By Evan Mohl
Killeen Daily Herald
A second-half surge pushed the Grey Wolves past Copperas Cove and into the postseason.
After sleepwalking to a 3-point lead in the first half, Shoemaker exploded in the third quarter. Jade Allen led a 13-2 spurt and the Grey Wolves put on the accelerator for a relatively easy 66-51 win over the Bulldawgs.
Coupled with Temple's loss to Bryan, Shoemaker (16-14, 7-4) earned a playoff berth for the first time under coach Marc Minatrea. The Grey Wolves last made the postseason in 2006.
"We haven't really talked much about the playoffs," Minatrea said. "But it feels good and the kids are excited."
Allen ignited Shoemaker in the second half with his penetration and passing. He picked apart the Cove defense effectively and consistently, creating opportunities for his teammates.
Just three minutes into the third, Allen found Jared Bowser, who buried a jump shot while getting fouled. Bowser converted the and-1 opportunity for a 3-point play.
"Jade has to play well for us to win," Minatrea said. "He has to step up to be our leader."
Allen then scored five of his 11 total points before finding seldom-used Frank Matthews. Matthews, who missed most of the season with a hip injury, swished home a 3-pointer to cap the run.
Matthews stayed on the court most of the second half, scoring eight points. He also played shutdown defense on several of Cove's perimeter players.
"Frank Matthews was a spark tonight," Minatrea said. "We haven't used him much, but he played great defense and gave us a bonus with the scoring."
By the end of the third, the Grey Wolves outscored the Dawgs 21-11. Besides the 13-2 run, most of the damage was done on the boards. Shoemaker grabbed 14 boards (six offensive), compared to Cove's three.
For the entire game, the Grey Wolves tortured the Dawgs on the glass by a 37-17 margin.
"We just couldn't rebound the ball," Dawgs coach David Farber said. "Then we stopped playing interior defense after the half."
The only bright spot for Cove came from Raheem Odomes, who scored 30 points, including 19 in the second half. John Crockham led Shoemaker with 15 points.
After the game, Minatrea received a hug from football coach and athletic coordinator Ken Gray as well as his two kids and wife. But he said the Grey Wolves aren't done yet.
Shoemaker is now tied with Harker Heights for third place in District 12-5A. Both teams have two more games remaining before meeting on the final day of the regular season.
"There's work to be done," Minatrea said. "We want to keep winning and getting better. We want that third place spot."
Contact Evan Mohl at email@example.com or (254) 501-7564.