By Evan Grice
While the No. 4 Piedmont Wildcats didn’t have the lead for very long Friday night against No. 19 Shawnee, they did have it when it mattered most.
When the final horn sounded.
Piedmont fought through a rough shooting night along with a stingy Wolves defense to claim the lead with 52 seconds left in the fourth at 49-47 and leave the Shawnee High School Athletic Center with a 53-47 victory.
The result was finished with a thunderous exclamation point by senior Adrion Williams who slammed home his final two-points of the night as the buzzer sounded.
“The game wasn’t going well for me, so when I got that dunk I decided to put some power behind it,” Williams said about his slam. “We just all decided to stay positive after the dunk. Coming together as a team and manning up to the lead we lost is what helped keep us in this game. This is a big win for us, and it was one of those nights where we just pushed on and didn’t let the other things affect us.”
Going into the halftime break, it looked like disaster was in the works for the Wildcats as they trailed 29-20 after a buzzer-beater three point shot from Don Murphy, giving the Wolves plenty of momentum.
“I told the kids after the game we got better because of this game,” Piedmont coach Ryan Wagner said. “This game was just like the Western Heights game, except Shawnee played better than they did and we made plays. During the course of a championship season, you’re going to have games like this. We didn’t have it tonight because we were being selfish and fighting with one another.”
“But, we tightened up our boot straps and found a way to win the game. Now we have to fix those things and get ready to go win the Kingfisher Tournament.”
Even though the Wildcats cut the lead to 37-34 after the third quarter, they never were fully in control of the game.
PHS finally got a small amount of control in the game at 47-47 with 1:51 left in regulation before going on a 6-0 run to end the game and end the week on a three-game winning streak.
Shawnee led 11-10 after a very fast paced first quarter over the Wildcats.
Adrion Williams finished the game with 21 points which led all scorers on the night, followed by Grant Smith with 15 points and Cameron Peters with 14 points.
Darrius Burris and Kendell Franklin both added three points.
Many of Smith’s 15 points came in the second half, which helped keep the Wildcats in the contest against the Wolves.
“We came out sluggish in the first half, there’s no doubt about that,” Smith said. “Coach Wagner got on us at halftime and told us if we were a championship team we would find a way to win. Coach Wagner also told me something to correct my shot which helped a lot in the third quarter and got me going.”
Marquese Tramble finished with 12 points for the Wolves with Trey Maston adding 11 points.
Piedmont will be in action starting Thursday afternoon Jan. 23 at the Buckle of the Wheatbelt Invitational tournament at Kingfisher High School.
PHS’ first round opponent will be the Red Tornadoes of Clinton with tip-off set for 2:45 p.m.
Should the Wildcats win they would meet either Chisholm or Bethany in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 5:35 p.m.
Following the Kingfisher tournament, the Wildcats will then be at home Friday night Jan. 31 for the homecoming game against El Reno.
Piedmont will then be back at Collett Fieldhouse for a matchup against Noble on Feb. 4 before hosting Deer Creek three days later and then Western Heights on Feb. 10.
The very next night will see the Wildcats back in action at Bethany High School against the Bronchos.
Games against Western Heights, Guthrie, Carl Albert and El Reno will then finish out the regular season portion of the schedule.