GREENSBORO Bad news, at least for Shelby High basketball fans. Tuesday night in the N.C. 2A Western Regional semifinals, Golden Lions junior point guard Gabe DeVoe didnt have a big game. He got in early foul trouble. He ended up fouling out early in the fourth quarter. He played only 20 of a possible 32 minutes.
The good news for Shelby fans is that the Golden Lions didnt really need DeVoe to be the guy in the red cape he has been all season.
Tuesday, the Golden Lions were too big, too athletic and simply too overwhelming for Smoky Mountain. Shelby won 84-46 at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center and advanced to Saturdays regional championship game against Waxhaw Cuthbertson at 11:30 a.m.
Just watching DeVoe play even in the limited time he was on the court, and in the limited way he was playing, holding back and trying to avoid fouling you could just tell hes special.
This is a guy who put up 37 points and 11 assists last week against East Rutherford, which probably would have been at the regional itself if it didnt have to face Shelby so early. This is a guy who is 6-foot-3 and built like a high school linebacker. This is a guy who has been an Observer player of the week this season seven times.
Gabe and (6-foot-6 senior Chris Wray and 6-foot-5 senior Donte Falls), all three of them have been real big, Shelby coach Aubrey Hollifield said. I call them, under my breath, My Big Three, because I dont want to offend anybody else. Theyre our backbone and its been that way all year long. And the thing thats always good is when one of them doesnt have a big game, the other two usually step up and even it out. Theyre great kids to coach. I love them. Im glad their with me. I wouldnt trade them.
Sure enough, with DeVoe limited in minutes, Wray, who has committed to Division I Mount Saint Marys, had 13 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. Falls had 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Smoky Mountain (25-4) began the game with four guys playing a tight zone defense and point guard Jayce Wolfe chasing DeVoe around like his basketball life depended on it. The speciality defense is called a Box and one and teams dont use it, especially from the opening tip and especially against a team with more than one offensive weapon like Shelby unless they are really concerned that a player might go nuts.
And DeVoes like that. He averages 20.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and shoots 50 percent from the field.
Its hard to separate him from the basketball, and you cant back off and play him to drive, because his jumper is that good. He said he has offers from Gardner-Webb, Marshall, Mercer, UNC Wilmington and Western Carolina. He said Virginia Tech is beginning to recruit him too.
I wasnt surprised by the box and one, he said after scoring 13 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and a steal. I guess I just didnt get it going. I got the early fouls and I wasnt able to be as aggressive as I wanted to. It was frustrating, but it was fine because my teammates picked me up.
Wertz: 704-612-9716 Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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