WACO – Javon Levi gave credit to the junior varsity team after No. 17 Shoemaker drubbed South Grand Prairie 75-57 in the bi-district round of the Class 6A postseason Tuesday at University High School.
The Warriors applied a heavy full-court trap press throughout the contest, but Levi and company beat it over and over en route to an impressive win.
Levi said the job the Grey Wolves’ JV team did simulating South Grand Prairie’s pressure in practice helped prepare the team for what it was going to see Tuesday.
“The JV in practice, they trapped me harder than that,” Levi said. “The job they did definitely helped prepare us.”
Grey Wolves head coach Emund Prichett felt the JV unit most certainly deserved some praise.
“Those guys have really been doing a good job of helping get us prepared,” Prichett said.
“They’ve been playing with speed and playing with toughness. We’ve definitely got to give some credit to them.”
The Grey Wolves (27-6) started hot, as they finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run behind four points from Levi, two by Devyn Brewton and two by J’wan Roberts for a 16-8 advantage.
But the Warriors (22-10), led by seven points from point guard Bryce Cook, battled back by outscoring Shoemaker 19-9 to snag a 27-25 lead with two minutes, four seconds left in the half.
After a timeout, however, the Grey Wolves responded and ended the first half on a 10-2 surge for a 35-29 lead they would not relinquish.
Taveon Sevaaetasi opened the run with a transition layup. Levi then hit two free throws before Sevaaetasi hit a 3-pointer from the right corner after a crosscourt pass from Levi, and Duwain Thomas hit a trey at the buzzer to cap off the outburst.
Levi, who paced the Grey Wolves with 23 points and nine assists, was pleased with how Shoemaker opened the game.
“We came out pretty good, to be honest — better than we have been coming out lately,” Levi said.
“We’ve just got to learn that when we get up to keep going. We kind of get laid back every time we get up, and they’re able to make a run and come back.
“We’ve just got to get that mindset that when we get up, we’ve got to keep going.”
Shoemaker did just that in the second half.
After two free throws by Levi, Devyn Brewton made a 3 from the right wing and Roberts scored from the left block during a 7-0 run.
South Grand Prairie’s Kelvyn Pennie ended the spurt with a field goal from the left block, but Levi responded with a transition layup to put the Grey Wolves up 44-31 with 1:50 left in the third.
The Warriors capped the period with a 6-2 run. But Shoemaker opened the fourth stanza with a 12-5 outburst that was culminated by a highlight-reel slam dunk in transition by Brewton, and the Grey Wolves cruised to the 18-point victory.
Roberts finished the night with 17 points, five rebounds and one assist, and Brewton had 16 points and three rebounds. Sevaaetasi added seven points, two rebounds and three assists.
Prichett said Shoemaker’s senior leadership was a big reason for the team’s success Tuesday.
“My seniors, they’ve been leading and getting these young guys in position to score,” Prichett said, “and telling them how to be successful and, again, they’re accepting coaching.
“That’s a positive when your best guys and most experienced guys are accepting coaching.”
For South Grand Prairie, Cook led the team with 15 points while adding four rebounds and three assists to his ledger. Maluw Deng registered 13 points and four rebounds, and Terrance Scott had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Grey Wolves next contest will be in the area round against McKinney this weekend.