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East Wake's early hot shooting leads to win over Franklinton

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FRANKLINTON - East Wake's boys basketball team scored 20 points, along with four 3-pointers, in the first quarter on their way to a 66-44 victory at Franklinton Tuesday.

The Warriors got hot from outside early on in the game. Their fast-paced scoring from pushing the ball down the court was too much for the Red Rams to handle. East Wake ended the night with eight 3-pointers.

East Wake head coach Kenneth Melton said his team set the tone early on offense and the players found each other down the court all night long.

"We ran the floor well tonight," Melton said. "We got to our spots. We want to push the ball up the floor and get easy shots. When we start hitting 3-pointers in the beginning of the game, that gives us momentum."

East Wake took their first double-digit lead of the game at 23-12 in the second quarter. The Warriors went into halftime up 38-21. 

In the third quarter, East Wake stayed consistent with their shooting to go up 55-31 at the end of the period. The Warriors went up by 30 points with 2:26 left in the game at 66-35. Franklinton added a few more points to cut the deficit to 66-44 for the final score.

Both Zach Sloan and R.J. Vick knocked down three 3-pointers each in the win for East Wake. Sloan recorded 14 points, two assists, two blocks, a rebound and a steal. Vick dropped 12 points along with a rebound and a block.

Javon Mercer was the player of the game for East Wake. The junior forward posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

"Javon is a workhorse inside," Melton said. "He just goes after it. Even when he misses shots, he goes right back after it and gets it. He has a motor and is non-stop. He's very quick. We try to get him going. Once he does, he goes hard."

With their first loss at home, Franklinton dropped to 1-3 overall. The Red Rams have allowed more than 60 points scored against them twice this season.

With their first road win of the season, East Wake improved to 2-1 overall. The Warriors have found their rhythm with two straight wins after losing their season opener to Hunt 65-62 Nov. 20. They are coming off a 76-65 win over Wake Forest Nov. 26.

East Wake is coming off a 20-win last season, which was their best finish in over 15 years. Melton said if this year's team wants to aim higher, they have to commit to stepping up on defense. 

"We're trying to improve defensively this year," Melton said. "We lost three seniors who were defensive stoppers for us last year. We're trying to find our identity on defense this season. We still have some holes that we need to tighten up. We just want to keep improving."

East Wake will play Rolesville at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. Franklinton will take on rival Bunn at home Friday at 7 p.m.