FAIRFIELD — It just wasn’t in the cards for No. 17 Shoemaker on Tuesday night.
Allen hit 11 3-pointers, 10 in the first half, and the Eagles upended the Grey Wolves 69-58 in the Region I-6A quarterfinals
Despite things not going its way, Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett was proud of his team’s effort in defeat.
“I thought we could’ve played better,” Prichett said. “We played hard, though, and that always gives us a chance to be in the game. Our shots aren’t going to fall every night, and we don’t really bank on that as a program.
“It was just a tough night. I thought our kids could’ve played better, but they played hard and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Allen (29-6) started the game on fire, as it hit seven 3s in the first quarter for a 23-18 lead. Dylan Ditzenberger, Isaiah Stevens and Brenton Mills hit two treys apiece during the outburst, while Jaylen Walker added one.
The Grey Wolves (28-7) hit four 3-pointers of their own in the opening period. Antoine James made two, and both Duwain Thomas and Devyn Brewton hit a shot beyond the arc.
Shoemaker started the second stanza with a 5-0 run, as J’wan Roberts made a field goal from the left block and Thomas made another 3 to tie the score at 23-23.
But the Eagles responded with a 6-0 spurt thanks to consecutive transition layups by Cameron Christon and Mills, and Walker added a bucket from the left block.
Roberts replied for the Grey Wolves with a basket from the right block off an inbound pass from Javon Levi, and Taveon Sevaaetasi also scored from the right block off a driving dish by Levi.
Mills answered for Allen with another trey from the left wing to kick off a 9-0 run for the Eagles that also featured 3-pointers by Stevens and Walker.
Levi made two free throws before the end of the first half, but Shoemaker trailed Allen 38-29 at the break.
The second half saw much of the same, as the Eagles outscored the Grey Wolves 14-8 in the third quarter for a 52-37 lead. Shoemaker captured a 21-17 advantage in the fourth, but it was not enough in an 11-point, season-ending loss.
Unlike their previous two opponents, Allen elected not to apply any type of press, forcing the Grey Wolves to slow down and play more in the half court. Shoemaker is no stranger to that type of defense and has proven to be effective all season long, but simply had trouble getting its inside game going.
“I thought we could have gotten it inside,” Prichett said. “I know we could’ve gotten it inside and scored, and for some reason we couldn’t get it in there. I thought it was open, but we just couldn’t get in there and couldn’t finish.”
James led the Grey Wolves with 16 points to go along with one rebound. Levi had 14 points, one rebound, nine assists and five steals, and Thomas added 11 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal.
Mills paced the Eagles with 17 points, five rebounds and one assist. Ditzenberger recorded 12 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal, and Stevens had 11 points and four rebounds.
The five seniors who played their final game for Shoemaker on Tuesday were James, Christopher Barnett, Brewton, Levi and Te’Ayveon Hill.
Prichett said those five have been integral in the growth of they Grey Wolves’ program.
“I don’t think anybody expected our program to be where it’s at,” Prichett said. “That’s a testament to those guys. Just showing up, working hard every day and being positive with those young guys and bringing them along.
“They got three district championships, a bunch of individual accolades, a trip to the regional tournament last year and a trip to the regional quarterfinals this year. They’ve had a pretty decorated high school career.
“They definitely set a foundation for us. I’m glad I had the opportunity to coach them.
“I wouldn’t give those years back for anything.”