Prep Basketball: Lake Norman 75, Statesville 56

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By David Shaw

Salisbury Post

MOORESVILLE — When does a three-minute span seem more like six?

When it’s the Carson boys basketball team imploding like it did late in the second quarter Friday night in a 75-56 loss at Lake Norman.

“That six-minute stretch killed us,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “That’s when we fell apart. We’ve got to cut stretches like that out.”

What’s noteworthy is that this particular stretch — a 19-0 run that put the game out of reach — took only 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Included were three 3-pointers, three fastbreak layups and a four-pack of free throws. When the fires had all been extinguished and the smoke cleared, Carson (1-15, 0-7) found itself down 44-24 at the half and well on its way to another loss.

“We were hoping for better things,” inside force Darius Moose said after pouring in 23 points for Carson. “It just seems like we get down by four or five points and start rushing our shots. Everybody has to shoot right away.

“We basically beat ourselves.”

Well, Lake Norman (11-6, 5-2 NPC) had something to do with it. The Wildcats played adequate defense and buried nine 3-pointers — four of them by senior Mark Bowen, who topped all scorers with 27 points.

“He does all the tangible things for our team,” Lake Norman coach Rich Tinucci said. “He shoots, he rebounds, he penetrates. Over the summer he went to camp and worked on 3-pointers. He’s trying to make himself into a very versatile player.”

Bowen hit a couple of long balls during the Wildcats’ decisive spurt, including one that became a four-point play. Teammate Alex Lemke kicked it off with an over-and-under layup from the baseline and capped it with a fastbreak basket.

“Sometimes when teams make a run on us, we don’t fight back,” Perry said. “We just let it snowball. That last minute-and-a-half it was like we weren’t even playing.”

Carson played its best in the first and third quarters. The Cougars led 5-2 early on a 3-pointer by Moose and were ahead 18-16 when Brandon Ferguson converted the second of two free throws with 6:38 left in the half. It was still 25-24 Lake Norman after Ferguson nailed a 3-ball from the left side with 2:54 on the clock.

That’s when Bowen found his groove and Carson unraveled like a cheap sweater.

“That’s where we lost this game,” Ferguson said. “And we couldn’t get it back.”

The Cougars certainly tried, trimming their deficit to 48-39 midway through the third quarter. Ferguson’s fifth, and final, 3-pointer made it 51-42 moments later.

“Ferguson’s a great shooter,” Tinucci said. “But a lot of teams are finding out — you shut him down and you shut down Carson.”

Comments like those aren’t wasted on Ferguson or Perry. Both realize the 5-foot-10 guard is no longer the conference’s best-kept secret.

“Brandon is getting used to the attention he’s receiving,” Perry said. “Our first couple conference games, people started focusing on him and he had like a 10-point game and 11 another time. But now he’s still getting his points despite the attention.

“He’s handling it — even when he knows it’s coming.”

CARSON (56) –Moose 23, Ferguson 18, Kraft 6, Ferrare 6, Freeze 3, Adams, Yates, Kosinski, Hutchinson, Fontenot.

LAKE NORMAN (75) — Bowen 27, Lemke 16,

Cote 10, Hayes 8, McCain 4, Bowers 4, Little 4, Campey 2.

Carson 13 11 20 12 — 56

L. Norman 16 28 14 17 — 75

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Contact David Shaw at dshaw@salisburypost.com.

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