CHINA GROVE — With a 32 point victory over Hickory Ridge last night and a five game winning streak, all should be well for the Carson Cougar girls. Well, not so fast.
“It just wasn’t one of our better nights” senior wing Allison Blackwell stated, despite a 24 point, eight rebound night in the 60-28 win. “We wanted to start off strong but we definitely weren’t that. But a win is a win.”
Part of the frustration for Carson (5-1) was some serious foul trouble in the first half plus an effective 2-3 zone defense by Hickory Ridge (0-3).
Both Blackwell and Cougar Coach Brooke Misenheimer noted that it was the first time the team had faced a 2-3 zone this year and it presented some challenges in finding a good open shot.
“It was a good opportunity for us to run our offense against the zone and figure things out, “Misenheimer said. “I felt like we responded better in the second half.”
The foul issues were another story as forward Alex Allen picked up three in the first quarter while Cougar star guard Kelly Dulkoski registered two. She also nailed a couple of long three’s in the period as Carson rushed out to a 17-7 lead. Dulkoski picked up her third foul in the second period but Blackwell picked up the slack with 14 first half points that gave them a 31-13 lead.
Blackwell added eight more in the third while Dulkoski popped in two long treys before getting her fourth foul. But the outcome was never in doubt as the margin reached 50-21 after three.
“I felt like defensively we fouled way too much,” Misenheimer said. “There is no reason why we would have nine fouls in the first quarter. We just didn’t adjust to the way they were calling the game.”
Hickory Ridge Coach Tolonda Simmons was forced to play their game without her starting point guard and a top reserve due to the flu but felt her team did a better job especially with their zone defense. “ Overall we just need to be on the same page as a team” she said. “But I was proud of our defense. We just have to shoot the ball better.”
Despite her foul troubles, Dulkoski still managed to notch 20 points including four long range bombs while Megan Grey came off the bench for 7. Allen did grab 9 rebounds to go with four points.
For Dulkoski, Carson’s all-time leading girls scorer, another milestone is just around the corner. The 5-8 senior now has 981 points for her career and should surpass 1000 next week. They face Central Davidson at home Tuesday trying to avenge a season opening overtime loss.
HICKORY RIDGE (28) — Davis 7, Wallace 6, Evans 5, Johnson 4, Ratliffe 4, Miller 1, McClendon 1.
CARSON (60) — Blackwell 24, Dulkoski 20. Gray 7, Allen, 4 VanVoorhis 3, Huffman 2, Barringer, Parks.
H. Ridge 7 6 8 7 — 28
Carson 17 14 19 10 — 60