Another game, another pair of Shoemaker players stepped up big for their team.
Javon Levi tallied 12 points, four rebounds and six assists, Devyn Brewton had 17 points and eight rebounds, and the 20th-ranked Grey Wolves outlasted Waco Midway 56-50 at home Friday.
But the contributions of Antoine James and Taveon Sevaaetasi were obvious.
Leading 22-21 coming out of halftime, the Panthers nailed five 3-pointers in the third quarter while outscoring the Grey Wolves 21-17 in the period for a 43-38 lead heading into the fourth.
Malachi Barron, who finished the night with 13 points and six rebounds, hit three of the five treys in the stanza, and Xavier Armstead made two.
After Barron hit his second 3 of the quarter to put Midway up 31-28 at the 5-minute, 27-second mark, Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett called timeout.
“I just told them, ‘If we’re going to go down, at least go down playing our type of basketball. Play as hard as you can, and let’s see what happens,’” Prichett said. “To that point, I didn’t think we were playing hard and doing the things we do.
“I thought they (Midway) were doing whatever they wanted to do.”
The Grey Wolves responded.
Brown hit another 3-pointer right out of the timeout to put the Panthers up 34-28. But James answered for Shoemaker with a trey after a kickout pass from Levi, a shot his team desperately needed after the long-range barrage by Midway.
The Panthers outscored the Grey Wolves 9-7 for the remainder of the stanza for a 43-38 lead heading into the fourth.
From there, however, it was all Shoemaker.
Brewton opened the final quarter with a left-side jumper, but Levi Whiddon scored from the left block for the Panthers to make the score 45-40.
That is when James stepped up for the Grey Wolves once again.
The senior guard nailed a trey from the right wing, and on Shoemaker’s next possession he was fouled while attempting another 3. James hit all three shots from the charity stripe to give Shoemaker a 46-45 advantage with 5:07 left in the game, its first lead since early in the first quarter.
Brewton then hit another 3-pointer from the top of the key to cap off an 8-0 Grey Wolves run for a 49-45 advantage.
At around the midway point of the fourth and holding a slim 49-47 lead, Sevaaetasi drained a 3 from the left corner after an alert kickout by James to put Shoemaker back up 52-47.
Sevaaetasi wasn’t finished.
With around one minute to play, the 5-foot-10-inch sophomore raced toward the basket from the backside after a missed 3-pointer and scored on a putback over Midway’s 6-foot-9 Bubba Furlong to put the icing on the Grey Wolves’ six-point win.
“Really, I just want to thank my coach for putting me in and giving me the opportunity to do that in front of everybody,” Sevaaetasi said. “It felt really good because we practice every day and we push it to the limit for times like this – when it comes down to a game like this.”
Shoemaker’s fourth-quarter surge was a result of the players simply clearing their minds, according to James.
“We started being more confident and playing without thinking,” James said. “We were just trying to find each other. We know that when one of us gets hot, we just try to feed them.
“We just tried to play unselfish and find each other.”
The Grey Wolves outscored the Panthers 18-7 in the final period.
James finished the night with 14 points, one rebound and one assist for Shoemaker, and J’wan Roberts had six points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
Armstead ended the evening with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists for Midway.
The Grey Wolves are scheduled to return to the floor Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Harker Heights.