COPPERAS COVE — It is not enough for Shane Johnson.
Despite scoring 20 points, leading his team in rebounding and hitting clutch shots in the fourth quarter to lift Shoemaker to an 88-83 victory at Copperas Cove, Johnson is not satisfied with his performance or his team’s showing.
“I’m never happy,” he said. “We can do way better than we are. We are solid right now, but I’m not happy, and I’m never going to be happy until I get what I want — the gold ball and making it to state.”
Johnson and the Grey Wolves took a step toward those goals Friday evening as they weathered a furious comeback
attempt by the Bulldawgs to take sole possession of second place in the District 8-5A standings.
Shoemaker held a 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but saw it dwindle to two points with less than 90 seconds remaining before making key plays, including Johnson’s transition layup off a Bulldawg turnover to create a six-point game, to secure the victory.
The Grey Wolves’ late-game composure was exactly what first-year coach Emund Prichett expected from his team.
“We’ve talked about playing in a hostile environment and just keeping your poise,” he said. “Just because (our opponent) is frantic and in a hurry doesn’t mean we have to be. We just have to play fast and play smart.”
After taking a 23-18 advantage into the second quarter, Shoemaker (15-6, 5-2) increased its cushion to 10 points, 45-35, by halftime. The Grey Wolves missed 11 of their 15 field-goal attempts in the third quarter but still outscored the Bulldawgs and led 64-47 entering the fourth quarter.
Moments into the fourth quarter, the gap grew to 19 points at 66-47, but then the Bulldawgs (11-13, 2-5) began charging back.
Led by Montre’ Williams, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, Copperas Cove began chipping away at the deficit.
With 5:29 remaining, Williams connected on a pair of free throws to pull the Bulldawgs within single digits, 70-61, before making another pair of free throws to cut the score to 74-70.
Copperas Cove junior Rashard Odomes’ free throw with 1:23 remaining made the score 80-78, but the Bulldawgs would not get any closer.
Johnson missed a layup, but a pair of Copperas Cove players could not corral the ball and Shoemaker senior Qwoy Blount collected the loose ball and recorded a key layup, giving the Grey Wolves a 82-78 lead.
Johnson then scored off a Bulldawgs turnover to extend Shoemaker’s lead to 84-78 before the Grey Wolves clinched as Tyrone Williams, who finished with 18 points, scored his final four points at the free throw line during the game’s last 15 seconds.
“People are stepping up and doing their job,” said Johnson, who added seven rebounds. “We are getting better as the season is going, so it is nice to see us hitting clutch shots in clutch situations.”
Torenzo Saunders scored a team-high 21 points for Shoemaker, while Odomes paced the Bulldawgs with 22 points and seven rebounds.
“This was an overall team victory,” Prichett said. “We got all 11 guys in the game, and some guys didn’t play as well as I hoped they would, but their teammates picked them up, and that is what this is all about.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org