By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
"I need to be subbed out," Michael Hardge yelled to the Georgetown bench.
After facing a handful of Shoemaker defenders, the Eagles' standout senior point guard was exhausted.
"We feel like we've got five or six guys that are kind of all the same - kind of little, scrawny and quick - and they all work hard and they all guard the ball well. We just wanted to keep fresh people on him, we wanted to help on him and try to make him give the ball up," Shoemaker coach Marc Minatrea said after the Grey Wolves' 69-51 win over Georgetown on Tuesday.
"I'm sure statistically he had a good game, but I thought we did a good job of just making him work full court and earning all of his points."
Shoemaker (5-0) hit 7 of 11 from the field to take a 20-11 lead after the first quarter and then outscored the Eagles 19-0 in a 3½-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters for its fifth straight win to open the season.
Hardge, the son of former Ellison multi-sport star Mike Hardge, scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the third quarter, but when he got his breather with 1:24 left in the period, the Grey Wolves turned their consistent nine-point lead to 53-37 to start the fourth.
"Constantly playing real hard got him tired and, I guess, a little agitated," Shoemaker junior guard Damani Johnson said of the Grey Wolves' back court defense on Hardge. "We've all got a good concept of playing good, hard D to make sure we lock down their No. 1 player."
Chris Runnels scored six of his team-high 15 points in the Shoemaker run. Shane Johnson added 12 points for the Grey Wolves and Jose Roman, the Grey Wolves leading scorer through the first three games, scored 11
despite sitting the second quarter with two fouls.
Hardge, who's being recruited by a number of mid-major Division I programs, scored Georgetown's (4-4) first 10 points of the second half to cut Shoemaker's 32-21 halftime lead to seven with 4:17 left. He hit back-to-back jumpers to trim the Grey Wolves' lead further to 43-37 with 1:36 left.
Paris Yerry sparked the Grey Wolves' separating run with a 3 to answer Hardge's shots. Minatrea called for a timeout after Yerry's 3 and Hardge sat the rest of the third quarter.
"That's when we had to pick it up real fast," Shoemaker junior guard Sean Causey. "That's just us finding something. We always find something in the fourth or the third quarter to come out with the win."
The Grey Wolves' defense forced 24 turnovers, including 14 in the first half and outrebounded the Eagles 14-8 in the second half. But Shoemaker's offense turned the ball over 21 times.
"For 32 minutes, they played as hard as they could, they played very good defensively," Minatrea said. "We made a lot of mistakes offensively - we traveled a lot, we had quite a few turnovers - but the fact that we played so hard and played so well defensively, it allowed us to stay in the game and build a lead."
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.