one 3-pointer on his way to finishing with nine points for the winners. Watson, in a reserve role, chipped in seven points.

Junior post Isaiah Willis, saddled with foul concerns, led the Wolves' scoring with 12 points. Easley followed with 10 points and five rebounds. Jaylon Orange was next with nine points and five boards and Tanner Morris and Karran Evans, off the bench, supplied seven points each.

Joe Maytubby, despite some first-half rust after missing more than a month and a half due to injury, returned to the lineup and had a stout effort with six second-half points to go with a couple of rebounds and a steal.

“Once Joe got the cobwebs out he played great,” Arthur said. “We asked him to go play like a monster and he did on defense.”

Kay'Veon Sharp added the other five points for Shawnee as he grabbed a team-leading six rebounds and had one steal.

The Wolves shot 50% from the floor for the game, but managed only four offensive rebounds on the night. Each team had 23 boards.

Shawnee also had four more turnovers than Carl Albert, 16-12.

The Titans shot 47.8% from the field.

The Wolves took a 26-23 halftime edge off an Evans 3-point jumper at the buzzer. Shawnee went on to build an 11-point lead after a reverse layup by Easley in which he drew a foul on the play and nailed the ensuing free throw to make it 45-34 with 1:55 to go in the third.

However, Carl Albert whittled the lead to five, 49-44, by quarter's end after a Locke basket with :04 remaining.

The Titans then made it an nip-and-tuck affair with an 8-2 run to launch the fourth quarter as Harrell and Rose cranked out back-to-back treys to put Carl Albert on top, 52-51, with 5:03 left.

The Wolves got their final lead at 54-52 when Easley executed a conventional 3-point play with 4:56 left. Shawnee forged one more tie at 56 off an Orange basket.