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Prep Basketball: East Rowan boys 75, Davie County 55: Mustangs drill 17 3-pointers, win 13th straight

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

GRANITE QUARRY — Seventeen.

That’s how many candles Justin Vanderford blew out on his last birthday cake — and how many 3-point baskets East Rowan made in a 75-55 win over visiting Davie County on Tuesday.

“It’s crazy, man. Crazy,” Vanderford said after he and teammate Kurt Misenheimer each knocked down six 3-pointers in a sparkling display of marksmanship. “This is what we’ve been waiting for all year. Once somebody hits, everybody gets going.”

The same goes for the first-place Mustangs. They’re 6-0 in league play halfway through their CPC season, 16-1 overall and winners of 13 straight games. It’s hard to imagine a prettier picture in GQ these days.

“It’s hard not to take things for granted when you’re winning like we are,” third-year East coach Greg McKenzie said. “The coaches and the players. I kind of work myself up to a frenzy worrying about everything, but our guys are handling it very well. They’re relaxed before the game. They’re confident. My job is to make sure they keep working hard.”

Davie coach Mike Absher called East’s long-range attack “the real deal” after the War Eagles (5-13, 0-7) remained winless in the conference.

“It’s amazing how simple it is but how hard it is to defend,” Absher said. “It’s not like they were setting 9,000 screens. They penetrate, hit the gaps and hit the shooters. They always know right where the shooters are.”

Like pieces on a chess board, they were strategically placed all over the court.

East made seven 3-pointers in the opening quarter — including Vanderford jumpers from the left and right corners just 16 seconds apart and Misenheimer’s knockout punch from the left side with four seconds showing on the clock. It provided a 23-11 lead after one period.

“Coach always tells us if we get a good shot, take it,” Misenheimer said after netting 22 points. “And everybody was feeling it tonight. As always, the guards penetrated and found the open man. And when you’re not selfish, good things happen.”

No one was less selfish than East point guard Spenser Davis. The quiet senior did all the dirty work, driving and dishing his way for 14 assists, nine rebounds and no turnovers.

“He’s incredible,” Vanderford gushed after contributing 20 points, four assists and three steals. “I love playing with him. He always knows what to do with the ball.”

Davis, the MVP of the recent Christmas tournament, may soon be collecting more hardware.

“I’m glad you said that,” McKenzie said. “A lot of people don’t realize how valuable he is to our team.”

Absher knows how difficult East is to defend with Davis running the offense.

“We tried four different defenses in the first half,” he said. “Then we switched again at halftime. We gave them five different looks — and it didn’t matter.”

*

NOTES: Davie went 9-for-19 on 3-point attempts. The Eagles were paced by junior Matt Vanhoy, who shot 7-for-10 from the field, scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Drew Asher had 16 points, and big man Darius Hall had 13 rebounds and four blocks.

Davie (55) — Vanhoy 17, Absher 16, Lowery 11, Hall 6, Miller 3, Williams 2, Cope, Rivers, Redmon, Mayfield.

EAST ROWAN (75) — Misenheimer 22, Vanderford 20, Eagle 15, McKenzie 12, Wilhelm 2, Holmes 2, Davis 2, Ponds, Karl, Baker, Wilson.

Davie 11 10 15 19 — 55

E. Rowan 23 19 22 11 — 75

*

Contact David Shaw at dshaw@salisburypost.com.

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