WOLFFORTH — In March, it helps to have unlikely heroes. The McLennan Community College men’s basketball team found one in Garrett Shaw.

Shaw turned in his best performance of the season by connecting for a career-high 30 points in MCC’s 89-68 win over Clarendon in the opening round of the Region V Tournament at Wolfforth Frenship’s Tiger Pit on Thursday. By winning, MCC (27-4) advances to the semifinals to play South Plains at 1 p.m. Friday. South Plains defeated Ranger, 89-75, in the game immediately following the MCC-Clarendon contest.

Clarendon (19-12) had no answer for Shaw, a 6-4 freshman guard from Mansfield. Shaw shot 8-of-14 from the floor – including 6-of-6 from 3-point range – and hit 8-of-11 foul shots, almost doubling his previous career high of 17 points.

Shaw showed a beautiful shooting stroke throughout the game. He buried all five of his 3-point attempts in the first half on his way to 18 points before the break.

Best of all for the Highlanders, they kept the ball zipping around the floor, and Clarendon’s defense scrambled but was often a step slow. That led to a number of open looks for the Highlanders, who shot 52 percent as a team from the floor.

MCC opened the game on a 17-6 spurt, and made the Bulldogs play catch-up the rest of the way. The Highlanders nearly doubled up Clarendon by the halftime break, building a 45-24 edge.

Three other Highlander players supplemented Shaw’s hot-shooting day by scoring in double figures. Xavier Armstead, the NTJCAC newcomer of the year, hit for 14 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Daniel Pinho Severo chipped in 13 points and Javen Hedgeman added 12.

Jashawn Talton did a yeoman’s work on the boards, pulling down nine rebounds to go with nine points.

David Carter topped Clarendon with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting.