Shelby ends season for Cavaliers, 71-67
It was another packed house at Shelby High for another highly-anticipated matchup between Shelby and the visiting East Rutherford Cavaliers. An yet again, it was a classic.
The Cavs opened the contest looking like a lock to advance to the third round of the state playoffs but the Golden Lions made another comeback to capture a 71-67 win, ending the Cavaliers season.
“It was just another great basketball game between two of the best teams in the state,” east head coach Brad Levine said after the game. “They’ve been a possession or two better than us all year and it felt like that again.”
East’s Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez wasted little time getting the Cavalier scoring going with a deep 3 35 seconds into the game.
Shelby’s Spencer Clark scored the next four points to give Shelby their first lead with 6:10 left in the first, but it was all East from there.
DeVonte Boykins and a Roddric Ross buzzer-beating 3 led the charge for East as they finished the first quarter with a commanding 22-8 lead.
The bad luck continued for Shelby out of the break as Gabe DeVoe inadvertently knocked in a Ross miss trying to corral a rebound.
Shelby found a rhythm and went on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to cut the Cavalier lead to six at 27-21. East got back on track with a 9-4 run to end the half and took a 36-25 lead into the half.
Boykins finished the half with 15 points.
DeVoe, Shelby’s star guard, exploded out of the half and helped Shelby to a 16-6 run with 11 of his team-leading 25 points coming in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
“We didn’t do anything different on him defensively,”Levine said about DeVoe’s big third quarter. “He just made some shots.”
The Golden Lions took their first lead since 4-2 on a Chris Wray bucket that put them ahead 43-42.
Ross and T.J. Watkins answered with five combined points and at the end of the third the Cavs held onto a slim 49-47 lead.
East opened the final frame on a 7-3 run to go up 56-50, but by the five-minute mark Shelby had grabbed a 58-56 lead.
Two Boykins free throws on the other tied it up a 58 apiece, but a Shelby 3 on the other end gave them the lead for good with three minutes left.
Boykins did his best to keep the Cavs in the contest but Shelby converted from the line down the stretch closing out the 71-67 victory.
“My kids played as hard as they could play but they just had that one stretch in the third quarter,” Levine said. “We just missed some shots and they made them.”
Boykins led all scorers with 29 while Watkins and Ross added 18 and 11 respectively.
Aside from DeVoe’s 25 points, Shelby was led by Clark’s 16 and Wray’s 15.
Shelby moves on to face the winner of East Burke/West Caldwell. East finishes the season 21-7.
“East Rutherford’s kids played hard. I have no qualms about what I did or what they did,” Levine said. “There’s a good future at East Rutherford … I wish Shelby the best but we’ll be back.”
These are great kids and I love them to death,” Levine added. “I’ve been telling them that all year and I’ll continue to love them.”
Shelby 71, East Rutherford 67
SHS 8 17 22 24 - 71
ER 22 14 13 18 - 67