Cougars roar back
SALISBURY — It was hard to tell who had the kids and who had the veterans until the final three minutes.
That’s when Carson seniors Tre Williams and Colton Laws took over on Wednesday in the Salisbury gym. The Cougars ran off 13 straight points at crunch-time and beat the talented, but much less experienced Hornets, 67-55.
“We’ve been trying to rattle Tre for three years, but he’s hard to rattle,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said. “At the end, Carson’s seniors did what they’re supposed to do. Those are battle-tested guys they have, and they finished the game a lot stronger than we did.”
Laws had 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, while Williams had eight of his 17 late.
Marquez McCain had 11 points for the Cougars (4-1), and MyQuon Stout’s eight included a shock-the-world jump shot from 16 feet. Stout, a Shrine Bowl football player who has muscles on top of his muscles, and the fleet McCain also are returning starters.
Salisbury (5-2) was led by sophomores. Corban Usry scored 16, and 6-foot-7 Wes Fazia scored 10 and showed shot-blocking potential.
Both teams shot poorly in a first quarter that ended with the Cougars ahead 11-8.
Salisbury showed more energy in the second quarter and outplayed the Cougars. The Hornets should’ve led at halftime. Instead, two Stout free throws gave Carson a 26-25 edge at the break.
“We took some ill-advised shots and committed some ill-advised fouls, and we go to halftime behind instead of with a lead,” Causby said.
Carson coach Brian Perry agreed that final minute of the first half was pretty important.
“We hadn’t played very well, but we’re up one and we were able to stay with the 2-3 zone and we were pretty disciplined in that zone,” Perry said. “We had a backup plan, but we didn’t have to go to it.”
Carson usually plays man-to-man, but it relied on a zone to slow down Salisbury’s transition game. And Carson’s 2-3 is unique in that Williams, the point guard, is strong enough to play on the back. Every time he pulled a defensive rebound — and he had 15 boards— the Cougars had a good chance to run.
When Stout knocked down his long jumper with 2:12 left in the third quarter, Carson led 41-32, but then it was Salisbury’s turn for a flurry.
Usry scored five straight points to tie the game at 50-all with 4:15 left.
When Fazia hit two free throws with 3:30 left, Carson led 54-52, but from that point forward it was all Cougars, starting with a great pass by Williams that got Laws a layup for a 56-52 lead.
“Tre is great at driving it and kicking it to the open man,” Laws said. “I’ve been off to kind of a rough start this season, so it was good to finish some plays tonight. I felt like I got back in the groove a little bit.”
Williams has 868 career points and Laws has 809, so they’ll both be 1,000-point scorers before long.
Williams muscled in two off an inbounds play, and then Laws found himself open on the right wing for a 3-pointer and didn’t hesitate. He buried it, and the Cougars were suddenly up 61-52.
“I’m not sure we wanted that shot, but he made it, and that was kind of the dagger,” Perry said with a smile.
Laws scored off an inbounds play, Williams made two free throws, and then Williams made a layup.
Laws and Williams had combined for a 13-0 run, and the Cougars led by 15.
“Things have been going our way a lot lately, but when things didn’t go our way tonight, we dropped our heads and showed our inexperience instead of responding and still finding a way,” Causby said.
Still, it wasn’t all bad news for the Hornets.
“We played even with a very experienced team for 29 minutes,” Causby said. “We can build on that.”
CARSON (67) — Laws 22, Williams 17, McCain 11, Stout 8, Raper 6, Hower 2,
SALISBURY (55) — Usry 16, Fazia 10, Troutman 7, Davis 6, Canipe 6, Wilson 4, Alexander 4, Rayner 2, Brown.
Carson 11 15 17 24 — 67
Salisbury 8 17 13 17 — 55