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Prep Basketball: West Iredell boys 61, Carson 58, 3 OTs

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Carson’s boys didn’t win, but they exited their home court to a standing ovation.

The Cougars kept pace with West Iredell, the NPC’s second-place team, before falling 61-58 in three overtimes Tuesday night.

Carson guard Brandon Ferrare banked in a runner from the left block with nine seconds remaining to even the fourth-quarter score at 38-all, and the Cougars (1-17, 0-9) missed two inside shots with the score tied in the final 10 seconds of the first overtime.

Carson sharpshooter Brandon Ferguson hit a game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner with 4.7 seconds left in the second overtime, but the Warriors (14-4, 7-2) scored the first six points of the third extra session.

Justin Basinger’s second straight 3-pointer pulled the Cougars within 59-58 with 6.9 seconds left, and West Iredell’s Quan Rucker made two free throws 1.4 seconds later.

Ferrare gave the ball to Josh Doby on a dribble handoff in front of Carson’s bench, and Doby misfired on a heavily contested 3-pointer with time running out.

“It was fun,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “We’ve been preaching 32 minutes. Every time we’d go to a new overtime, I’d have to add four to that. ‘You’ve got to play 36; you’ve got to play 40; you’ve got to play 44.’

“The guys were having a fun time. Being in a close game like that, they were pretty relaxed. They weren’t uptight.”

Basinger and Doby made their Carson debuts, and Basinger scored all of his team-leading 15 points after the conclusion of the third quarter. Ferrare contributed 11 points.

West Iredell’s Jared Thompson scored 17 points and dominated the glass during the final 20 minutes. Michael Watkins hit a jumper and layup to help the Warriors build a 58-52 lead in the second OT.

“There’s not a game in this conference that’s going to be easy,” West Iredell coach Brian Cantrell said. “You cannot take any team for granted. We had them in position to take control and made some costly turnovers, and they knocked down some big 3s. They got some confidence and played ball.”

A 3-pointer from Basinger with 56 seconds left in the third overtime cut West Iredell’s lead in half, and 44 seconds ran off the clock before Thompson drew a foul.

He hit his second free-throw attempt to give the Warriors a 59-55 lead, and Basinger responded with another long-range jumper.

The Cougars ran out of miracles, but the home crowd showed its appreciation as the team headed toward the locker room.

“It was exhausting and fun,” Basinger said. “A win would have been better, though.”

Ferrare’s heroics late in regulation prolonged the low-scoring game, and the Cougars had their best chance to win it in the first overtime.

They led 42-39 before Watkins hit a 3-pointer with 2:25 left. One free throw apiece from Ferrare and Basinger gave the Cougars a two-point lead, and West Iredell’s Dewain Clark made a game-tying layup with 43 seconds remaining.

Basinger missed a lengthy 3-point try with 22 seconds left, but teammate Darius Moose grabbed the offensive rebound.

Post player Alex Freeze put up an unsuccessful shot in traffic in the closing seconds, and Moose wasn’t able to convert a putback right before the buzzer.

“I’m proud of the way our guys played,” Perry said. “They keep laying it on the line. They want to win just as bad as all of us want to win — the coaching staff and the school. We’re going to keep fighting.”

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NOTES: Freeze led Carson with eight rebounds. … West Iredell remained tied for second with Lake Norman, which beat Northwest Cabarrus. … The Warriors play host to league leader West Rowan on Friday.

WEST IREDELL (61) — Thompson 17, Rucker 15, McLain 13, Watkins 7, Clark 6, Gray 1, Stackey 1, Clyburn 1, Chastain.

CARSON (58) — Basinger 15, Ferrare 11, Ferguson 9, Craft 9, Hutchinson 5, Freeze 4, Moose 3, Doby 2, Kosinski, Fontenot.

W. Iredell 10 4 7 17 6 8 9 — 61

Carson 2 9 9 18 6 8 6 — 58

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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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