Shoemaker is no stranger to South Grand Prairie.
Grey Wolves head coach Emund Prichett has faced the Warriors each of his previous three years as head coach at Shoemaker, and tonight’s tilt in the bi-district round of the Class 6A postseason will mark the fourth.
Shoemaker fell 64-61 in overtime to South Grand Prairie in a bi-district matchup during the 2013-14 season. The Grey Wolves then fell to the Warriors 35-34 in nondistrict action in 2014-15, but exacted some revenge with a 72-62 nonleague win last year.
Seventeenth-ranked Shoemaker will look to make it a two-game winning streak this evening at Waco University when the two teams tip off at 7.
Like the Grey Wolves (26-6), South Grand Prairie plays in a difficult district, 7-6A, and will be battle-tested entering the playoffs.
The contest will be one Shoemaker is used to playing later in the postseason, but the move to Region I from Region II after UIL realignment last February has pitted the two tough districts against one another much sooner.
“The difference between Region I and Region II is you’ve got to start playing right away,” Prichett said. “If you’re going to win it all, you’ve got to beat the best. Be ready to play every Tuesday and Friday, and I’ve been telling the kids that for a long time.
“Hopefully, we continue our streak of showing up ready to play every Tuesday and Friday, and we’ll see how it ends up for us.”
The Grey Wolves are the No. 1 seed of 8-6A, and the Warriors are the fourth seed out of 7-6A. But that doesn’t matter with these two squads.
“It’s definitely a tough matchup for us, and I’m looking forward to the game,” Prichett said. “The one seed versus the four seed is going to be out the door when it comes to this one. We’ve played them every year since I’ve been head coach, so they know us and we know what they’re going to do.
“All the guys they have back played on the regional final team last year, so they’re also a very experienced bunch. I’m interested to see how my young guys show up and play.”
The Warriors have three guards who are left-handed, and they are led by sophomore point guard Bryce Cook. The others are Kelyn Pennie and 6-foot-2-inch Cameron Massey.
South Grand Prairie (22-9) also has admirable size with 6-foot-7 forward Maluw Deng and 6-6 forward Ashley Mukendi, as well as 6-8 post Rjay Cammack.
“They’ve got some big athletes, and every Dallas school has them,” Prichett said.
Shoemaker will continue playing as it has since Prichett arrived, which is fast and furious. This season, however, the Grey Wolves have added a patient approach in the half-court game, as well, and a lot of the credit goes to the adaptability of senior point guard Javon Levi and the inside presence of 6-7 sophomore post J’wan Roberts.
Six-foot-6 senior guard Devyn Brewton and 5-11 senior guard Antoine James are deadeye shooters on the outside, and Shoemaker’s role players have been second-to-none in its league once again.
Behind senior Christopher Barnett, junior Duwain Thomas, sophomore Khalil Grant, senior Carlos Vasquez, sophomore Tavon McCorvey, junior Maurice Berry, sophomore Taveon Sevaaetasi, sophomore Romeo Postell and senior Te’Ayveon Hill, the Grey Wolves always have something to throw at their opponents.
From Levi on down, however, Prichett just wants them to focus on one thing.
“We’ve got to play our type of basketball,” Prichett said. “We’ve got to play tough defense, we’ve got to keep the ball in front of us, and we’ve got to block out and rebound.”
6A BOYS PLAYOFFS
- No. 17 Shoemaker vs. South Grand Prairie, 7 p.m. at Waco University HS (FM 95.1, radio.killeenisd.org)