“We’re not done yet.”
Ask any Shoemaker basketball player the team’s mindset after their 60-55 area victory over fifth-ranked Allen on Friday night and that’s the answer you’ll get.
“It means a lot,” Grey Wolves senior Romeo Postell said of the Shoemaker win that eliminated the defending Class 6A state champions. “They were the best of the best in the state of Texas and we knocked them out.
“Now we’re ready to go beat everybody else.”
The drive that continues to propel this Grey Wolves team comes from the 10 returning varsity members that were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“We work hard every day,” said senior Ta’veon Sevaaetasi. “We’ve been working since the beginning of the offseason to right now.
“We’re not done yet.”
The Wolves are the only Killeen Independent School District and District 12-6A team left in the playoffs. They will face Rockwall in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night at 7:30 in West.
Every battle Shoemaker (32-5) has faced to get to this point is the motivation that continues to drive them forward.
“I know this team has been through a lot and this is just the moment we’ve been working for since the beginning of the season,” Postell said, referencing last season’s double-overtime loss to No. 7 Duncanville in the first round.
“We knew we were going to have tough games ahead of us and this was one of those tough games, but we’re not done yet.”
Allen put up a fight from the first whistle to the last buzzer.
Although Shoemaker won the tipoff and quickly put up six straight points to begin the game, the Eagles quickly answered and the score was tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“They were competing the whole game,” Sevaaetasi noted. “But we didn’t give up, we kept pushing through it,”
Early on, the Wolvers were nable to find a way to stop Allen’s hot 3-point shooting senior Isaiah Stevens, who scored 11 of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter to push the Eagles ahead 27-21 at halftime.
Allen also found a way to slow senior Shoemaker forward J’Wan Roberts in the paint. He had only six points, two rebounds and an assist in the first half.
Roberts knew in the second half he had to find his way to the basket for the Grey Wolves.
“In the locker room, coach said we had to pick it up because we always start off slow,” said Roberts.
The players heard their coach’s message loud and clear as they turned up the heat out of the break.
Sevaaetasi had opened the game with a 3-pointer that put Shoemaker on the board first.
The three-year varsity guard started the third quarter in similar fashion as he drove down the lane for a layup that brough the Grey Wolves within four, 27-23.
Every time Shoemaker inched closer to Allen, the Eagles would sink another 3-pointer. Down 36-27, Allen junior Cade McGlade fouled Roberts.
Cool, calm and collected at the line, the Houston signee sank the pair of free throws. Ten seconds later, Obaseki fouled Roberts and the three-year varsity senior was at the line once more.
Allen used a timeout before Roberts went to the line the second time and he sank another two free throws.
The Eagles tried to find their way to the basket, but Sevaaetasi took advantage of the confusion among the Allen players for a steal.
Sevaaetasi passed the ball up the court to Roberts for a dunk that got the Grey Wolves’ crowd on their feet with the Shoemaker chant.
The Wolves were within three points after the Shoemaker defense held Allen to just nine points in the third quarter.
Allen led 36-33 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
As time ran down, Roberts finally found his answer around the Eagles defense as he was sent to the line three times at the start of the quarter.
Without missing a beat, Roberts dropped in a pair of free throws each time.
Childs fouled out for the Wolves on a block called with 3:07 left in the game as Shoemaker trailed 47-46.
Roberts added two more on a put back to take a one-point lead before he fouled Obaseki.
The Allen guard sank his first free throw and missed the second which tied the score at 48-48 with 2:24 to play.
Shoemaker used a full timeout and 30 seconds later Sevaaetasi hit a 3-pointer to nudge the Wolves ahead 51-48.
On the next possession, he fouled out.
“To be honest,” Postell admitted, “during the game I couldn’t stand the thought of losing.
“With two of our starters fouling out — everyone on the bench and the rest of the starters — we just pulled it through and got the win.”
With time running out, the Grey Wolves came together to add eight consecutive points.
Although Jaysen Collins hit a buzzer-beater from beyond midcourt, it wasn’t enough to save the Eagles from elimination.
As Shoemaker prepares to face the ranked-eighth Yellowjackets (28-6) , Roberts is confident in his teammates and their abilities.
“I don’t see anyone in front of us that can stop us,” he noted. “We’re going to go straight to state.”
While the victory is sweet for this senior-dominant Grey Wolves team, Postell has no doubts about where this game falls among his memories from the past three years he’s played varsity.
“It’s definitely No. 1,” he admitted. “Defeating the defending state champions and celebrating with everybody — the fans, the coaches and the staff — it feels great.”