Wolves clip Cougars in grinder, 43-38

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor
Shawnee’s Isaiah Willis (left) and Karran Evans (center) swarm Ada’s Jaxson Robinson during action Friday night in Ada.    

ADA – The Shawnee-Ada boys basketball series this season can be simply described as a grinder.

Scoring has been a premium for the two teams but the Class 5A fourth-ranked Shawnee Wolves made just enough plays and hit enough free shots down the stretch in claiming a 43-38 decision over the 4A fifth-ranked Cougars Friday night at the Ada Cougar Activity Center.

Friday’s win resembled an earlier meeting between the two schools on Dec. 20 in Shawnee as the Wolves came away with a 45-35 victory. It was deja vu on Friday with Shawnee getting the sweep in the closely-contested series.

“It was a hard-earned victory against a tough team on their floor,” said Arthur. “We just found a way to grind it out.”

Sophomore Tanner Morris led the Wolves’ attack with 13 points to go with four steals. Teammate and senior KaVeon Sharp followed with 10 points and also had four steals and sophomore Jaylon Orange tacked on nine points, including a pair of 3-point buckets.

Morris was 6-of-11 from the floor with one trey. Sharp went 3-of-6 from the field and was 4-of-5 from the charity stripe and Orange also nailed 3-of-4 free shots.

Once again, Shawnee was forced to offset the talents of Cougar star and 6-foot, 5-inch junior Jaxson Robinson, who like on Dec. 20, registered 19 points. Robinson, who is already drawing recruiting attention from a vast array of NCAA Division I schools, knocked down five 3-point shots in the contest, but his scoring came in spurts, including three 3-point baskets in the opening quarter.

“(Jaxson) is such a talented player. You can’y give him any space. He has a nice touch and quick release,” Arthur said. “Karron (Evans), KaVeon and Jaylon were each up on him. He’s a tough assignment (to guard).”

Robinson was the only double-digit scorer for Ada as Jake Shannon followed with seven points and Kaden Cooper chipped in six.

Shawnee, 5-1 on the season, fell into a 9-4 early hole after the three Robinson treys, but managed to take a 15-12 advantage into the second quarter. A Willis turnaround shot, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Sharp after a steal, along with two Morris jump-shots and a Sharp basket at the buzzer lifted the Wolves to the three-point lead through one.

The Shawnee cushion ballooned to 22-14 at halftime after a sluggish offensive second quarter by both teams. The Wolves outscored the hosts just 7-2 in the period after a rebound and slam by Isaiah Willis made it 17-12. After Ada picked up its only bucket of the period off a Shannon put-back, Morris recorded a steal and layup and this time Orange drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting Shawnee to the eight-point halftime advantage.

The Cougars, however, made it a second-half war, going on an 11-6 run to cut the deficit to 28-25, heading into the fourth. Ada got as close as 32-31 with 3:47 remaining, but the Wolves managed to put the game just out of reach on 9-of-14 shooting from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

In fact, Shawnee closed the final 3:10 of the contest with an 11-7 spurt. The only field goal for the Wolves during that stretch was a steal and layup by Evans with 1:10 left.

Shawnee forced 16 Ada turnovers while ending up with just eight of its own. The Wolves shot 42.8% from the floor overall and the Cougars hit at a 41.9% clip. Shawnee was 10-of-17 from the foul line while Ada was 5-of-6.

The next action for the Wolves will be Tuesday as they entertain Western Heights in only their second home game of the 2019-20 season.