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East 94, West 81

March 29, 1997

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) _ Elton Brand of Peekskill, N.Y., scored 16 points to lead the East to a 94-81 victory over the West Saturday in the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game.

Brand scored five points early in the first half to help lead the East to its second straight victory in one of the lowest-scoring games in the 20-year history of the contest.

In the inaugural game, the West topped the East 94-86. This was the lowest losing score since the tournament began. The smallest crowd in the game’s history, 5,205, filled most of 6,002-seat Clune Arena.

The East’s quick start was enough to offset the play of West guard Kenny Gregory of Columbus, Ohio. The 6-5 Gregory, who is headed for Kansas, earned MVP honors by leading all scorers with 18 points and by drawing ovations from the crowd for high-flying slam dunks.

Two of those came early in the second half as the East rallied for a 65-65 tie. But the East went on a 12-3 run at that point and coasted.

Brand, who is headed to Duke, credited East coach Thomas Hargrove of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

``We practiced hard all week,″ Brand said. ``We’d talk to the West guys and ask them how practice went. They said it was pretty easy; they just scrimmaged some. I think our practices were harder.″

Brand said it was a matter of speed versus size. The West featured 7-1 Eric Chenowith of Villa Park, Calif. 6-11 Chris Burgess of Woodbridge, Calif., and three other players at 6-10. The East countered with 7-0 Brendan Haywood of Greensboro, N.C., and two 6-10 players, Lamar Odom of Troy, N.Y., and Melvin Ely of Harvey, Ill.

``They’re much taller, but we’re faster,″ Brand said. ``You couldn’t put up any weak shots inside.″

Guard Dion Glover of Ellenwood, Ga., added 15 points for the East and power forward Marcus Fizer of Arcadia, La., scored 11. Odom led all rebounders with 11.

The West’s other double-figure scorers were Larry Hughes of St. Louis (17), Baron Davis of Santa Monica, Calif. (12), Ryan Humphrey of Tulsa, Okla., (11) and Luke Recker of Waterloo, Ind. (10).

Gregory said he was happy to join the likes of past MVP winners Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Billy Owens and J.R. Reid, but he still would like to have won the game as well.

``I just came out here to have fun and meet some of these guys,″ Gregory said. ``I didn’t expect to get it (MVP), since we didn’t win the game. I think I served notice. But I would have been a little more satisfied with a win.″

The East also dominated the statistical side of the game, hitting 44 percent from the field to 39.3 for the West, 16 of 27 free throws to 10 of 22, and outrebounding the West 56-49. Neither team shot particularly well from 3-point range. The East was 4-of-19, the West 5-of-25. There were 15 slam dunks, nine by the West.

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