NW Cabarrus boys 63, Carson 60
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó Carson’s boys basketball team staged another grand opening, but closing is still a problem.
It was raining 3-pointers in Carson’s gym, but resilient Northwest Cabarrus weathered a major storm and beat the Cougars 63-60.
Josh Doby, a rangy senior wing, hit seven deep 3s for the Cougars, but they failed to hold a 16-point lead.
“We were passing the ball quick and getting lots of open shots in the first half,” Doby said. “We should have left here happy instead of all mad, but we didn’t take care of the ball at the end.”
Northwest’s 6-foot-6 Ira Hines, who is headed to UNC Pembroke, produced 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Northwest’s Tyler Honeycutt made the key play of the game. He stepped to the foul line with 13 seconds left and the Trojans leading by one. He missed, but he alertly stole Carson’s pass up the floor, got fouled and hit a pair of free throws with three seconds left for a 63-60 lead.
Northwest (5-2, 3-1) was officially a winner when Cody Clanton’s desperate 40-footer danced off the back iron.
“They’re good, but we should’ve finished this one up,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “It’s really disappointing because we’re 7-0 now at halftime. Just too many critical turnovers again.”
Carson (4-3, 2-2) would have blown out a team with less tenacity than the Trojans.
“Carson’s confidence was high and we were in a huge hole, and that makes this the best win for us in recent memory,” Northwest coach Daniel Jenkins said. “Your character comes out in games like this. We found out that ours is pretty good.”
The Cougars hit seven 3s in the first quarter to lead shellshocked Northwest 26-12. Doby and Nick Houston buried three 3s apiece, and Darius Moose stepped out and drilled one.
“I don’t think we were playing that badly on defense, but they were making them all,” Jenkins said. “When we did bust our tails to force bad shots, they still got the rebound.”
Northwest fought as close as 30-27 in the second quarter, but Doby made a nice dish to Moose to stop the Trojans’ run. Then Doby buried two more 3s in the last minute of the half to give Carson a 40-29 halftime lead.
Midway through the third quarter, with the Cougars leading 43-33, Jenkins opted to turn up the heat and make it a fullcourt game. The Trojans pressed relentlessly, and long-armed Jeff Felton was everywhere defensively.
“They started scrambling us around a little bit, and we started turning it over,” Perry said.
Northwest caught up at 51-all on a steal and swooping layup by Hines with 4:25 remaining.
Point guard Brandon Ferrare tried to take charge for the Cougars. His back-to-back steals and driving three-point play with 1:36 remaining gave the Cougars a 60-55 lead, and a packed gym was raising the roof with delirious noise.
Hines tipped in a miss with 1:21 left when a defensive board by the Cougars likely would have meant victory.
Felton then came up with a steal. Graham Wright’s offensive board and Juwan Reid’s quick pass to Hines underneath cut Carson’s lead to 60-59 with 48 seconds left.
With 30 seconds left, Ferrare lost the ball in the lane to Hines, and Reid’s fastbreak layup put the Trojans ahead 61-60.
Another Carson turnover forced the Cougars to foul Honeycutt. He didn’t connect, but he had the presence of mind to redeem himself with a huge steal and two clutch free throws.
“It would have been easy for him to pout,” Jenkins said. “Instead, he made the big play.”
NW CABARRUS (63) ó Hines 23, Honeycutt 16, Felton 11, Brand 5, Kiser 4, Reid 2, Wright 2, Seager, Kingston, Murrell.
CARSON (60) ó Doby 21, Houston 14, Moose 11, Ferrare 8, Clanton 4, Begic 2, Heggins, Britt, Walser, Sewell.
NWC 12 17 18 16 ó 63
Carson 26 14 11 9 ó 60