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East wins the SMAC Tourney; still undefeated

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Well, the men of East Rutherford's basketball team just completed a 26-0 season. Six more wins and they become state champs for the second time since 2011.

They beat Shelby for the third time this season with a 77-66 win last Friday for the SMAC Tournament Championship. They could very well see them again in fourth match up during regionals.

It was a 34-32 East lead at the break, but Josh Searcy nailed two three's and ran the margin to 12 by the end of the third quarter at 60-48.

Tyrese Carson (senior) was the catalyst in doing all the little things right, especially in the second half in the Shelby win. Carson rebounded, assisted, hit free throws and scored when they needed him too. Searcy, Malik Hamrick and Juwan Blanton all scored in double figures in the victory.

"Carson has been around the longest in the program and he doesn't get the usual limelight," East Rutherford Men's basketball coach Brad Levine said. "This is a fun puzzle to put together and fun to watch. I'm tickled to get to coach this group."

Now, it's on to the 2A State Playoffs as three Rutherford County teams are in.

Here is sort of a prognostication of what could turnout this week. East Rutherford's Men hosted Mt. Pleasant Tuesday, likely gets Huss Thursday and if I am guessing right, would have TW Andrews on Saturday (2/25). This all depends on if they win each game as all those games would be at home. East Rutherford lost in the first round of the playoffs last year.

R-S Central girls hosted West Stanly in the first round Tuesday, would likely go to North Surry on Thursday and if they survive, would have East Davidson at home or Mountain Heritage on the road Saturday. That all depends on if they keep winning. Central made it all the way to the final four last year.

East Rutherford's ladies will hit the road to Forbush in the first round, likely go to Smoky Mountain in the second and if surviving could play at East Lincoln in the third. The Lady Cavs made it to the second round a year ago.

Basketball All-conference players from Rutherford County:

Boys: Zyrion Wilkins (RS), Josh Searcy (ER), Malik Hamrick (ER), Juwan Blanton (ER) and Larry Douglas (CH). Girls: Kyra Davis (RS), Jada Logan (RS), Kendra Ross (ER) Emily Elgin (ER), Osha Makerson (ER).

Congrats to the following state Wrestling Champions in 2A: Caleb Spears (RS), Kanaan Brock (RS), Sammy Peticos (Chase) and Chase Emory (Chase). Others who faired well were Ramon Rodriguez finishes second (RS), Dylan Thrift finished fourth (Chase) and Hunter Dover finished fourth (Chase) in their weight classes respectively.

As for the Daytona 500, give me Martin Truex Jr. for the win please! Denny Hamlin should be in the running, but I am sure Dale Jr. will be the sentimental favorite considering his comeback. I'm still unsure about the new segment racing and the too much damage to continue rule NASCAR has put in place.

Still the Can-Am race was better than I thought it would be this past weekend at Daytona with Joey Logano surviving and winning.

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