GREENSBORO — Fletcher Abee took a pass on the left wing, turned, fired and swished a 3-pointer.
It was a sight Freedom fans were very accustomed to after Abee set program record after record en route to being the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer in a four-year varsity career.
And just as it did on many occasions for his teams over that period of time, Abee’s 3 kickstarted a 119-80 rout for the West boys over the East squad in the N.C. Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star basketball game Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Thirty seconds after Abee, a starter and academic all-star for the game, had made it 3-0 in favor of the West, he grabbed a loose ball on the East’s side of midcourt and delivered a basket on the other end to make it 5-2. He hit another trey a couple minutes later as the West began to open up a lead.
His third 3 of the game came 90 seconds into the second quarter and doubled up the East, 38-19. The West soared ahead 61-38 by the half and never looked back, leading by as many as 41 in the later stages of the game.
The winning margin of 39 points marked the largest in the series’ 71-year history, surpassing a 32-point victory for the West, 124-92, in 2009.
Abee finished with 11 points and a pair of defensive rebounds in 18 minutes, shooting 4 of 8 from the floor and 3 of 7 from beyond the arc for the game. He also drew the game’s only charge with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
“It’s always a good thing when you get a quick start going and to be able to help the team out,” Abee said. “I was just really thankful to have a good group of guys to play with, who played the right way. In a lot of these all-star games, it’s not the best basketball. But I was lucky to have a lot of guys who understood how to play basketball the right way. It was fun.”
Jay’den Turner, a member of the Southwest Guilford 3A state championship team, took the MVP award for the West boys after scoring a game-high 24 points with eight rebounds and two blocks.
East 81, West 78
Down 13 at halftime, the West girls team needed a spark. Recent Freedom grad Madison Bailey had the answer.
Just 24 seconds into the second half, the Lady Patriots’ four-year sharpshooter fired up a 3 from the right wing to get the West headed back in the right direction. It initiated a rally that brought them within four points of the East just three minutes in, and eventually to a chance to win it at the end that came up just short.
In addition to her lone basket, Bailey made an impact across the stat sheet with two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 18 minutes to help the West’s cause.
“It was amazing playing with all this talent,” Bailey. “It was just a great experience to get to play with all these girls. Even though we didn’t come out with a win, we worked really hard in practice and in the game. We just talked about getting each other open more (in the second half). Even though I didn’t know these girls for long, we trusted each other enough to get me open.”
East forward Alexandria Scruggs (E.E. Smith) earned the MVP award with 20 points, eight boards, two steals and an assist.
Justin Epley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8943.