For one half Friday night in Carmichael, it lived up to a battle of The Bee's top-ranked teams and rivals who always seem to bring out the best in one another.
The No. 1 Jesuit Marauders trailed the No. 2 Sheldon Huskies 37-35.
Then came the blitz.
Sheldon opened the second half with a 13-2 run, outscored Jesuit 31-15 in the third quarter and coasted to an easy 88-70 Delta River League win.
Sheldon's combination of athletic ability and defensive intensity, plus the amazing all-around combo play of dynamic juniors Dakarai Allen and D'Erryl Williams, proved too much for Jesuit. The Marauders have now lost five straight times to the Huskies, including last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game.
But this was by the largest margin, and the second half dominance left Jesuit stunned.
With the 6-foot-6 Allen and 6-3 Williams leading the way, Sheldon made 18 of 28 shots in the second half while contesting everything Jesuit attempted.
"We're a defensive team this year," said Sheldon coach Joey Rollings. "I think rebounding and defense won it for us along with our transition offense."
Allen, a slender wing, finished with 29 points, four steals and three blocks; Williams, a muscular point guard, added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Varsity contributors since their freshmen years and now the team's leaders with the graduations of last year's stars Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton, beating Jesuit is always a priority for the duo.
"They haven't beaten us since our freshmen years," Allen said. "We don't feel we should lose to anyone in Sacramento. As long as we play our game, there's no stopping us."
Junior post Ryan Manning added 14 points and 10 rebounds and senior forward Kyiron Thomas 14 points for Sheldon (13-3, 2-0).
Kurt Parker kept Jesuit in the game in the first half with four three-pointers and finished as the Marauders' leading scorer with 18 points. Parker Uu added 14 and Brian Glodowski 12 for the Marauders (14-4, 1-1).
"In the first half we let them shoot too many threes and they were banging them down," Rollings said. "I thought in the second half we didn't give them any open looks."
Rollings thinks that his ambitious nonleague scheduling has prepared the Huskies well for the monster Delta River League that also includes No. 3 Pleasant Grove, No. 12 Oak Ridge and No. 14 Folsom.
The Huskies split games with two Texas powers and beat highly ranked teams from Kansas, Washington, the Bay Area and Southern California.
"We're used to stepping up and playing in big games," Rollings said. "When we were down in San Diego, we were the smallest team by far. So this was easy for us."