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Roberts helps Shoemaker advance - Feb 23, 2019

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ITALY- Shoemaker remains undefeated in 2019.

The 17th-ranked Grey Wolves took the area championship title and eliminated the reigning Class 6A state champions with a 60-55 victory over No.5 Allen at Italy High School on Friday night.

'It feels good,' said Shoemaker senior forward J'Wan Roberts. 'We started off slow, but we just had to pick it up.

'And it feels good to knock off the defending champions from last year.'

Allen came into the game with 10 returning players from the 2017 Class 6A state championship team. And while the Eagles had deeper playoff experience on their side, Shoemaker had more hunger.

The Grey Wolves (32-5) have not lost since the end of December.

It was a battle to the end as two starters for Shoemaker - Jalen Childs and Ta'veon Sevaaetasi - fouled out in the last five minutes after the Grey Wolves took a 51-49 lead.

'It sucks we fouled out of the game,' Sevaaetasi said of he and Childs, 'but our teammates finished it through.'

Shoemaker finished the win with free throws from Roberts and Cameron Starling.

Although the Eagles' Jaysen Collins hit a last-ditch shot from beyond midcourt, it wasn't enough to save Allen as they were still down by five when the final buzzer sounded.

Although the Grey Wolves started with six unanswered points behind 3-pointers from Sevaaetasi and Childs, the Eagles quickly caught up with 3s from Isaiah Stevens.

After the first eight minutes of play, Shoemaker and Allen were tied at 8.

Stevens led the Eagles with 17 points in the first half and the Wolves struggled to find a way to stop the senior point guard. But he didn't score at all in the second half.

Allen (33-4) started to pull away late in the first half.

Trailing 27-18 with less than a minute before halftime, Mathew Pennington dropped in a 3 from the left corner to pull the Wolves within six points at the break.

Unable to get under the rim due to the Eagles' double-teaming defense, Roberts had just six of his game-high 20 points in the first two quarters.

Although Roberts, the Houston-signee, had a slow start, Sevaaetasi took advantage of a rebound and passed the ball up the court to Roberts late in the third quarter.

The Shoemaker crowd went wild as Roberts threw down his only dunk of the night to pull the Grey Wolves within five points, 36-31.

That play ignited a fire in Roberts who tallied 14 points in the second half and ended the night with five rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

'It was a tight game the whole game,' Sevaaetasi noted. 'But we didn't give up; we kept pushing.

'J'Wan led us through the whole game.'

Shoemaker advances to the quarterfinals and will face Rockwall after the Yellowjackets took a 57-56 area win over Plano West.

'We're prepared for anything,' Sevaaetasi said. 'We're not letting up; we just need to stay humble and keep working.

'We're going to go right back to practice and get ready for the next one.'

By Felisa Cardenas

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