The Shoemaker Grey Wolves showed Friday why they were district champions a season ago as the Wolves led for the entire game, defeating Copperas Cove 63-44 in a District 8-6A matchup.

Nine different Shoemaker players scored in the victory. Javon Levi spearheaded the Grey Wolves attack by scoring a game-high 18 points, including all of his team’s nine second-quarter points.

“When those guys come off the bench and play as hard as they can, that’s the kind of team that I like to build,” said Shoemaker head coach Emund Pritchett. “When those guys come in the game and play hard, I like our chances.”

From the start of the game, the Grey Wolves began to impose their will and have their way with the Dawgs. Following a miss, J’wan Roberts grabbed the rebound and laid the ball in for a quick 10-3 lead with 2:54 left in the opening quarter. The sophomore scored six first-quarter points to give the Grey Wolves an 18-6 lead after the quarter.

Roberts finished the game with 11 points and two blocks.

The Dawgs fought their way back.

Neyland Block’s layup halfway through the second quarter pulled Cove within five, 20-15.

Right before the break, Daveon Thomas added a bucket to give the Dawgs a fighting chance in the second half. Cove trailed 27-20 at the break.

In the third quarter, Shoemaker (13-7, 2-1) guard Antoine James added two quick 3-pointers to give the Grey Wolves breathing room. The 5-foot-10 senior scored nine points on three 3-pointers in the game. Christopher Barnett stole the ball from a Bulldawg player at midcourt and outraced three Copperas Cove (13-9, 1-2) players to the hoop for the layup, giving Shoemaker a 14-point advantage as the third quarter wound down.

Coach Billy White Jr.’s Bulldawgs would not go away all game.

Early in the fourth quarter, off an inbounds play, Quinton Ford scooted his way into the paint and finished with the layup, forcing a Grey Wolves timeout. The Dawgs were back into the game, trailing only 48-42 with 4:20 left.

The Grey Wolves, though, finished the way good teams finish.

Levi’s 3-pointer a minute later, following a Roberts layup, gave Shoemaker a 57-44 lead.

Seconds later, sophomore Taveon Sevaaetasi’s steal and layup gave the Grey Wolves their largest lead of the game at 59-44. Shoemaker finished the game on a 9-0 run to finish the victory.

Following the win, Pritchett praised the way Levi gave his team good, quality minutes all game long.

“Javon is just a solid basketball player. He’s going to get his points, but I look at the way he controls the floor and the way he plays defense. What’s special is how he gets everyone involved in the game,” Pritchett said.

White attributed the loss to a poor start and inability to keep Shoemaker away from the basket, which led to a lot of easy shots.

“We just started off flat and never really got going tonight. Late in the game, we fought hard and decided to play, but we never really played the kind of game that we are capable of playing. We had to extend our defense a lot, and they were able to knock some easy shots down,” White said.

Going forward, White would like to see his time play a full 32-minute game going forward in district play.

“We just have to continue to compete. I thought we competed tonight, but didn’t convert on the offensive end near as much as we should have. We had a good discussion following the game, and we talked about how we need to start right from the tip and convert,” White said.

Shoemaker travels to Hewitt on Tuesday to play No. 12 Waco Midway, while Cove travels to Harker Heights.

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