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January 30, 2014

Special season for Eagles becoming reality

East Forsyth and head coach Mike Muse knew what his team was about and after coming into the season with high hopes after 14-13 record last season, the Eagles have been able to soar this season.

The Eagles are 16-1 on the season, with their only loss coming early in the season to West Forsyth and have risen to number two in the most recent NCPreps poll.

In a stacked conference that has four teams with winning records, East Forsyth will be looking to end the season on a strong note as they get into the heart of their conference play.

The Eagles are currently on a 13 game winning streak, averaging almost 72 points a game while only giving up around 52 points a game to their opponents.

That type of play has even allowed the Eagles to win their first Frank Spencer Holiday Classic in 21 years, in which they defeated Reagan, Winston-Salem Prep, and Mount Tabor to take home the championship over the winter break.

NCPreps caught up with head coach Muse to see what has been the difference this season, as he has his team heading in as one of the top teams not only in the 4A conference but in the state of North Carolina.

Here is what he had to say about his "special season" so far.

"After getting the head men's basketball job here at East Forsyth late in the summer of 2012, I had to scramble to get all the essential program elements in place just to make the starting line for practice…..staff, conditioning, ordering gear, scheduling with our AD. We finished 14-13 but the program needed new direction," Muse said in a recent interview.

And that is exactly what he has been able to do with the kids he has.

He lost several key players last year but wanted to make sure his team was ready for the long season, returning several key players from last season.

"They worked hard to get in shape for the start of the season, but I have to say they've also stepped up as the season has progressed through what I feel is a really good team chemistry with a group of really good kids," Muse replied.

"They like each other, and it shows on the court and off it. That's a huge plus that's almost impossible to coach into them."

And it's not always about having the most talent on the team, but the way that the team works together and the chemistry they have been able to develop throughout the season.

That is exactly what the Eagles have done, as Muse thinks that he has a "nice mix of experience and youth that have worked so far in a very positive way."

But Muse knows he hasn't been able to do it without several key players.

One of his leaders on the floor has been point guard Larry Curry, a players that has led the team in scoring with 17 points per game, while shooting over 52 percent from the floor.

"Among our seven seniors, Curry has been our leader, both statistically and emotionally, to this point," Muse talked about his leader.

"Curry is a very explosive athlete with a quick first step, a true driver/slasher/scorer with point guard skills…also is a stopper on the defensive end.

"He has a tremendously high basketball IQ, which has helped in his co-captain's role, because we have asked our group to absorb a college-level amount of information and process. Curry's confident presence, patience and guidance with the younger players have been essential to our success."

But the Eagles also have several other players such as Riley Larue (averaging 10 points per game and 6 rebounds), who has been around the college game all his life due to his Hall of Fame father Rusty Larue.

Larue has been able to provide a great inside and outside game for the Eagles this season, along with his leadership.

They also have players such as Tyriq Royal, Brandon Childress, Drew Cone, Madison Cone, and Jacob Nester, all who have been a great complement to the Eagles and have provided the key points to push their record to 16-1 on the season.

The Eagles have certainly made a statement with their overall season and undefeated record in conference play, but they still have games against Northwest Guilford (play twice), Southwest Guilford, High Point Central, and Ragsdale, all teams with winning records within their conference.

Going down the stretch, these will be the games that help determine what the Eagles have learned so far this season and where they may end up in the playoffs.

If they are able to continue their winning streak, East Forsyth will certainly have their eyes on a bigger dream of a state championship.

But no matter what, Muse and his team are certainly making a name for the East Forsyth program and will look to continue their success for years to come, as this is only the starting block for the Eagles.








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