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East men halfway to hoops title

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A quest for a 2A state title is still alive for the East Rutherford Men's basketball team.

East Rutherford beat Mount Pleasant and Huss. Then they took down T.W. Andrews Saturday night in the third round.

In the first round, they destroyed Mount Pleasant 84-47. Huss, who was athletic and the 3A champions back in 2011 proved to be a worthy opponent. In the end, East led by four at half, jumped that to 15 points toward the end of the third quarter and won 67-50. Defensively, it might have been the best they have played all year.

Saturday, they weren't exactly full strength, but they played well enough to gain 16-point advantage by the end of the third and lead by 19 in the fourth. East won 82-71.

They now face Forest Hills at home Tuesday (2/28).

If East won Tuesday, they would play the winner of North Surry-Shelby in the Western Finals at Joel Coliseum in Winston Salem on Saturday (3/4). North Surry is the team to watch out for likely in the West finals. They have at least three solid shooters and just spanked Lincolnton by 34.

The other two county teams lost in the second round. R-S Central's girls won their first round game last Tuesday by 38, but were handed a 68-50 loss in the second round of the playoffs by North Surry. West Stanly hasn't seen a team as good as the Lady Hilltoppers all year as Central handed them the worst loss of the season. However, Central couldn't keep it to within less than 13 in the second half in round two and fell out of the playoffs early.

Kyra Davis and Alina Chavez end their high school hoops careers at R-S Central (22-6) in the loss. Chavez had 12 points in a easy first round win over West Stanly. Chavez was more of a defensive hawk for coming up with steals and making the easy baskets. Davis scored 1643 points in her career, 1300 of it in the last three years being at R-S. That's 14.93 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 110 contests.

East Rutherford (18-8) Girls upset Forbush for the second year in a row in the postseason, but were dealt a heartbreaking 55-54 loss at Smoky Mountain in the second round. Allegedly, Smoky Mountain missed the go-ahead free throw with two seconds left and somebody from East bench shouted in excitement as the Lady Cavs rebounded. East was hit with a technical foul for some reason and Smoky Mountain hit one free throw to end the game.

What a terrible way to end the season? That's especially true for seniors Jorday Gray and Emily Elgin. Elgin played a huge part for the last four seasons as a scorer and a leader. Gray played her role as a guard off the bench and stepped up in key moments. Congrats to those four seniors between the two teams mentioned above and their contributions to each program.

NASCAR

Congrats to Forest City based Joey Gase and Jimmy Means Motorsports! They went on to finish seventh at Daytona in the season opening Xfinity Series race on Saturday.

The Camping World Truck Series put on a great show Friday with a rookie winning. The suspense and pretty much knocking out every vehicle on the speedway was kind of intriguing. Matt Crafton took a ride that he will likely never forget as his truck flipped in mid-air bounced and off about every wall and vehicle down the backstretch in Daytona. Luckily, he wasn't hurt, but I'm sure NASCAR will be looking at how to keep the trucks back on the ground after a couple of incidents in Daytona.

The Cup race was fairly exciting too. Many torn up race cars, drivers upset and even a gas mileage skirmish at the end. That left Kurt Busch to pull off a last lap pass to win his first Daytona 500. Busch, who won the title in 2004, now has the Harley J in his trophy case as well.

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