With the gym filled to capacity, Shoemaker and Ellison put on a show Tuesday night.
“I think it gives everyone an adrenaline rush,” Grey Wolves senior Romeo Postell said. “At the start of the game, everybody started going crazy and making noise, and it got everybody pumped up.
“And during the timeout, everybody started coming out and doing flips and the Shoemaker chant, and it gave us a lot of energy, so we really appreciate that.”
Under the bright lights and in front of a sold-out crowd, No. 16 Shoemaker got its redemption with a 63-54 win over Ellison, avenging its only District 12-6A loss on Dec. 4, when the Eagles earned a 70-60 overtime victory..
The bleachers were filled by 6 p.m., and at the conclusion of the girls varsity game, no tickets were available.
“It’s good to have, and it’s good for the kids,” Grey Wolves head coach Brandon Gilbert said, “but sometimes you have guys that play for the crowd instead of remembering what we’re trying to do and trying to accomplish on the basketball court.”
Despite a slow start from Houston commit J’Wan Roberts, he scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by six points with four minutes remaining in the game, the senior told his team, “We have to play for each other, and pick it up.”
Roberts drove down the lane for a layup and drew a foul from Eagles’ Amir Davis.
“I was at the free throw line and they were saying ‘overrated,’” Roberts said. “I just had to stay focused and lead my team to the victory and just play off the energy.”
The Grey Wolves forward made the pair of free throws.
Feeding off the energy, Roberts added a shot from just beyond the top of the key on the next possession to extend the Grey Wolves’ lead to four points, 49-45.
Ellison and Shoemaker were tied 9-9 following the first quarter, and the Grey Wolves led 22-19 at halftime.
The Eagles and the Grey Wolves exchanged the lead four times after
the break, but with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, Roberts delivered consecutive dunks to solidify Shoemaker’s win.
The victory was extra sweet for Roberts.
“It feels good,” he said, “because after we lost to Ellison, the next day they were talking smack and talking about when they come out to Shoemaker it’s going to be the same result, but I wasn’t going for it, because I knew I could play better than the first time.
“I had to redeem myself and play better this time.”
Despite being alone at the top of the district, the Grey Wolves understand that duration of the season will be challenging.
“We know that everybody is coming for us,” Shoemaker junior Nasir Kirk said. “We know we’re being hunted, and everybody wants to take us down.
“We just have to make sure that we stay focused every single game and every single quarter from the first buzzer to the last buzzer.”