Carson girls beat West Rowan

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST Carson's Sydney Huffman (11) and West Rowan's Taylor Martin (3).
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST Carson's Sydney Huffman (11) and West Rowan's Taylor Martin (3).

CHINA GROVE — While The Christmas-stealing Grinch reportedly has a heart two sizes too small, Carson senior Jordy Clark has one that’s two sizes too big.

There were some stretches in the first half of Carson’s SPC game with West Rowan on Friday in which Clark, who is 5-foot-not-much, got every rebound.

And then she started making shots.

Clark scored a career-high 11 points, Sydney Huffman matched her career-best with nine, and Megan Gray scored a career-best eight, and together that trio hustled Carson to a 61-53 win against the Falcons.

Carson’s usual scorers Alex Allen and Kate Cole took over in the fourth quarter and scored 14 each.

“It seems like every game someone has one of those shooting nights against us that’s unexpected, but this loss was mostly about heart,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “We just got outhustled by Carson, and that made this game the most frustrating loss we’ve had all year.”

Taylor Martin (11), Shanice Miller (11) and Khaila Hall (10) scored in double figures for the Falcons.

Carson (2-4, 1-2) was coming off a disappointing loss at Salisbury where the Cougars had every opportunity to win, and West (2-5, 1-2) was coming off a fast-paced home loss to South Rowan.

It was Carson that put the past in the rearview mirror first, and the Cougars led 12-5 after a strong quarter.

“We had a great start to the game, the best start we’ve had all year,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “We were focused on defense and we held them down in the first quarter.”

Carson got a boost off the bench from Lacee Hunsucker in the second quarter. Martin hit two 3s in the period for West, but Clark hit three straight shots to push the Cougars to a 27-20 halftime lead. Clark had gone 0-for-the-night at Salisbury 48 hours earlier, so the last thing West expected was for her to swish outside shots.

“Coach talked to me about my shot, and it’s all mental for me,” Clark said. “I was confident mentally tonight and when my teammates got me the ball I was ready to shoot it.”

When Clark’s first one went in, her confidence snowballed. It was a replay of South Rowan’s Beth Ann Martin’s hot hand against the Falcons on Tuesday.

When Clark started the second half by drilling two more outside shots for an 11-point Carson lead, West had to switch from zone to man-to-man.

A three-point play by Huffman gave Carson another 11-point lead with 2:19 left in the third quarter, and Shanice Miller picked up her fourth foul on that play.

Hall scored seven points in the third quarter, and Martin and Quanice Miller hit 3s, and West was able to stay close. Carson led 45-38 heading to the last eight minutes.

Allen’s 3-pointer with 5:10 left to play ended a Carson drought and gave the Cougars a 48-40 lead.

West’s Tatciana Cowan hit a 3-pointer to cut Carson’s lead to five with 4:22 remaining.

Allen had four fouls and West was still within five points with 2:20 to go when Gray made an aggressive drive to boost Carson’s lead.

Cole’s driving layup with 30 seconds left was the clincher, and she added two free throws on Carson’s next possession.

Berkley Allesandrini hit a late 3 for the Falcons, but the Cougars celebrated a strong, bounce-back win. What most people will remember is Clark’s performance.

“Every game and every practice, we can count on her to give all she has,” Misenheimer said. “She helped us win the hustle battle, and that’s a battle we have to win to be successful.”

WEST ROWAN (53) — Martin 11, S. Miller 11, Hall 10, Q. Miller 9, Cowan 5, Allesandrini 3, Yow 2, Greene 2, Goddard.

CARSON (61) — Allen 14, Cole 14, Clark 11, Huffman 9, Gray 8, Hunsucker 5, McClary, Jackson, VanVoorhis.

W. Rowan 5 15 18 15 — 53

Carson 12 15 18 16 — 61

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