Shane Johnson got a little song in his head, a little rhythm in his step, a little confidence in his shot and went off for 18 points coming off the Shoemaker bench.
Killeen answered with a seldom-used but inspired Damariel Baker.
But Johnson and the Grey Wolves quashed Killeen’s third-quarter rally by scoring the final four points of the third and 10 of the first 17 of the fourth to handily beat the Roos 67-54 on Tuesday night at Killeen.
“I have the same attitude (coming off the bench), I’m supportive of my team,” Johnson said. “If I’m coming off the bench, I’m coming off the bench. If I’m starting, I’m starting. I’m still going to do what I’ve got to do to help the team out.”
Shoemaker (21-7, 6-2 8-5A) used an 11-0 run in the opening three minutes of the second half to balloon a seven-point halftime lead to 41-23.
“I thought we had a great first quarter on both ends and that kind of got us an early lead and after that, we played hard in spurts — I guess we played so well in the first quarter, that gave us a cushion, which I guess is human nature when you have a slight lead,” Shoemaker coach Marc Minatrea said.
The Runnin’ Roos (15-14, 4-4) followed with a 13-4 run, sparked by a Baker layup with 4:41 left in the quarter, but Renard Thomas and Sean Causey each scored layups after Killeen turnovers to give the Grey Wolves a 49-36 lead going into the fourth. Killeen made just three of its first eight shots of the fourth as Shoemaker pulled away for a 59-43 lead following Causey’s transition layup with 4:02 left.
“We just started off bad and never recovered,” said Killeen coach Reggie Huggins. “We fought back, our guys fought, especially in that third quarter ... but, again, the mistakes — we take a play off, take another play off — and the next thing we know they’ve got it back up to 13.”
Thomas finished with 14 points for the Grey Wolves and Paris Yerry added 11. Baker finished with 14 points to lead Killeen. DeVarri McCray hit four 3-pointers and scored 13 points and Melvin Anthony and Brian Long added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“I’ve practiced a lot harder than ever before and that gave me more playing time on the court, which led me to score more,” Baker said. “I’m tired of just sitting on the bench. I need to look and aspire to more in life and I realized I need to try my best every time I step on the court.”
The Grey Wolves jumped out to an 18-4 lead in the first 5½ minute of the game, getting six from Johnson in a two-minute span during an 11-0 run.
Baker scored seven in the second, including five straight after Killeen fell behind 24-12 to spark a 7-0 run that trimmed the lead to 24-19 on Long’s layup with 4:04 left in the first half.
Johnson hit one of two from the free-throw line, Andre Halliburton scored on a put-back and Thomas drilled a 3-pointer with 2:13 left to put the Grey Wolves’ back up 30-21. Baker scored on a jumper off an offensive rebound to cut that to 31-23 at halftime.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562