Highlanders shoot down Wolves in first round of state

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Shawnee's Demetress Beavers (right) guards Lawton MacArthur's Danquez Dawsey during the first round of the Class 5A Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Owasso High School.

OWASSO – Sometimes it comes down to making big shots and the Lawton MacArthur Highlanders certainly did Thursday night in the first round of the Class 5A Boys' State Basketball Tournament.

A three-headed monster consisting of seniors Brandon Cowan and Danquez Dawsey, along with junior Arzhonte Dallas, accounted for 64 of MacArthur's points in the Highlanders' 88-73 victory over the Shawnee Wolves at Owasso High School.

“You have to give them credit...what a good team. They played hard and shot the ball so, so well. It was a tough matchup,” said Paxton Kilby, who wrapped up his first season as Shawnee's head coach with a 16-7 record.

The cat-quick Highlanders shot 52% for the game, including 55.6% in the second half as Cowan led the way with 24 points, followed by Dallas with 21 and Dawsey with 19.

Cowan was 9 of 19 from the field while making two 3-pointers. Dallas was 9 of 15 with three treys and Dawsey ended up 8 of 16 despite having foul trouble in the first half.

“Even when we forced them to take tough shots, they would make them,” Kilby said. “Those were shots we wanted them to take.”

Marty Perry added 12 points for MacArthur.

Four Wolves reached double figures in a losing cause. Junior Tanner Morris led the way with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Senior Isaiah Willis closed out a magnificent career with 16 points and nine rebounds to go with four blocked shots.

Karran Evans, also a senior, posted a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards to wrap up his career and junior Jaylon Orange finished with 13 points, including three treys. Shawnee's other starter, senior Joe Maytubby, finished with eight points and pulled down a whopping 15 rebounds in his career finale.

“This was my first year with these kids. They took me in without hesitation,” said Kilby. “They worked their tails off. They earned the right to be here.”

The Wolves shot just 40% from the field for the game and were 13 of 22 from the foul line.

Shawnee held a 48-31 rebounding advantage, but the Highlanders made up for the difference by hitting their shots and at times breaking down the Wolves' defense which played considerably well.

The Wolves were down 15-8 late in the first before Willis dunked the ball at the buzzer, drew the foul and hit the ensuing free throw to pull Shawnee within 15-11.

Down by six, 25-19, the Wolves took a short-lived 26-25 edge after Evans nailed back-to-back baskets and Orange drilled the second of his three treys with 5:09 to go before halftime. Shawnee led again 28-27 off a Kayden Shaw bucket with 3:44 remaining before the break.

Shawnee forged one more tie at 30-30 off an Orange basket but the Highlanders closed the half with a 10-6 run to grab a 40-36 lead at intermission.

The Wolves managed to tie MacArthur one more time at 44-all in the third when Orange scored off an Evans assist with 5:16 left in the period.

However, MacArthur outscored Shawnee 17-8 in the final 5:03 of the third to take control. The Highlanders took a 61-52 advantage into the fourth. Maytubby's score off a Willis feed got the Wolves within 61-54, but Shawnee was unable to get closer.

Shaw finished with four points for the Wolves while Jeffery Hall and Demetress Beavers had one bucket apiece.

The loss marked the career finale for six seniors – Maytubby, Evans, Willis, Hall, Beavers and Christian Petterson.

“We had a very good senior group and I'm confident that they will turn out to be good men,” Kilby said.