Prep hoops: Lake Norman boys 74, Carson 51

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2009

By Bill Kiser
STATESVILLE ó Carson had already pulled off one upset in winning its first-ever NPC tournament game.
Lake Norman didn’t want to become upset victim No. 2 and made that clear with an emphatic 74-51 semifinal victory Thursday.
Nick Houston hit four 3-pointers and led the Cougars (12-14) with 13 points. Darius Moose, coming off a school-record 36 points in an upset win over Northwest Cabarrus, was limited to 12 points and seven rebounds. Cody Clanton scored 10 points off the bench.
Josh Doby, Carson’s third big threat, was held to two points on 1-for-12 shooting.
“We didn’t shoot real well,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “We had spurts in the first half that kept us close, but they pulled away in the second. But our guys didn’t give up. They kept fighting.”
Paul Larsen scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for sixth-ranked Lake Norman (24-1), and Reggie Price had 18 points and eight boards. The Wildcats have won nine straight since their lone setback.
That loss came at seventh-ranked West Rowan (23-2). Thursday’s result sets up a third meeting between the league powers, and the game will determine the NPC’s No. 1 seed for the state playoffs. The teams play at West Iredell tonight at 8 p.m.
Matt Eller added 11 points for the Wildcats, and Gabe Mercer scored 10 of his 13 in the second half. Lake Norman held Carson to 36-percent shooting, including a dismal 4-for-25 on 3-pointers.
Still, the Cougars gave Lake Norman fits in the first half.
Carson opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run. Brandon Ferrare’s layup with 4:23 left gave the Cougars a 19-18 lead, and Houston’s 3-pointer with 3:45 left put them up 22-18.
The Wildcats responded with a 15-2 run to close out the quarter. Mercer’s three-point play with 2:38 left put Lake Norman back in the lead, and Price nailed a 3-pointer for a 33-24 margin at the half.
The Wildcats pushed their lead to 17 points by the end of the third quarter, but Carson pulled within eight twice ó the last time at 59-51 on a 3-pointer from Houston with 4:40 left to play.
Lake Norman closed out the game by scoring 15 unanswered points.
“They’ve laid the wood to us a couple times,” Perry said. “But they’ve done that to just about everybody.”
NOTES: Carson will make its first-ever playoff appearance Monday on the road ó likely at Forestview ó as the NPC’s No. 6 seed.CARSON (51) ó Houston 13, Moose 12, Clanton 10, Ferrare 8, Sewell 6, Doby 2, Begic, Harden.
LAKE NORMAN (74) ó Price 18, Larsen 18, Mercer 13, Eller 11, Denyes 6, Albritton 4, Canevari 4, Whalen, Smith.
Carson 11 13 14 13 ó 51
Lake Norman 16 17 22 19 ó 74