Tyrone Williams remembers his first game as a member of the Shoemaker Grey Wolves varsity basketball team fondly.
Shoemaker was hosting Waco High to open the 2013-14 season and, like many sophomores, the stage overwhelmed him at first.
“I was nervous at first, until I touched the ball,” Williams said. “I started shooting and I lost my nervousness.”
By the end of the regular season, Williams made sure he would make opposing players nervous. Williams averaged 10 points, five rebounds and three assists and chipped in on the defensive end with three steals per game.
For his efforts, Williams is the 2013-14 Killeen Daily Herald All-Area Newcomer of the Year.
“He was consistent,” Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett said. “You knew what you were going to get from him, whether you brought him off the bench or started him. You knew he was going to play as hard as he could.”
Williams helped the Grey Wolves finish with a 21-8 record and advance to the bi-district playoffs, where Shoemaker gave then-No. 5 South Grand Prairie all it could handle in a 64-61 loss.
Williams scored 14 points in the first playoff game of his career. It didn’t take him long to realize how different a regular season game felt from a win-or-the-season-is-over playoff game.
Especially with little things like hitting free throws and boxing out opponents for rebounds.
“It counts more in the playoff game than in the regular season,” Williams said.
Williams’ play also helped the Grey Wolves finish strong in District 8-5A after stumbling out of the gate.
Shoemaker lost its first two district road games to Killeen ISD rivals Killeen and Harker Heights before reeling off 11 consecutive district wins. The Grey Wolves were a buzzer-beater away from finishing with a share of the title.
“My first year went good,” Williams said. “It probably could have gone better.”
Prichett said that he was impressed at how Williams improved as the season went on and his offensive game became more prevalent as the season went on.
“His offensive game really came around and he started attacking the lane like I knew he could,” Prichett said.
Williams credits older players like seniors Shane Johnson, Patrick Mark and Nykolas Dawson for helping him learn the ropes of varsity play at the 5A level.
But he knows he isn’t done and, despite losing some key seniors to graduation, he looks forward to having a bigger part on the team in 2014-15 and helping Shoemaker make another postseason run.
And he didn’t waste much time after the loss to South Grand Prairie getting back in the gym to prepare for next year.
“I started the day after the playoff loss,” Williams said.
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com