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Reynolds routs Mustangs: East boys shoot 3-of-27 from 3-point range

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

WINSTON-SALEM — East Rowan’s hopes of going undefeated in conference play for the first time in school history trickled down the drain on Saturday night.

The Mustangs (16-2, 6-1) knew their trip to face R.J. Reynolds in Bryson Gym would be the acid test in the CPC, but no one expected to get taken behind the woodshed for a frightful beating.

Reynolds put together a flawless performance and mauled the sixth-ranked team in 4A in every phase of the game. The final was 88-62, and it was as one-sided as it sounds.

Reynolds (11-8, 7-1) avenged a loss in Granite Quarry and took over first place in the league race.

It was the worst loss in coach Greg McKenzie’s tenure at East, in which he has posted an enviable 58-17 record. He gave credit where it was due — to the Demons.

“Just one of those nights, and they gave us an old-fashioned butt-whipping,” he said. “Defensively, we weren’t bad, but they still made every shot. Offensively, we just couldn’t score.”

Point guard Spenser Davis had a great night in the loss, spilling his guts on the floor for about 30 minutes, tossing in a career-high 24 points and pulling down a team-high 13 rebounds.

“It was a big game, but they just came out a lot more fired up than us,” Davis said. “They just kept making shots, and there wasn’t much we could do.”

Justin Vanderford scored 16 points, but the trio of Kurt Misenheimer, Kenan McKenzie and Shawn Eagle was quiet. All three average double figures, but they were held to a combined 14 points.

“This was a game our guys were looking forward to, and we came out and played well defensively,” Reynolds coach Bill Martin said. “They got some drives , but you have to give up something. We took away the 3s.”

East didn’t make a 3-pointer in the first half and finished the game shooting a dismal 3-for-27 from 3-point range.

East trailed 13-12 when the Demons, in general, and Mark Stevenson, in particular, caught fire against the Mustangs’ 3-2 zone. Stevenson’s fourth 3-pointer gave the Demons a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

When Stevenson (six 3s, 23 points) and Rod Kirby tossed in back-to-back 3s it was 32-16, and East was forced to abandon its favorite defense. Reynolds finished the first half with nine 3-pointers and led 47-28.

“When we’re focused and playing hard, we can be a pretty good team,” Martin understated. “This was one of our best efforts.”

Martin warned his team East would make a second-half run. Greg McKenzie fully expected it too.

“I kept waiting and waiting,” McKenzie said. “But it didn’t happen.”

The closest East got in the second half was 61-47 when Vanderford finished a three-point play with 6:53 remaining, but Alex Greven answered with a pull-up jumper and Kirby finished two drives to push the lead back to 20 points.

“I’m disappointed but not disheartened,” Greg McKenzie said. “It’s just one game, and we’ll bounce back.”

EAST (62) — S. Davis 24, Vanderford 16, Eagle 5,McKenzie 5, Misenheimer 4, Baker 4, Ingold 2, Holmes 2, Wilhelm, Wilson, Ponds, Karl.

REYNoLDS (88) — Stevenson 23, Carpenter 18, Kirby 15, W. Davis 12, Samuels 7, Greven 4, Wicks 2, Silva 2, Atkinson 2, Ingram 2, Martin 1, Hinton, Johnson, Hairston.

East 12 16 14 20 — 62

Reynolds 19 28 13 28 — 88

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com

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