Shoemaker looks to rebound from a district championship costing buzzer beater loss to Copperas Cove last week when the Grey Wolves open the Region I-5A bi-district playoffs against No. 5 South Grand Prairie.
“It was a lost opportunity, but there’s nothing you can do about it now,” Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett said. “You can just come out and play the way you played to get you the opportunity to get you a district championship.”
Shoemaker and South Grand Prairie meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at University High School in Waco.
Shoemaker (21-7) finished the regular season with an 11-3 record in District 8-5A and finished second after losing to Cove in the last game of the regular season on Feb. 11.
Despite being ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll for much of the season, South Grand Prairie (22-6) finished the season with a 10-4 record in District 7-5A, but wound up with the third seed after being swept by Duncanville.
The Warriors made it to the state championship game last season, but fell to Fort Bend Travis 46-38.
Despite being the lower seed, the Warriors are considered the favorite by many. But Prichett isn’t playing up the underdog role with the team.
“We’re just preparing to beat a team that’s in the playoffs as well,” Prichett said. “Their kids are like ours. They’re all in high school, attend classes every day and practice basketball so we’re not really playing it as the underdog. We’re just playing to try and win a basketball game.”
Prichett saw the Warriors play twice last year when he was an assistant coach and also saw them play at the state tournament.
Beating South Grand Prairie will be a tall task as the Warriors bring 6-foot-8, 240-pound senior center Rick Curry into the game. Curry has gotten offers from both Washington State and Stephen F. Austin.
“He’s a big guy; he can play, but they’re a high school basketball team,” Prichett said. “All the rankings, district championships, where you finished in district — all that stuff — goes out the door when the ball gets touched in the playoffs.”
The Warriors have also been good defensively this season, holding opponents to just 47.2 points per contest.
The Grey Wolves will be led offensively by versatile wing Shane Johnson, who led the team in scoring.
Prichett said he is counting on the experience from his senior core that were sophomores two years ago when Shoemaker beat Mesquite 53-51 in the Region II-5A bi-district playoffs.
“I think those kids learned a lot from that year,” Prichett said.