Ellison vs. Shoemaker

Shoemaker's Taveon Sevaaetasi, center, and Ellison's Casey Armour battle for possession on Tuesday at Ellison High School. Shoemaker won 63-60 in overtime to take sole possession of the District 8-6A lead.

After dropping its District 8-6A opener to Ellison on Dec. 16, Shoemaker has not lost another league game.

The No. 20 Grey Wolves have won nine straight district contests, including 13 of their last 14, and they will put that streak on the line when Waco Midway visits tonight at 7 p.m.

The first time the two teams met on Jan. 10, Shoemaker enjoyed a convincing 70-56 road win over the then-10th-ranked Panthers.

Point guard Javon Levi and post J’wan Roberts were integral in the triumph. Levi posted a triple-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, and Roberts tallied 17 points.

Grey Wolves head coach Emund Prichett said the victory was a total team effort.

“I thought our young guys really came to play,” Prichett said. “Our leaders also showed up big.

“They knew it was a big game and they had to step up big, and they all came to play.”

Prichett’s sentiment could be applied to all of Shoemaker’s 8-6A games. Although it sometimes depends on the matchup, it seems a different player is stepping up each time the Grey Wolves (22-6, 9-1) take the floor.

On Tuesday night in a 59-44 win at Copperas Cove, Devyn Brewton paced Shoemaker with 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots while going 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 10 of 11 from the field overall.

Duwain Thomas added 16 points, two assists, two steals and one block against the Bulldawgs. Roberts was once again a solid presence inside, as the 6-foot, 7-inch sophomore added six points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Prichett felt Thomas, a junior, has stepped his game up for the Grey Wolves during their winning streak in league play, and he also gave credit to the team’s sophomores — Roberts, Khalil Grant, Tavon McCorvey, Taveon Sevaaetasi and Romeo Postell.

“Duwain Thomas has been pretty special for us,” Prichett said. “He’s starting to come into his own. He’s really relaxed and has been taking good shoots, and all of our sophomores are coming around and making some veteran plays, as well.

“I’m really excited about their growth.”

While each team will game plan for their specific opponent on any given night, Prichett said he didn’t expect Midway (24-5, 8-2) to stray too far from what they like to do in tonight’s rematch.

“You never know,” Prichett said. “Javon had a triple-double, so I’m sure they’ll try to do something to take him out of the game a little bit. J’wan also played well, but there is no telling.

“I think they’re probably going to do what they usually try to do, but do it a little bit harder. That was a long time ago that we played, and they’re a better team. Obviously, we’re both going to have to make some adjustments throughout the game.”

One thing Shoemaker likes to do is play at an up-tempo pace and force its opponent to try to keep up. With only three returning veterans from last year’s team, Prichett knew it would take some time and game experience for the Grey Wolves to get back up to his preferred speed this season.

But he is seeing flashes.

“I’ve definitely seen it from game to game,” Prichett said. “We’re definitely getting there, but we’re a little inconsistent at it. It’s just a matter of if those guys are focused and ready to play and, I don’t know, if they wake up on the right side of the bed.

“I really haven’t gotten them figured out yet, but I’m trying to.”

Prichett, the entire Shoemaker team and the fans in attendance tonight certainly hope each of the Grey Wolves woke up from a sound, comfortable sleep this morning.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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