Rutherford County shines at All-Star event
Rutherford County basketball made a serious impression at the Blue-White All-Star games at T.C Roberson High School Friday night.
The Blue-White games are annual charity contests between Western North Carolina seniors which benefit local children with developmental disabilities.
Not only did R-S Central and East Rutherford combine to send seven players to the event, but those players played key roles on their respective teams.
R-S Central’s Tia Bristol and East Rutherford’s Shay Dewberry and Justina Greene played for the Blue All-Stars during the girls’ contest that the White team won, 63-50.
Bristol was second on the Blue All-Stars with 10 points while Dewberry added a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“I was playing with girls that I wasn’t used to, but it was fun,” Dewberry said. “I was getting a little frustrated though.”
“We didn’t know how we all played together and that’s fun and frustrating at the same time,” Greene added. “The whole experience was very fun though.”
Bristol’s head coach from R-S Central, Darius Fuller, was in the stands to watch Bristol play what could likely be her final competitive basketball game.
“It’s exciting to watch her do things we always knew she could do,” Fuller said. “She made me very proud.”
“It was fun to just meet the girls, have a good time and not really worry about who wins,” Bristol said.
The girls’ game was just an appetizer for an ultra-entertaining boys’ contest.
R-S Central’s Jay’len Hollis and Rashaun Whitesides paired with East Rutherford’s Devonte Boykins and Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez to bolster a Blue All-Stars team that proved to be head and shoulders above the White All-Stars in a 118-91 rout.
“We came together as a good team and we can’t do much better than that,” Hollis said. “ It was amazing playing alongside our rivals.”
“It’s been interesting. You usually think that when you bring people together from all over that they won’t mesh, but we just clicked,” Waldroup-Rodriguez said. “We’ve just played loose and had fun. It’s nice to play with some of these guys instead of worrying about guarding them.”
Although McDowell senior and Spindale resident Raekwon Miller won the game MVP award scoring 23 points, Hollis provided the aerial assault for the night slamming down a handful of highlight-reel dunks. Hollis’ final jam of the night was possibly the most spectacular as Miller led the fast break down the court, lobbed the ball between his legs and off the backboard to a trailing Hollis who finished the alley-oop with a two-hand flush. Hollis finished second on the team with 20 points.
“We came together and knew each other so we know when to throw the alleys and when to dunk it and show off,” Hollis said after the game.
Everyone in the crowd was wowed by Hollis’ display at the rim including R-S Central head basketball coach Greg Wright.
“We saw it on a daily basis. We let them stay after practice and we know what he can do,” Wright said. “He’s in a setting to put on a show and that’s what the crowd comes to see in an all-star game.”
Wright and East Rutherford head coach Brad LeVine were both in attendance to watch a pair of their seniors play at the high school level one last time.
“It’s rewarding for the kids and really an honor. They’ve had a great time coming up here and I’m real proud of both of them,” Wright said. “They we’re so instrumental in the success we’ve had the past two years and they’re really just two good kids who have bright futures ahead of them.”
“It’s relaxing to be a fan, but it’s nice to see a kid reap the rewards they deserve,” LeVine said.
Boykins finished with a 19 points while Whitesides and Waldroup-Rodriguez each had eight in the win.
“Getting along with and meeting new people was my favorite part,” Whitesides said. “Usually we’re around the same people all year so it’s great to meet new people and experience new things.”
“This is just the icing on the cake,” LeVine said. “We’re the far tip of western North Carolina and I don’t think there’s any question that they’re four of the best players on the floor tonight.”