Prep Basketball: Carson boys 52, North Rowan 45
By Mike London
SPENCERó For the first time in school history, the Carson boys basketball team owns a two-game winning streak.
Darius Moose scored 20 points, and sophomores Nick Houston, Cody Clanton and Devon Heggins combined for 21 in a 52-45 victory in North Rowan’s refurbished gym.
C.J. Fortson topped cold-shooting North with 10 points.
“It was one of those games where we didn’t have a lot of energy and really struggled offensively,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “But we got enough stops to win. In past years, this one probably gets away from us.”
Stops are something the Cougars didn’t get in their first two seasons, but a new emphasis on the defensive end has paid off. Carson allowed 66 points per game last season. It has allowed 46 per game in its last four outings.
Carson got off to an awful start on Monday, as Perry pleaded for energy. The Cougars (3-2) connected on only one of their first eight shots, and the one make was an accidentally banked 3-pointer by Josh Doby. North (0-4) didn’t take advantage and led 9-8 after a quarter.
“We had a chance to get a nice lead, but it was like we were waiting to find that extra gear and never got there,” North coach Kelly Everhart said. “Our biggest problem was turnovers.”
Moose shot 1-for-6 in the first quarter, but his nine points in the second quarter and a buzzer-beating jumper by Clanton gave the Cougars a 23-19 halftime lead.
“Just a great pass from Heggins,” Clanton said. “And the ball kind of fell for me.”
Heggins, a backup point guard, gave the Cougars a spark in the second quarter.
Moose opened the second half with two quick buckets for an eight-point lead, but with North on the ropes, D.J. Hipps hit a wing 3-pointer.
Overpowering the Cougars on the glass, at times, with the height of Julian Hicks and the thick bodies of Javon Hargrave and Lamonte Bell, North stayed right in it.
“Down low we were doing a pretty good job,” Everhart said. “But I think we only made two outside shots all night. Sometimes you’ve just got to be able to will that ball into the basket.”
A second buzzer-beater by Clanton, this one on a stickback, gave Carson a 39-33 edge after three quarters.
Bell fed Fortson for a layup and a 41-41 deadlock with 4:45 left to play, but Brandon Ferrare found Houston for an instant answer. Houston’s tiebreaking 3-pointer put Carson ahead to stay.Fortson made two free throws to cut Carson’s edge to a single point, but Moose drilled a long two from the left corner to push the Cougars’ lead back to 46-43.
When Bell scored inside for North with 3:01 left, Carson was clinging to a shaky 47-45 lead, but the Cavaliers didn’t score again.
Decent looks didn’t fall, offensive boards were just out of reach, and the Cougars didn’t give up anything easy.
Trailing 48-45 with 37 seconds left, North had to foul. Clanton, who had missed two free throws earlier, was the guy the Cavaliers wanted to put on the line, but Perry didn’t mind seeing him there.
“Cody is cold-blooded,” he said. “Even if he had missed five in a row, he wouldn’t have lacked for confidence.”
Clanton swished two big ones, and after Ferrare came out of a crowd with a steal with 25 seconds left, Doby hit two free throws to seal it.
“Coach said we worked hard to pull this one out,” Clanton said. “He said we made some real good stops.”
CARSON (52) ó Moose 20, Doby 8, Houston 8, Heggins 7, Clanton 6, Ferrare 3, Begic, Britt, Walser.
NORTH ROWAN (45) ó Fortson 10, Hargrave 9, Bell 8, Gill 7, Hicks 6, Hipps 5, Sims, Overstreet, Feezor, Blakeney.
Carson 8 15 16 13 ó 52
N. Rowan 9 10 14 12 ó 45