Cougar boys lose

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

By Bill Kiser

Salisbury Post

OLIN — There were a few moments during Thursday night’s game against North Iredell when Carson coach Brian Perry thought the Cougars may get their first win.

The Raiders had other ideas, leaning heavily on their bench to pull away over the final three quarters for a 79-64 victory.

North Iredell (7-1, 2-0 NPC) used 14 players against the first-year Cougars (0-8, 0-2), and 12 of them contributed to the Raiders’ final score. Carson used 11 players, and 10 scored.

North Iredell’s Marlon Scott came off the bench to score 14 points — he went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers — and reserves Ethan Hawkins and Casey Pharr each added 12 points.

“They’re deep; a lot deeper than we are,” Perry said. “We played pretty well in the first half, but we haven’t figured out a way to carry things over for 32 minutes. (North Iredell is) experienced and knows how to play. They kept grinding us down and wore us out a little bit.”

The Raiders also kept shooting guard Brandon Ferguson, Rowan County’s leading scorer, in check. Ferguson finished with 11 points, more than nine below his average, and did not break into double figures until the final two minutes of the game.

Ferguson had averaged 23 points a game during the Cougars’ six non-conference games, but he has been held to just 19 points in two NPC games.

He had eight points in a 54-39 loss to West Iredell on Tuesday.

“He can really move and shoot off the dribble,” North Iredell head coach Tony Davenport said. “So I told my guys that if we could slow him down a little bit, it might stagger their offense. It worked out well for us.”

Reserves did most of the scoring for Carson. Darius Moose came off the bench for a game-high 17 points, and Alex Freeze added 14. He had a 12-for-12 effort from the free-throw line.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting to our guys down low,” Perry said. “When we did that, we either wound up getting fouled or getting a good look at the basket.

“We’re relying way too much on jump shots. If we can start getting the ball down to the big guys, then that might open things up for guys like Brandon.”

The Cougars managed to tie the score at 6-all midway through the first quarter and led 11-10 after Mike Hutchinson nailed a 3-pointer with 1:24 left.

After North pulled ahead by seven points in the first 2:12 of the second quarter, Ferguson hit a 3-pointer and a long jumper during a six-point run that cut the Raiders’ lead to 20-19 with 4:59 left.

But back-to-back 3-pointers by Staton and Pharr kicked off a 10-point run that put the Raiders ahead by 11 with 3:07 left. North Iredell pushed its lead to 20 points midway through the third quarter, with Staton’s layup capping a 15-5 run.

The Raiders led by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter, but Carson closed out the game with a 15-2 run.

CARSON (64) — Moose 17, Freeze 14, Ferguson 11, Adams 7, Hutchinson 7, Kraft 5, Ferrare 1, Yates 1, Kosinski 1, Fontenot.

NORTH IREDELL (79) — Staton 14, Hawkins 12, Pharr 12, Christo.Tindal 9, Leach 9, Rose 5, Parks 5, Christi.Tindal 4, Brinager 3, Stutts 2, Kyles 2, Watt 2, Warricks, Harvey.

Carson 11 14 14 25 — 64

N. Iredell 13 22 25 19 — 79