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R-S Girls, East Boys End Dream Seasons in Elite Eight

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Kevin Carver
It was tough ending for Rutherford County hoops in the Regionals this past week.

R-S Central’s girls, under the direction of Darius Fuller made a great effort in Greensboro, but lost to Hickory 62-56, last Tuesday. The Lady Hilltoppers proved that they indeed were for real this season in the 3A ranks, but nine more made free throws by Hickory sent R-S Central (25-3) home two rounds shy of a state title.

East Rutherford’s boys met similar fate on Thursday as they laced it up with Shelby for the fourth time this season. East Rutherford (23-5) beat Shelby in the previous three meetings, but fell in a sloppy 45-40 contest to end the season. East shot just 4-of-25 from three on the night. Last year, they hit seven three’s on the same court in one quarter against Salisbury before winning it all in 2A.

Since the year is over, I have come up with my list of an All-Rutherford County basketball team for boys and girls.

2012 RW All-All-Rutherford County boys basketball First Team:

First of all, I think Co-MVP is about the best option when it comes to these two players this season. Did I mention that they are sophomores?

Devonte Boykins (E. Rutherford) is nearly unstoppable and impressed more so in the second half of the season. Boykins (18.8 points per game, (9.2 rebounds per game) accumulated 18 double-doubles this season and has no problem carrying East on his back after the Christmas break.

Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez (TJCA) demands attention because he will find a way to get the ball in the basket. Boykins and Waldroup-Rodriguez are named Co-MVP as Waldroup-Rodriguez (32 points, 10 rebounds per game) had just 14 double doubles this season.

One could argue that T.J. Watkins (E. Rutherford) is the best athlete in the county, but I attest that nobody is a better defender. Watkins dropped in 11 ppg, shot 34% from three and 73% from the foul line this season.

Making big shots when the Hilltoppers needed them, that was Sharod Hines (R-S Central) calling. Hines, a senior point guard will leave Central as one of the all-time three-point greats that the program has seen. Still, his transition from guard to point, showed maturity, but it never left him unfocused as a top scorer and even a defender.

Carlos Watkins (Chase) rounds out the first team with his big body making life troublesome for opponents in the paint. While he muscled his way in the lane, the big guy also has a very soft shooting touch that would make any scout impressed.

Second team: Jay Blanton (R-S Central, Jarvis Hopper (East Rutherford), Efrim Borders (TJCA), Maddox Stamey (East Rutherford) and Devon Lynch (R-S Central).

On the girls side, Shannon Hines (R-S Central) easily gets player of the year after breaking Rutherford County’s all-time scoring record for a career, plus her 22.6 points per game led Central to it’s deepest playoff run in 24 years.

Rachel Camp (East Rutherford) may only be a sophomore, but she can do it all. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see triple-double stats at times next season with a shot at conference player of the year.

Kaitlynn Smart (Chase) averaged 14.4 points and 10.6 boards per game--on a bum knee this season. Although those numbers are down a little bit from last year, you have to admire how she played through injury.

Alyssia Watkins (R-S Central) was no doubt the defensive catalyst for the Lady Hilltoppers this season and the one who made big play after big play all year long.

Mercedes Davis (R-S Central) closes out the first team. She closed her career at Central going over the 1,000-point mark and 134 three-pointers during that span.

Second Team: Tia Bristol (R-S Central), Shay Dewberry (East Rutherford), Aaliyah Davis (R-S Central), Kaziah Miller (E. Rutherford) and Victoria Bennett (TJCA).

On to high school football, I caught wind of a story last week about Thomas Jefferson. And while I could have said something, I waited for it to completely unfold first. The story about Jerry Cash coming to coach football at Thomas Jefferson is true. Cash, who was very successful at East Rutherford High, is the new head coach in Avondale.

Cash, who starred at Chesnee High back in the day, ended his post at East Rutherford after the 2008-2009 season. East went 4-8 that year. It’s an interesting story, but truthfully I can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines again.

And if anybody questions the Tarheels capabilities--Ask Duke! Carolina played scary good last week against Duke and should breeze to the title game of ACC Championship, if they find that groove in the ACC tourney this week.
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