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East rises again

Orientals rally by R-H for 'AAA' title

James Johnson
Staff writer

(February 27, 2005) Chris Rogers stumbled badly in two previous games at the Blue Cross Arena.

The East High forward came through when the Orientals needed him most, however, during the Saturday's Section V Class AAA Tournament final.

East defeated Rush-Henrietta 65-61 at the arena after Rogers scored 11 of his team's final 13 points as the Orientals rallied in the final three minutes.

Rogers, a 6-foot-5 inch senior, finished with 24 points 19 in the second half 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots for top-seeded East (19-2).

Nate Brumfield, the tournament MVP, added 22 points and nine rebounds while the Orientals beat No. 2 Rush-Henrietta for the second time this season.

HEATHER CHARLES staff photographer
The East High boys had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night after beating Rush-Henrietta for their second Section V title in three seasons.
East's Chris Rogers protects a rebound against R-H's Jonnah Whipple on Saturday. Rogers scored 11 of East's final 13 points to ignite the winning rally.

"Every game that I've ever played at the War Memorial has been bad," Rogers said. "This is a big win, I really wanted to win this."

East's second Class AAA title in three years is also the school's 20th, the most in Section V. The Orientals earned it despite 22 points, including four 3-pointers, from Rush-Henrietta senior guard Ryan Henry.

"We're really happy to get two in three years," Brumfield said.

The rematch between East and defending champion Rush-Henrietta was the last of six games at the Blue Cross Arena, which were watched by 10,194 people.

Class AA champion Greece Arcadia (16-4) stands in the way of the Orientals and the state tournament. Those teams meet in a qualifier at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Blue Cross Arena. The winner plays nationally ranked Niagara Falls, the Buffalo-area champion.

Henry scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, as R-H led 31-30 at the half. Brumfield led East with 16.

The Orientals went ahead again early in the third quarter, but the Royal Comets later rushed back out to a five-point lead by quarter's end. It was an eight-point advantage for Rush-Henrietta, 55-47, with 3 minutes remaining.

"We couldn't keep our composure," said R-H's Calvin Betts, who finished with 10 points. "We had an eight-point lead with 3 minutes to go.

"We started rushing instead of slowing things. You really can't say much about it. I'm very disappointed. We had the game."

The Orientals never trailed after Rogers made a free throw to complete a three-point play with 1:25 left.