Prep basketball: East girls figure out Cougars, 57-38

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó East Rowan seniors Ashley Collins and Katelynne Poole have scored more than 1,700 points between them.
They thought they’d seen it all, but they hadn’t. Carson used a Triangle-and-Two defense to make the Mustangs sweat, but East adjusted in the second half and beat the Cougars 57-38 in NPC action on Wednesday.
With Demya Heggins defending Poole man-to-man, Sarah Marshall guarding Collins and the other three Cougars forming a triangle in the lane, Carson (1-7, 0-5) kept East off the scoreboard for more than two minutes. The Mustangs (4-3, 4-1) didn’t get their first field goal until Olivia Rankin scored with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
“We were shocked by that defense,” Collins said. “And they were really playing tough. I’ve never seen a Carson team play like that.”
East beat Carson for the seventh straight time, but it didn’t resemble last season’s 69-22, 87-23 and 60-20 blowouts.
“Carson’s improved a lot and that defense had us frustrated,” Poole said. “But then Olivia made some shots, and we started fighting back.”
Carson led 10-8 after the first quarter, a feel-good moment for a program that has won three of 55 outings.
Madelyn File jumped off the East bench for eight points and four rebounds in the second quarter, and the Mustangs needed all of them to forge a 24-20 halftime lead.
Poole had seven points in the first half, while Collins was scoreless.
“The goal was to hold those two to single digits, and we had some pretty good success in the first half,” said Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer, who played at East. “We were able to take East out of what they are comfortable doing, and we had opportunities to get the halftime lead.”
East coach Karen Garmon was under the weather and sat on the bench in the first first half while assistant Danielle Porter did the standing and yelling. But Garmon got in a few words at the break.
“We got a little talk at halftime that was not quite nice,” Poole said with a smile. “But it got us focused, and we came out and played better.”
Kaylene Livengood’s bucket to open the second half reduced Carson’s deficit to 24-22, but East scored the next 12 points to settle things. Alaina Vanderford had a big 3-pointer ruding the run, and Mackenzie Holshouser, who hadn’t scored in the first half, had two steals and four points.
Breckin Settlemyer blocked three shots for the Cougars in the third quarter, but East pulled away as Carson went cold. Cougar guards were 0-for-8 from outside in the third quarter, as East eased away.
“It’s hard to rein our guards in sometimes because they’re aggressive and want to go after the ball,” Garmon said. “But this was one of those times when we just needed to be smart, pack it in, let them shoot outside, then rebound it and go.”
Collins produced a three-point play as East pushed out to a 43-28 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Collins and Holshouser had back-to-back, three-point plays as East put the game away in the fourth.
Rankin led East with 14 points. Poole had 13 and Collins, who has 934 career points, finished with 10.
Livengood had 10 for Carson.
It was a step forward for Carson, which is missing Jazzmin Brown and Taylor Whitley because of injuries. The Cougars had a lot more fire than they showed in an ugly loss to Northwest Cabarrus Friday.
“I saw signs that we actually believed we could play with a team like East,” Misenheimer said. “We can build on this. We just have to play four quarters like we did the first half.”
EAST ROWAN (57) ó Rankin 14, Poole 13, Collins 10, Holshouser 9, File 8, Vanderford 3, Sabo, Drew, Honeycutt, Corpening.
CARSON (38) ó K. Livengood 10, M. Livengood 6, Settlemyer 6, Heggins 5, Marshall 4, Sellers 4, Hough 3.
E. Rowan 8 16 19 14 ó 57
Carson 10 10 8 10 ó 38