Curry, EA cruise as record nears

ELON, N.C. – JamesOn Curry might try to downplay it, but he and everyone else surrounding the Eastern Alamance basketball program are well aware that the senior guard is on the verge of becoming the state's all-time scoring leader. He didn't break the mark Wednesday night, but his 41 points in a 92-69 win were impressive enough.

The chase of the record took a back seat, however, as Eastern Alamance improved to 4-1 with the win at Western Alamance.

A four-point Eastern lead at the end of the first quarter grew to 16 by halftime (Curry had 25 points at the half) and the game was well in hand from then on.

While Curry is heralded as a long-range shooter, he scored most of his points inside the arc.

"I'm taking what they give me," Curry said. "They didn't want to let me shoot [threes], so I tried to take it to the hole more."

He hit only one three-pointer, but was 16-for-24 from the field, scoring on drives, mid-range pull-up jumpers and a couple of one-handed alley-oop finishes. Throw in seven assists and seven rebounds and it was another complete game for Curry.

The 6-3, 179-pound future Tar Heel has shown significant improvement from a year ago.

"His strength is better, his composure is better, his teammates are better – which makes him better, and in return he makes them better," said Eastern head coach John Moon. "His mid-range game, getting to the basket and scoring ... He's not getting bumped and missing it, now he's getting bumped and finishing. Having had him for three-plus years, I've seen the growth and development in his overall game."

The North Carolina coaching staff (including assistant coach Steve Robinson, who was in attendance Wednesday night) has told him to work on his ballhandling and overall strength – both of which have noticeably improve from this time last year.

Though the other big difference is the quality of his teammates.

"We've got big men this year, so they can't just focus on the guards," Curry said.

But it's more than just that. There's no doubt this is the best team Curry has been a part of at Eastern. Improved point guard play, two serviceable 6-4 post players and some more scoring options have the Eagles already looking like a prime candidate for a strong postseason run.

"I think we're much better than we were last year – especially at this point," Moon said. "I think we're much better, and he's the man. He's driving, penetrating, kicking the ball off. As he leads us, and the other kids respond, our best basketball is still in front of us."

Curry is now 58 points away from breaking the state scoring record. Eastern will host an always tough Burlington Cummings team on Friday and then travel to High Point Andrews on Tuesday.

"It's a great tribute to him and for our school and community," Moon said. "People ask, ‘when do you think it's going to happen?' It's going to happen. We're not putting a timetable on it, but it will."

At the rate Curry is scoring, he could have the record by next Tuesday evening.

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