By Craig Beilfuss
Bishop Lee and Joseph Hayes were too much for the Red Devils to handle in the end.
Lee finished with a game high 17 points and nine rebounds while Hayes was right behind him with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Lee had come into the contest averaging nearly 11 points per game and Hayes was averaging 22 points per game. Each one would control an offensive half for the Tigers.
Holton jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first eight minutes of action. Shelby managed only two first quarter buckets.
“We didn’t attack at all in that first probably ten minutes and finally we started attacking a little bit in the second quarter and cut into that lead,” said Shelby head coach Rick Zoulek.
The Red Devils managed to get a nine point lead at 19-10 midway through the second stanza. Shelby finished the half on an 8-0 run, as Lee hit for 10 points in the quarter and had 12 at the halftime break. The Tigers managed to outscore Holton 16-12 in the quarter.
The Red Devils held Hayes in check in the first half holding him to one 3-point bucket.
The third quarter saw the Red Devils slightly increase their lead as they held a slim 9-7 scoring advantage and took a 30-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hayes scored all seven of the Tigers points in the third quarter.
After a few lead changes and ties, Shelby’s defense caused some crucial Holton turnovers, which the Tigers offense cashed in on.
The Tigers took the lead for good with :32-seconds remaining on baseline pass from Hayes to Lee who hit a bank shot to put Shelby up 41-40.
With :19-seconds remaining Carson Claeys hit two free throws to give Shelby a 43-40 lead.
With four seconds remaining Carter Brant came up short on a 3-point shot to tie the game for Holton.
“The kids made good plays at the right time tonight,” said Zoulek.
“Shelby has a really nice team and coach Zoulek as always has done a great job with them,”said Holton head coach Keith Swanson.
“I thought our guys played a winning game and I need to do a better job in the future putting them in better positions to finish. We will take our lessons and pivot to our key matchup with Kent City tomorrow (Tuesday) night,” Swanson said.
Wyatt Dickman led Shelby with a team high 10 rebounds.
Wyatt Monette led Holton with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Austin Fowler finished 11 points. Carter Brant finished with seven points for the Red Devils. Bret Hosmer led Holton with seven steals.
Shelby improves to 8-5 overall and is 6-4 in the West Michigan Conference. The Tigers will host Hart on Thursday evening.
The Red Devils fall to 10-3 overall and are in a first place tie with Kent City in the CSAA-Silver with a perfect 6-0 record. Holton will be back in action on Tuesday evening, when host the Eagles from Kent City.