Third time a charm?
East Rutherford has fallen to Shelby twice already this season, but it wasn’t from lack of trying.
In January the Cavs suffered a three-point loss to the Golden Lions on a night where both team couldn’t throw a basketball into the ocean. Then just 10 days ago the Cavs couldn’t hold a halftime lead and fell to Shelby by seven points.
Tonight the Cavs face off against Shelby for a third time in hopes of capturing the SMAC tournament championship.
“I would imagine it’ll be about the same type of game,” Shelby head coach Aubrey Hollifield said.
The main focus for the Cavs has to be Shelby guard Gabe DeVoe, who is averaging 25 points against East Rutherford.
“Of course it is,” East head coach Brad Levine said when asked if DeVoe was a priority. “It’s just better team defense.”
“They’ll probably try to take Gabe away,” Hollifield added. “They feel that he has been the biggest factor in the other games.”
For Shelby, it’s hard to key in on just one contributor.
“I know [Travis Waldroup-
see SMAC/page b2
Rodriguez] has been the highest scorer, but the combination of all five of there kids is pretty good,” Hollifield said. “[DeVonte] Boykins is just getting stronger and stronger from that knee surgery. He probably is the backbone and catalyst for that team. we have to make sure we’re aware of him and what he’s doing.”
“We just need to come out and play 32 minutes,” Levine said. “Against a good team you have to be uptempo and have good effort.”
This game has more than just a conference crown on the line, it has serious state playoff implications.
A loss for Shelby mean a drop from an unquestioned No. 1 seed to a Non 2 or 3. In that case, the Golden Lions would likely face the Cavs again in the third round of the playoffs at home as opposed to the Western Regional in Greensboro.
However, Levine still wants this win.
Any time you win a game against a good team it’s special, and we’re definitely going down there to win the basketball game,” Levine said. “What you gain from it is the idea that you’re 1-2 against a good team when you could easily be 3-0. And it shows what can happen when you put together a good plan and execute.”
The playoffs are in the back of the coaches minds however.
“If we could win this game it would keep us from seeing East again until probably Regionals and that’s big for us,” Hollifield said.
“We’re going to have to play each other no matter what if we both keep winning. We know each other so well that it doesn’t matter where we play,” Levine said. “It all comes down to who comes out and plays better basketball on a given night.”
Last season the Cavs swept Shelby until the playoffs where the Golden Lions defeated East in the Western Regionals. Levine feels like the roles could likely be reversed in 2013.
“We’re going to play them enough and their time is going to come,” Levine said. “We’re going to put together a good game and when we do they’re going to go down.”
Tipoff is set for 7:30 at Lloyd Little Gymnasium on the campus of Shelby High.
Tale of the Tape:
East Rutherford (20-5, 10-2 SMAC)
Shelby (21-3, 11-1 SMAC)
1/18 @ER: Shelby 46, E. Rutherford 43
2/12 @SHS: Shelby 67, E. Rutherford 60
1/10 @SHS: E. Rutherford 53, Shelby 51
2/07 @ER: E. Rutherford 57, Shelby 54
2/16 @ER: E. Rutherford 59, Shelby 57 (SMAC Championship)
3/01 @Gboro: Shelby 45, E. Rutherford 40 (Western Regionals)
13- Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez^Jr.^6-5
23- T.J. Watkins^Sr.^6-0
24- Jarvis Hopper^Sr.^6-3
30- Roddric Ross^Jr.^6-6
12- DeVonte Boykins^Jr.^6-1
14- Donte Falls^Sr.^6-5
12- Chris Wray^Sr.^6-7
22- Cedric Cannon^Sr.^6-3
44- Spencer Clark^Sr.^6-5
10- Gabe DeVoe^Jr.^6-3
E. Rutherford^Brad Levine (15th season)
Shelby^Aubrey Hollifield (7th season)
Girls Championship: East Rutherford vs. Freedom/Patton winner 6:30 p.m.
Boy’s Championship: East Rutherford vs. Shelby 7:30 p.m.