East boys secure top seed in Moir
By David Shaw
GRANITE QUARRY — All Greg McKenzie and the East Rowan boys basketball team want for Christmas is a 1-0 conference record and a top seed in next week’s holiday tournament.
They received both in a neatly wrapped package Thursday night. East (8-1 overall) placed five scorers in double figures and beat visiting R.J. Reynolds 76-70 in its CPC opener.
“Here’s what we learned tonight,” McKenzie said after the Mustangs held their own with the neighborhood bully. “Stick with the gameplan. Don’t panic. Stick with the plan even if they hit all those 3s.
“We did, and look what happened. We still won by six.”
RJR (6-4, 2-1 CPC) fed East a dish of its own pot roast, flushing nine 3-pointers — five of them by forward Mark Stevenson, the game’s high-scorer with 27 points. But second-year coach Billy Martin said East is simply a team that gets things done.
“They don’t do anything to hurt themselves,” Martin said. “They understand how to make plays for each other. The thing is, it’s not just one of them — and that’s their strength. They’ve got several players that can hurt you.”
Players like Kenan McKenzie, who posted his first career triple-double (14 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds). And Shawn Eagle, who shot 7-for-8 from the field and scored a team-high 18 points. And, of course, Trey Holmes, who played like a mine-sniffing hound dog — penetrating Reynolds’ defense for layups and short-range bank shots, going 7-of-9 from the field and netting a career-best 15 points off the bench.
“Trey played hard, and he made easy shots,” Coach McKenzie said. “He took what was there. A lot of kids make easy shots look hard. He made them look easy.”
Holmes made a crucial basket with 4:22 to play, just seconds after teammate Kurt Misenheimer had a layup attempt smothered against the glass by an imposing RJR defender. Holmes snagged the rebound and hit a putback, providing a
68-64 East lead.
“Just in the right place at the right time,” he said with a school-boy grin. “His shot went up, and I went right with it.”
A minute later Holmes took an inbounds pass from Kenan McKenzie and made a layup for a 70-64 edge. East limited Reynolds to two baskets in the final three minutes while Misenheimer cemented the outcome with a last-minute tap-in.
“It was a good, solid win,” Eagle said. “And a great way to start the conference. Now we get to start thinking about the tournament — we’ll practice the day after Christmas. I guess there won’t be much time to play with the toys.”
R.J. Reynolds (70) — Stevenson 27, Carpenter 18, Kirby 10, Wicks 6, Davis 6, Ingram 3.
EAST ROWAN (76) — Eagle 18, Holmes 15, Misenheimer 14, McKenzie 14, Vanderford 11, Davis 4, Wilhelm.
R.J.R 16 18 17 19 — 70
E. Rowan 22 15 22 17 — 76
Contact David Shaw at email@example.com.