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Choctaw upends Wolves in semifinals, 64-53

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor
Shawnee’s KaVeon Sharp (left) drives the basketball against the defense of Choctaw’s Eric Gooden II (3) Friday night.    

The deceptive Choctaw Yellowjackets were too much for the Shawnee Wolves to handle Friday night in the semifinals of the Vision Bank Shawnee Invitational at the SHS Athletic Center.

Five Choctaw players scored in double figures in a balanced attack as the long and athletic Yellowjackets secured a 64-53 semifinal victory over Shawnee.

“They’re long, athletic and can score it,” said Wolves’ head coach Ron Arthur. “Their record (now 8-7) is deceiving because of who they play. Choctaw executed better offensively than we did defensively. We had some uncharacteristic mistakes.”

Terrill Davis paced a balanced scoring attack for the Yellowjackets with 13, Raul Nunez added 12 off the bench and Louis Gurley, Sean Franklin and Jrodan Mukes finished with 11 apiece.

Meanwhile, Shawnee had three of its players reach the double-digit scoring plateau as KaVeon Sharp led the way with 15 to go with a pair of steals. J’Briell Easley added 13 points and two massive blocked shots and Isaiah Willis posted up for 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Tanner Morris chipped in eight points, including a pair of treys, to go with four rebounds and two steals. Karran Evans added four points and four boards off the bench and Jaylon Orange popped in one 3-point shot.

For the game, the Wolves were plagued by 17 turnovers while Choctaw had just nine.

The Yellowjackets shot 45.5% from the floor and Shawnee was at 46.7%. However, Choctaw had more field goals (25-21). Both teams shot well from the charity stripe as the Yellowjackets were 9-of-12 (75%) while the Wolves were 8-of-11 (72.7%).

The two teams were deadlocked early at 6-6, before Choctaw reeled off nine straight points for a 15-6 lead as it settled for a 15-8 cushion through one quarter.

Six straight points by Shawnee late in the second – two free shots each from Easley and Morris, along with a put-back shot by Easley – pulled the Wolves within 28-25 with 1:07 to go before halftime. The Yellowjackets went on to settle for the 3-point halftime lead, 30-27.

The Wolves were unable to get closer than three the entire second half.

“Our effort was there. I really liked our effort,” Arthur said. “I told the guys after the game the best we can do is third and we need to put this behind us.”

Shawnee, 11-3 on the season, is set to face El Reno in the third-place game Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Norman North knocked off El Reno, 54-50, in Friday’s other semifinal contest.