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Wolves drill Durant in tournament opener, 55-25

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor

ADA – Limiting turnovers and creating many for the opposition has been a staple for the Shawnee Wolves this season.

Such was the case Thursday as Shawnee forced 29 Durant turnovers while collecting 14 steals in rolling to a 55-25 rout of the Lions in the opening round of the East Central Oklahoma Classic at Ada High School.

Sophomore guard Jaylon Orange was the catalyst on both ends of the floor with a team-leading four steals to go with a game-high 15 points. Orange knocked down three treys and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.

Tanner Morris, another Shawnee sophomore, added 10 points to go with a pair of steals.

As if that wasn’t enough, 6-foot, 5-inch junior post Isaiah Willis and reserve Jeffery Hall recorded three steals each.

“We did a great job. Their two big guys are tough to guard. They’re physical and one of them can go out and take a long shot,” said Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur. “We did a good job of scrapping and flying around out there.”

KaVeon Sharp added eight points while three more Wolves – starter J’Briell Easley, along with reserves Moses Martinez and Karran Evans - tacked on six points apiece as Martinez drained a pair of 3-point baskets to go with a team-leading seven rebounds.

Shawnee, which improved to 7-1 on the season, raced out to an early 9-2 lead but saw Durant cut the deficit to 11-9 to start the second quarter.

From there, the Wolves’ relentless pressure led to a 14-0 run, sparked by a tip-in from Evans. Orange followed with a 3-point jumper off a kick-out pass from Sharp and then Easley slammed home a feed from Sharp to make it 18-9.

Two Orange free shots, a Morris basket and another Orange trey spiked the Shawnee advantage to 25-9 with 3:30 left before halftime.

The Wolves then took a 29-12 advantage into the halftime locker room after Martinez canned a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining.

Orange had 10 of his points before the break while Morris had eight to lead the offensive flow.

Shawnee then put the game way out of reach with an 11-0 spurt at the outset of the second half. Another Orange trey, back-to-back Sharp baskets, a Morris jumper and an Easley basket off a Sharp pass made it 40-12 with 3:46 left in third.

Two free throws and a basket by Evans in the final 2:03 enabled the Wolves to take a 44-14 cushion into the fourth.

Sharp and Morris were credited with three assists each while Martinez dished off two.

Shawnee faces Broken Bow today at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals. Broken Bow was a 61-56 first-round winner over Newcastle on Thursday.