Wolves punch their ticket for Class 5A State Tournament

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
The Shawnee Wolves pose with their area runner-up trophy after knocking off host Tulsa Kelley 60-51 Saturday night.
Shawnee's Karran Evans (24) handles the ball against Tulsa Kelley Saturday night.

TULSA – For the second straight year, the Shawnee Wolves punched their ticket for the Class 5A Boys' State Basketball Tournament.

This time, Shawnee is looking forward to getting to play.

Jaylon Orange fired in 21 points, Tanner Morris tossed in 13 and Karran Evans had 12 as Shawnee knocked off host Tulsa Bishop Kelley 60-51 to capture a Class 5A area runner-up title, thus qualifying for state.

It was a year ago in which the Wolves qualified for state but weren't able to play due to COVID-19, which wiped out state tournaments from Classes 2A through 6A.

“I'm so excited for them, especially after what happened last year,” said first-year Shawnee head coach Paxton Kilby. “They worked hard for it again this year. It's a God thing to be here with this group this year.”

The Wolves shot 46.1% for the game and did so while connecting on only two 3-point attempts. The Comets hit at 45.6% pace and converted five treys.

Neither team put on a foul-shot clinic as Shawnee was only 8 of 15 while Bishop Kelley was just 6 of 13.

Leading 45-41 through three quarters, the Wolves made just enough big plays and hit enough foul shots to come away with the victory and state tournament berth.

“I think our experience helped a lot,” Kilby said. “We valued our possessions, got good looks and got to the rim.”

Orange had one of his most efficient games of the year, hitting 10 of his 20 field-goal attempts and grabbed seven rebounds to boot. Part of his effectiveness was getting inside and delivering in traffic.

“I really couldn't get my jump-shot going,” said Orange. “When I'm not hitting, I've got to find another way to score.”

Morris finished 5 of 8 from the floor, including one trey, and hit both of his free throws, which both completed old-fashioned 3-point plays. He also pulled down five rebounds and totaled three steals.

Evans ended up with five rebounds and a pair of steals to go with his 12 points.

All of the Shawnee scoring came from the starters.

Joe Maytubby and Isaiah Willis each tallied seven points as Maytubby yanked down 11 boards and Willis grabbed eight. Willis also recorded two steals.

The Wolves owned a 38-24 rebounding advantage and had 14 boards on the offensive end.

Shawnee took control of the game late in the third quarter. Trailing 39-36, the Wolves went on a 9-2 run in the final 2:20 of the period to take a 45-41 lead into the fourth.

Willis' put-back shot pulled Shawnee within 39-38. Seconds later, Maytubby executed a conventional 3-point play after drawing a foul. Evans knocked down a shot with 44 seconds remaining and Orange scored just before the buzzer.

The Wolves were clinging to a 49-46 edge when they closed the game with an 11-5 spurt. Morris' 3-pointer off an Orange assist made it 52-46 with 4:43 left. Evans nailed 1 of 2 foul shots with 4:21 to go and Orange hit a shot with 4:03 remaining to hike the Shawnee advantage to 55-46.

The Comets got back-to-back buckets from Thomas Dee, the first of which was a trey, to get within 55-51. The Wolves then scored the final five points of the contest to clinch it. Evans hit a field goal and later nailed two free shots and Orange hit a free shot.