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Prep Basketball: East Rowan boys 86, West Forsyth 64

By Nick Bowton

Salisbury Post

CLEMMONS — East Rowan coach Greg McKenzie received a good riddance message from West Forsyth coach David Laton as the two left the court Friday.

Laton saw first-hand last season how well the Mustangs seem to shoot the ball in the West Forsyth gym, and he saw it again last night, when all five East starters scored in double figures in an 86-64 victory. East made 13 3-pointers as a team.

“I don’t see anything different about this gym,” said McKenzie, whose team won at West Forsyth in the regular season last year and also won the conference tournament there. “I told our team the last couple days, ‘You know what? You guys are doing great, but I really don’t understand why we’re not shooting the ball better. Our preseason scrimmages, we hit 24 3s the first one, 20 the second one. Since then, we haven’t shot the ball — as a group — well the whole year.

“We ought to be hitting

10-plus every game.”

The way the Mustangs

(13-1, 3-0 CPC) played last night, Laton had to think they were making 10 3s every quarter.

East made its first four shots of the game and led 17-13 going into the second quarter. Kenan McKenzie (15 points) finished the first-quarter scoring with one of his five 3s.

More Mustangs started to get hot in the second quarter, when Kurt Misenheimer (17 points) made one of his three 3s, Shawn Eagle (16 points) made one of his three, and point guard Spenser Davis (11 points) made his only one with a buzzer-beating, off-the-backboard runner for a 38-31 halftime lead.

“Shawn’s inside-outside, that’s big,” Coach McKenzie said. “Kurt, when he’s in the corner you just feel like it’s automatic. Kenan shot the ball with more confidence than he’s been shooting with. Justin (Vanderford), he and I had a little talk after halftime and we tried to get him involved a little more. He’s such a good player.”

All of the Mustangs were Friday night. Kenan McKenzie started the third quarter with a 3 from the right corner, and Vanderford added a three-point play for a 44-31 lead less than a minute later.

Vanderford, a 5-foot-9 junior, scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the quarter, as he repeatedly beat defenders off the dribble and finished plays with acrobatic layups.

Just like the previous two quarters, the Mustangs finished the third with a 3. This time McKenzie made one from the right corner with three seconds left for a 64-50 lead.

West Fosyth (6-9, 1-3) beat the Mustangs inside all night, as Kyle Boardman had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Travaughn Long had 17 points and Allan Jones had 15.

That production just didn’t mean much because the Titans couldn’t stop East.

“I really don’t know how other teams plan for it,” Vanderford said. “We got five great guards that can drive to the hole every time they get the ball — and five great guys that can shoot the ball. I bet it’d be hard.”

Laton would agree with that assessment. That’s why he had a little chat with Coach McKenzie on the way out. East will move back down to 3A next season, so Laton won’t have to entertain the Mustangs as guests anymore.

“I said, ‘I’m glad the conference tournament’s not here, because you never miss in my gym,’ ” Laton said. “They never miss. I’ve never seen anything like it. They ought to get a piece of the floor and take it back with ’em. They’d never lose in this gym. I’m telling you. The way they play here, they’d never lose.”

east rowan (86) — Vanderford 20, Misenheimer 17, Eagle 16, McKenzie 15, Davis 11, Karl 3, Baker 2, Wilhelm 2, Holmes, Ponds.

west forsyth (64) — Boardman 19, Long 17, Jones 15, P.Kostelic 6, Johnson 5, Bodenheimer 2, S.Kostelic, Morgan.

E. Rowan 17 21 26 22 — 86

W. Forsyth 13 18 19 14 — 64

*

Contact Nick Bowton at 704-797-4256 or nbowton@salisburypost.com.

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