By Clay Fowler
Killeen Daily Herald
HEWITT Shoemaker's window of opportunity was narrowed from 6 minutes and 18 seconds to 3.8 seconds a little faster than expected.
After John Tyler stalled while clinging to a one-point lead for the majority of the fourth quarter, Jamaar Beasley was just fast enough with a floater from the left elbow as time expired, giving Shoemaker a 39-38 victory over the previously undefeated No. 5 Lions in the second round of the M.T. Rice Masterfoods USA Tournament on Wednesday night at Hewitt Midway High School.
Justin Tatum's 3-pointer that gave John Tyler (18-1) a 37-36 lead with 6:18 remaining in the game was the Lions' lone field goal of the period. Tyler spread the court and stalled until Delorean Givens traveled with 40 seconds to play.
"We tried to pull them out of their zone," said Tyler coach Carl Love. "We made a mistake and traveled and our opponent took advantage."
Shoemaker's Chris Poullard was fouled driving to the basket on the ensuing possession. He made one of two free throws to knot the game at 37 with 26 ticks on the clock.
Tatum then drew contact on the other end, his free throw regaining a one-point John Tyler lead with eight seconds left.
With all their fouls to give, and a full court in front of Shoemaker (13-5, 0-1 District 13-5A), the Lions chipped away at the clock with non-shooting fouls, dwindling the time remaining to 3.8 seconds.
Finally inbounding from their offensive end, the Grey Wolves' T.J. Dennis found an open Beasley, via a back screen, with a lob pass and the senior forward's floater curled in the left side of the hoop just before the buzzer sounded.
"I was just trying to get the shot off without getting a charge," said Beasley. "This is a big win for us. It's going to turn our season around."
A visibly tight Shoemaker squad was outplayed by a much larger John Tyler team as the Lions built a six-point first-quarter lead. A towering Lion frontcourt continuously outrebounded the undersized Grey Wolves, extending their advantage to 27-18 at the half.
But Shoemaker's confidence steadily grew as the Tyler lead shrank in a tide-turning third period.
SHS pulled to within two by the beginning of the final period, outscoring Tyler 16-5 in the third quarter on 63 percent shooting in the frame.
"We didn't play with any confidence in the first half," said Shoemaker coach Rick Kirkpatrick. "You could just see the difference in the third quarter."
The Grey Wolves switched to a zone defense in the second half, tempting Tyler to shoot from the perimeter. The Lions attempted six 3-pointers in the third period alone, failing to connect on any. Tyler shot 27 percent in the second half.
"When you win a lot you expect to win and sometimes you don't put out the energy necessary to win," said Love. "Tonight we just didn't put out the energy."
n Shoemaker 64, Carrizo Springs 25 After the rust wore off following Christmas break, Shoemaker broke away from and undermanned Carrizo Springs team in the first round of the tournament.
Keith Smith scored 18 points and Beasley added 14 as the SHS frontcourt duo dominated the second and third quarters before sitting out the final period.
After a sluggish first quarter netted it a four-point advantage, Shoemaker opened up an 18-point lead by halftime and a 32-point advantage after three quarters.
"It was a good game for us to have coming out of the break to help us get back into the flow," said Kirkpatrick. "They only had seven players so they just wore down as the game went on."
Ten Shoemaker players scored in the game.