Carnley's scoring record not enough in West loss

Published: Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 08:15 PM.

PANAMA CITY — Khaliel Spearman is aware of history in the Halifax All-Star Classic. Now he’s aware of his place in it.

The Rutherford senior set the overall scoring record with 37 points in leading the East to a 120-115 win over the West at the Billy Harrison Field House on Saturday. His achievement was nearly matched by the West’s Austin Carnley, who broke a long-standing team record with 30 points. The outcome also was the highest-scoring game in the 10-year history of the event.

Spearman battled East teammate Alex Brown for scoring honors early in the second half and finished the final 20 minutes with 28 points. He and Brown were instrumental in crafting a 12-2 run in 70 seconds that turned a five-point lead into a 99-84 East cushion with 8:42 to play. Spearman had 31 points, one more than previous East scoring record-holder Jon Wade, with a little more than two minutes to go.

East coaches Travis Blanton and Thomas Register called timeout in the final minutes and informed Spearman that he was nearing Taliah Moore’s overall mark of 33 set last year. Spearman tied Moore with a jumper and surpassed her with four free throws, the final two capping the score.

Spearman spoke fondly of Wade, who also played at Rutherford, during Media Day on Friday. Spearman joked “Well, he’s a good Jon Wade, but he’s no Khaliel Spearman.”

No, indeed, as Spearman became the fourth Ram to earn MVP honors since the award was instituted in 2007.

“With all of these great teammates I have, I didn’t expect this,” Spearman said. “It’s a great accomplishment and it feels good to continue the tradition of Rudd (Rutherford) winning that MVP.”

The East also extended its winning streak to four games and secured the seventh win in the series. The triumph looked to be in doubt for 30 minutes, as Carnley of Paxton hit four of his nine 3-pointers in the first half and the West trailed by only two points, 53-51. Carnley, who was the West MVP, and Ronnie Baylark, who scored 25 points, helped the West build a 65-55 lead three minutes into the second half.

Spearman’s 3-pointer six minutes later capped an East rally for an 82-80 lead. The East didn’t trail again.

“We gave them a run for their money,” said Carnley, who broke Jeremy Payne’s West record of 27 points set in the inaugural year of 2005. “I just wanted to do my best to help my team, but I’m not gonna lie, it feels good to set the scoring record.”

Spearman agreed that the individual accolade was satisfying and the new basketball he received as MVP also would be a nice addition to his pickup games. But he said there was more to the honor and more to the victory.

“This is to show people that we put in the work and work hard at Rutherford,” Spearman said. “And we (the East) didn’t want this (streak) to end.”

Chai Baker scored 15 points and Roderick Copeland 13 for the East, which connected on 19 3-pointers. Denzel Ware added 20 points, Lane Strickland scored 12 and Wyatt Kemper 11 for the West, which held seven first-half leads.



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