Prep Basketball: Carson boys 79, Northwest Cabarrus 70, OT: Moose explodes for 36
By Ronnie Gallagher
KANNAPOLIS ó Darius Moose stood at the foul line with 0.7 seconds left in regulation of a tie game with Northwest Cabarrus.
He had two shots coming. Hit one and Carson goes home a winner.
He missed both, forcing an extra period.
If and when Carson becomes an annual basketball contender, it’s here that coach Brian Perry can point to as a program-changer. His third-year team didn’t fold.
More importantly, Moose didn’t fold. The 6-foot-3 do-everything Cougar scored eight points in overtime, including six free throws, and Carson walked out of Northwest’s vaunted “Pit” with an emphatic 79-70 victory Monday in the first round of the NPC tournament.
Moose finished with 36 points for the Cougars (12-13).
“Wow,” Northwest coach Daniel Jenkins said. “That’s all you can say.”
Perry didn’t use that same word, but there was a “wow” look on his face.
“It’s the first conference tournament game we’ve won,” Perry exclaimed. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten Northwest. We continue to get a lot of firsts, which I think means we’re growing and getting better.”
There was no one better than Moose on this night, although after his misses at the end of regulation he was the most discouraged player in the building.
Moose had dribbled away nearly the entire last minute of regulation but with six seconds left dished out for a long 3-point try that Josh Doby missed. Moose grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
After two timeouts and two misses, Moose trudged over to the bench. Perry met his star with some encouragement.
“He was down; he was disappointed,” Perry said. “I told him to keep his head up. The only thing that did was make us play four more minutes.”
Jenkins was breathing a sigh of relief on the other bench.
“I said, ‘We’ve got new life,’ ” Jenkins said. ” ‘We don’t deserve to be here, really. They’ve given us the opportunity.’ “It was an opportunity lost for the Trojans, the NPC’s No. 3 seed.
Northwest actually led 66-64, but a free throw by Moose and four straight points by the unflappable Doby put Carson up 69-66.
After Stephen Kiser hit a hook, Nick Houston may have made the most important basket of the game. The mop-topped Houston drained a clutch 3-pointer for a 72-68 advantage and Moose did the rest, scoring the Cougars’ last seven points.
“We kept our composure a little bit better tonight,” Perry said.
He was referring to an earlier game with Northwest when Carson blew a 20-point lead and lost.
On Monday, Carson drilled seven first-half 3s, the last by Moose, and carried a 41-28 lead into the break. The Cougars were outrebounding and outhustling the Trojans.
Jenkins inserted 6-6 center Ira Hines into the lineup for the third quarter, and momentum took a sudden turn. Carson managed only two baskets, one each by Brandon Ferrare and Derrick Sewell, and trailed 52-51 going into the fourth.
That’s when the Cougars remembered they had a guy named Moose on their team. He dominated the fourth, scoring nine points and setting up the thrilling finish for sixth-seeded Carson.
“I’m smiling big,” Perry said. “To beat them here, which I think is one of the toughest places in the league to play, really makes me proud.”
NOTES: Carson now faces Lake Norman on Thursday as the tournament shifts to West Iredell. The second-seeded Wildcats beat North Iredell 88-57 on Monday. … Doby finished with 13 points, including a couple of nifty moves around the basket. … Houston hit three 3-pointers. … Northwest fell to 17-7 and will likely play at Reagan in the first round of the 3A playoffs next week.
carson (79) ó Moose 36, Doby 13, Houston 10, Ferrare 7, Heggins 6, Clanton 5, Sewell 2, Begic.
NW Cabarrus (70) ó Reid 14, Hines 14, Honeycutt 10, Bond 10, Felton 7, Kiser 6, Seager 5, West 2, Billings 2.
Carson 20 21 10 13 15 ó 79
NWC 13 15 24 12 6 ó 70