The transformation didn’t take place until sometime in the third quarter.
That’s when it quit being just another early-season basketball game at Ed Peeler Gymnasium Wednesday night and it evolved into what brought out a near capacity crowd. It was Crest versus Shelby and all that entails.
On this occasion, the scene offered a young Crest boys’ squad building a 9-point lead with 5:01 to play before Shelby stormed back to take a 73-71 triumph.
That came on the heels of the Lady Golden Lions blitzing their rival hosts in the second half to pull away for a 69-40 win in the non-conference sweep.
Shelby will now host Kings Mountain Friday evening while Crest is scheduled to open conference play on Tuesday at Forestview.
Boys Game — Crest took advantage of poor free-throw shooting by the Golden Lions in the opening half for a 31-23 lead, then began breaking Shelby’s pressure in the second half. That kept up the pace of the game and also resulted in a number of Charger layups.
Crest led by as many as 11 points in the third period and it was 50-43 with the homecourt crew still ahead entering the final eight minutes.
Momentum went Shelby’s way when Isaiah Bess got hot, nailing a pair of 3-point shots to go with a follow shot that drew Shelby within 61-59 with 3:24 to go.
Shelby went ahead for the first time since the opening minutes when Bess made a steal and layup with 3:04 left for a 64-63 edge. Crest didn’t go quietly, taking the lead back twice down the stretch with foul shots by Jason Wray doing the trick both times.
The Golden Lions went ahead for keeps on Jaiden Hunt’s driving layup and subsequent free throw for a 3-point play with 2:25 to go with a 68-66 advantage. Shelby hit just enough foul shots the rest of the way and Crest was unable to counter.
Wray led Crest with 18 points with Chase Burgan adding 11 and Jordan Brooks nine. Dax Hollifeld had 24 points, Bess provided 17 and Hunt 16 for a Shelby squad that sank only 25 of 52 foul shots.
Girls — Shelby went to halftime ahead 25-22 against the Lady Chargers but looked like a different team in the final two quarters. Shelby’s active defense and ball movement on the other end of the court offered repeated layup opportunities to extend the lead.
Crest hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter — three by Niyya Green — to stay within 43-37 with two minutes to go before Shelby took control.
Neutika Degree led a balanced Shelby offense with 17 points, Saniya Watkins had 15, L’Mia Littlejohn 14 and Kaniah McCluney 11. Crest got 17 points from Alaysia Dorsey and Green supplied 10.