East boys take down Raiders, 48-35
By Marny Hendrick
SALISBURY — No one will ever accuse the East Rowan boys of running up the score on opponents. That is not how they roll.
The Mustangs more often than not will lull you into a sense of complacency. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn’t, as their 6-6 record indicates. Friday morning in the consolation game of the Dale’s/Sam Moir Christmas Classic, East used its deliberate style of play to pull away from South Rowan, 48-35.
With the score locked at 29-29 as the final period opened, the Mustangs dominated the final eight minutes with a 12-of-15 foul shooting exhibition and a takeaway defensive effort.
“Every single game we have played this season has been a grind-it-out game,” said East coach Kurt Misenheimer. “And the fourth quarter has always been the difference maker. We have been in that situation so many time this year and this time it went our way.”
East pulled out the win as senior Trevor Scruggs (13 points) came through with a huge 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:17 left, for a 35-29 lead. Junior guard Gabe Hinceman then led the free throw parade by hitting 5-of-6 to expand the margin to 11 points, as the game wound down.
“We really just had to lock down on defense because they (South) have so many good shooters,” Hinceman said, after leading the team with 14 points, including 9-of-12 from the foul line. “As long as we can play that way and secure the rebounds, that is just more possessions for us.”
East outpointed the Raiders (4-7) by a 19-6 margin in the decisive final quarter, holding South to just a pair of field goals.
“That pretty much sums it up for us,” said South coach Andre McCain. “The fourth quarter just wasn’t there for us today. We turned the ball over (13 times) too many times in the second half and were making too many bad decisions. It is tough to recover from that.”
The win puts East in the boys fifth-place game at 1:30 Saturday against North Stanly. South will try to get away with a win in the tournament at 10:30 a.m., playing in the seventh-place contest against West Rowan.
The Raiders led by five points twice at the beginning of the game, thanks primarily to a pair of long 3-pointers by Connor Childress (eight points), plus solid inside/outside play by senior Tyrese Shaver (17 points and six rebounds). Guard Dillon Kluttz scored six points and led the team with seven rebounds before fouling out late.
South won the rebound battle, 33-28, but East dominated from the foul line, hitting 17-of-24 overall while the Raiders made just 3-of-4.
It was the second win of the season for East over South. The Mustangs prevailed, 53-42, in overtime, on Dec. 13.
SOUTH ROWAN (35) — Shaver 17, Childers 8, Kluttz 6, Graham 2, Finger 2, Powers, Bebber, Jones, Hines, Gaskin.
EAST ROWAN (48) — Hinceman 14, Scruggs 13, Hooper 8, Bennett 6, Spry 3, Sprinkle 3, Jefferson 1, Torrence, Jordan, Forbis, Plemmons, Smith.
South Rowan 13 7 9 6 — 35
East Rowan 11 8 10 19 —48