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High School Basketball:
Eastern Finds Their Rhythm Late Against Buena

Saturday, February 16, 2002

By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer

It seemed as if the number seed in the upcoming Group 4 playoffs were not playing like a top seeded team. Buena, on the other hand, was the team controlling the tempo capitalizing on every Eastern missed shot. In the second half of this game, the Vikings began connecting from the perimeter behind the shooting of Dominick Mejia to pull away from the Chiefs. Eastern posted a 69-49 win against the Buena Chiefs at Rutgers-Camden University. It was the third of five games participating on the day in the Olympic-Cape Challenge.

Both of these teams will be a part of the playoffs starting on the last week of this month. Eastern will play the winner of the first round group 4 playoffs between Winslow Township and Toms River North. The Chiefs are seeded 6th in the group 2 playoffs and will face the 11th seeded Collingswood in the first round. Today these two teams were competing in the Olympic-Cape Challenge for bragging rights representing their conferences. Also, these games would provide an opportunity for the coaches to add some new wrinkles to their playbook for the upcoming playoffs.

Eastern started this game flat as they were executing poorly on the offense. After getting the offensive rebound and the put back didn't even drop, you could tell it was going to be a long game for the Vikings. The Chiefs began taking the ball to the hoop with success as they jumped out to a 27-21 halftime lead. Buena (13-8) had success getting the ball inside to the senior Kevin Gunter.

Buena continued to lead in the game early in the third quarter until the Vikings defense pick up and so did their shots. Eastern went on a 9-0 run to finish out the third quarter to turn a two point deficit into a seven point lead. The final quarter was all Eastern as Mejia and Lance Evans scored the bulk of the points in the second half. Lance Evans scored 13 points and Dominick Mejia had the game high 30-points for Eastern. Andrew Mack lead the Chiefs with 19 points while both Brad Cocking and Kevin Gunter scored 11 points for Buena.

Photos by Art Redd

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