Morris sparks Wolves to 60-51 semifinal win over Ardmore

Brian Johnson
Shawnee's Jaylon Orange (3) attempts to drive past Ardmore's DD Coleman Friday during semifinal action of the East Central Oklahoma Classic at Ada High School.

ADA – Tanner Morris poured in 21 points and knocked down five 3-point shots and Isaiah Willis had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Class 5A fifth-ranked Shawnee Wolves held on for a 60-51 victory over Ardmore Friday in the semifinals of the East Central Oklahoma Classic at Ada High School.

Shawnee (6-2) advanced to play in Saturday night's 8:30 championship game.

“It was a battle. It's a credit to our guys for showing up and competing their tails off and you have to credit Ardmore for doing the same,” said Shawnee head coach Paxton Kilby. “It was one of the toughest teams we will see this year.”

The Wolves withstood a bothersome press and 21 turnovers to crash the boards in massive fashion. Shawnee totaled 48 rebounds, including 18 off the offensive glass.

Off the bench, Kayden Shaw grabbed 10 boards to go with his eight points. Starter Jaylon Orange struggled offensively but managed to snatch nine rebounds to go with two points and Joe Maytubby collected seven boards to go with his nine points and two steals. Morris also hustled for seven rebounds and had a pair of steals.

The much-needed offensive sparks came from Morris and Willis, particularly down the stretch. Morris drained all three of his field-goal tries, including two treys, in the final 4:23 which helped keep the Tigers at a distance.

Morris was 8-of-16 from the floor with his five 3-point jumpers.

“Tanner is a gamer. He was shooting in the middle of the day before we got on the bus,” Kilby said. “The kid stepped up and hit some big-time shots at crucial moments.”

Ironically, Willis' boarding led to put-backs or extra possessions as 10 of his 12 rebounds came on the offensive end.

One critical factor in the fourth quarter was Maytubby and Willis working a high-low post game which resulted in Willis scoring six points to keep Shawnee on top.

“We were trying to do that earlier but their pressure rattled us a bit. We took too many quick shots and had turnovers,” said Kilby.

The two teams were deadlocked at 14 through one quarter, before the Wolves opened up leads of six and seven points before settling for a 34-29 halftime advantage. Morris hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter, Willis scored off a put-back shot, Demetress Beavers nailed two free throws and a trey and Shaw scored off an offensive rebounds and later scored off a Morris assist.

In the third with Shawnee leading 34-31, the Wolves appeared to pull away with a 7-0 spurt off a Morris layup, a Shaw dunk which resulted in a conventional 3-point play and a Willis put-back basket to make it 41-31 with 2:52 remaining in the third.

But, Ardmore responded with an 8-0 run to close the period and pull within 41-39. Jordyn Brown and Chadre McGee eack cranked out a 3-pointer sandwiched around Dakaree Scott 2-point bucket. McGee's off-balance connection at the buzzer came from around 26 feet out.

The Tigers even took a momentary 42-41 edge to start the fourth, but the Wolves quickly broke the Ardmore press when Shaw fired the ball to Jeffery Hall, who took it to the hoop for a layup and drew the foul. Hall converted the ensuing free shot to make it 44-42. Shawnee never trailed again.

Hall's old-fashioned 3-point play ignited a 10-2 surge over the next two-plus minutes as the Wolves controlled the game the rest of the way.

Willis hit a bucket, Morris scored as well and Willis executed a conventional 3-point play off as Maytubby feed to make it 51-444 with 5:18 remaining.

Morris went on to nail two spot-up 3-pointers, both off Orange assists, as Shawnee maintained separation.

Scott, off the bench, led Ardmore with 15 points and Brown, a starter, tossed in 10. McGee was next with eight points.

Westmoore 40, Shawnee 32 (Girls Semifinal)

A gutsy fourth-quarter comeback by the Lady Wolves was not enough as the Lady Jags held on for the win.

Shawnee trailed by as many as 11 points at halftime and 15 at the 6:37 mark of the third quarter, but chipped away to pull within 26-19 by the end of the period.

Three treys – one by Tristyn Napier and two from Amaya Martinez - closed the gap to seven.

That late third-quarter surge carried over to the early portion of the fourth as the Lady Wolves opened the last period with a 9-5 run to pull within 31-28. Napier had the opening bucket of the fourth, Aubrie Megehee scored twice off assists from Anneca Anderson and Martinez and Napier drained a 3-pointer to get the Lady Wolves within three.

However, Shawnee was unable to get closer as Westmoore held on for the eight-point decision.

Both teams shot poorly as the Lady Wolves were only at 27.9% while the Lady Jags were just slightly better at 30.8%.

Albony Bryles topped Westmoore with 10 points while Jaiden Smith and Ryan Franklin supplied nine apiece.

Megehee and Napier each tallied 10 points to pace Shawnee and Martinez ended up with nine. Napier and Martinez each sank two treys for the 13th-ranked Lady Wolves, who fell to 4-5 with the loss.

Shawnee did own a 34-28 rebounding advantage, but the Lady Wolves took advantage of the situation from the foul line as they were only 4 of 13. The Lady Jags were 9 of 14 from the charity stripe.

Megehee, Kailey Henry, Napier and Martinez each pulled down seven boards to lead the way.

Shawnee was playing without two starters – Hallie Wilson and Tatum Sparks – due to injuries.

The Lady Wolves were scheduled to play in the third-place game Saturday at 4 p.m.