Shoemaker emphasizes defense and has had plenty of success already this season because of it.
But the Grey Wolves also likes to push the pace and space the floor.
And on Friday, No. 7 Shoemaker put it all together against Waco Midway, canning eight 3-pointers and holding the Panthers below 40 percent shooting in a 61-45 win to open district play.
“We’re going to live and die by it,” Grey Wolf head coach Emund Prichett said of the fast pace. “Those guys, they’ve got the keys to the car, and we’re going to let them drive it and hope they make good decisions.”
They certainly did that Friday, as the Grey Wolves (15-1, 1-0 12-6A) handed out 10 assists as a team, including four by senior Tyrone Williams and a nifty behind-the-back bounce pass from Javon Levi to Aaron Warren as Shoemaker pulled away in the third quarter.
Midway (8-7, 0-1) was sharp to start, matching Shoemaker with five first-half 3-pointers, while the Panthers’ Ty Sadler led all scorers with 12 points on 71 percent shooting.
Despite falling behind by 11 early in the second, the Panthers responded with a 7-0 run to get back in it and entered halftime down 30-25.
But the Grey Wolves simply felt they had to pick their defense up.
“That was our mistakes out there,” Williams said. “We were supposed to be tracing the ball, and we just backed off of them, let them do whatever they wanted with the ball.”
And in the third quarter, Shoemaker turned up the defense, making four steals, which got them out and running for a 20-point quarter.
The Grey Wolves also hit three more shots from downtown in the third, as players like Byrale Carter and Antoine James continued to knock down open looks off penetration.
“Oh, it’s perfect,” said James, who had a game-high three 3-pointers. “I can score at any time because guys will find me on the wing.”
Carter led Shoemaker with 11 points, including two 3-pointers, the second of which put the Grey Wolves up 54-39 with 6:15 remaining in the game.
Midway never got within single digits again.
Levi, Williams and Vernon Burns each scored eight points for Shoemaker while Levi and Burns tied for a team-high five rebounds as well. Levi also had a pair of steals.
And while the Grey Wolves won’t play a district game again in 2015, they were eager to reproduce the effort from Friday again, as they controlled the game on both ends of the floor against Midway.
“It’s perfect to go into the break with a district win,” James said. “We’ve just got to keep conditioning and get better.”
“It feels good,” Williams added. “We’re just ready to keep getting more.”