Shawnee drops 30-24 decision to host Ada in tourney finals

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor
Shawnee’s Tanner Morris (22) is guarded by Ada’s Kaden Cooper (11) Saturday night in the championship game of the East Central Oklahoma Classic at Ada High School.    

ADA – The Shawnee Wolves’ relentless defense, with their double-team traps, showed up as usual Saturday night in the finals of the East Central Oklahoma Classic.

Unfortunately, the offense didn’t as Class 5A fourth-ranked Shawnee was on the short end of a 30-24 score with 4A sixth-ranked Ada at the Ada Cougar Activity Center.

“We left our offense back in Shawnee,” said Shawnee head coach Ron Arthur. “It was one of those games and it wasn’t quite our night. Their length made it tough for us to score.”

Indeed the Wolves’ offense didn’t appear to make it as they converted just five field goals in 29 attempts (17%) the entire night. But despite those shooting woes, Shawnee still had its chances, thanks to superb defense. But poor free-throw shooting was the team’s demise as the Wolves were only 12-of-24 (50%).

“Missed free throws, that was the obvious glaring number,” Arthur said. “You’ve got to be able to knock them down.”

The loss snapped a five-game winning string as the Wolves fell to 8-2 on the season. Shawnee had beaten Ada twice this season in a home-and-home series, but couldn’t capture that third-time charm on Saturday.

There were no double-figure scorers in the game as Kaden Cooper, Wyatt Brown and Jaxson Robinson led the Cougar effort with nine, eight and seven respectively. J’Briell Easley was the high scorer for Shawnee with seven and Karran Evans collected five off the bench.

Ada shot just 30% and were forced into 18 turnovers which led to nine steals for the Wolves. KaVeon Sharp had three of those thefts while Easley had two to lead the way.

“Our defense really kept us in it,” said Arthur.

The Cougars did manage to knock down their charity tosses in going 11-of-14 (78.6%) as they were a perfect 6-of-6 in the final 1:44 to break a 24-all deadlock. Robinson, Trey Havens and Brown each converted their two free shots during that span to preserve the victory.

The Wolves committed 15 turnovers of their own and were out-rebounded by a 30-20 margin. Cooper had eight boards for Ada and Joe Maytubby led Shawnee with five.

“Overall, I was proud of our effort. It was a tough three days and we played really good Broken Bow (semifinal win) and Ada teams back-to-back,” Arthur said. “It was the second time we played Ada on their home court in eight days.”

Shawnee fell into an 11-2 first-quarter hole and were down 11-5 at the end of that period.

Down 13-5, the Wolves managed to forge a 15-all halftime tie after an Easley steal and dunk, an Easley 3-point basket, an Evans trey and Tanner Morris free throw.

On three occasions in the second half, Shawnee managed to grab two-point leads but couldn’t get any more separation.

Morris and Jaylon Orange were each named to the all-tournament team for the Wolves while Brown, Jake Shannon and David Johnson were named from Ada. Robinson was selected as the most valuable player for the Cougars.

Shawnee will visit Guthrie for a Suburban Conference clash tonight.