PFLUGERVILLE — The Shoemaker Grey Wolves learned one thing from the opening game at the Pflugerville Panther Holiday Classic.
When you’re taking on the host team, the final eight minutes can be the most crucial.
Despite a team-high 15 points from Shane Johnson, the Shoemaker Grey Wolves couldn’t overcome a rough fourth quarter and fell to the Pflugerville Panthers 57-45 on Thursday at the Pflugerville High gym.
“Our intensity let down and their intensity went up,” Johnson said about the fourth quarter. “This is definitely a learning experience. This shouldn’t have happened and we’ll never let up like that again.”
The Grey Wolves (4-2) continue tournament play in the blue division today at noon against Waco University and at 5 p.m. against Corpus Christi Carroll.
Shoemaker took a 37-34 lead into the fourth quarter, but the host team closed out the game, outscoring the Grey Wolves 23-8.
“You can’t turn over the ball and not get back on defense when you turn it over,” Shoemaker guard Tyrone Williams said.
Shoemaker got on the court for the first time in 10 days; its last contest a loss to Round Rock Cedar Ridge 74-59. The Grey Wolves were scheduled to play in the Mansfield Legacy Tournament last weekend before it was canceled due to inclement weather.
“It could have been fatigue mentally,” Shoemaker coach Emund Prichett said. “We didn’t finish.”
Torrenzo Saunders added 10 points for Shoemaker as the teams battled from the get-go.
Neither team held a lead larger than four points as the Panthers (9-3) led 13-9 with 1:39 left in the first and the Grey Wolves had a 21-17 advantage 2:55 before the halftime break.
The teams played to seven ties and 10 lead changes in the first 26:40 of play before Panther forward Nosa Ebomwonyi hit consecutive 3-pointers to turn a three-point Shoemaker lead into a 42-39 Pflugerville advantage with 5:20 remaining.
“It felt great to play again, but we’ve got to get the win,” Johnson said. “It always feels great to be back and getting better.”
Ebomwonyi’s baskets from beyond the arc sparked a 14-1 Pflugerville run that gave the Panthers control of the game.
Although the Grey Wolves shot 57 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, they were only able to get seven shots off in the final frame and hit four of those.
Prichett said the game should serve as a learning experience and the important thing is to focus on the positives and get ready to continue tournament play in less than 14 hours.
“I think we got better tonight so I’ll take that positive note and try to keep working,” Prichett said.