A.L. Brown girls 51, Carson 50 (OT)
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó A.L. Brown charged back from nine points down Monday to force overtime and beat Carson 51-50 in the first OT game ever played by the Cougar girls.
With 10 seconds left in overtime and the Wonders trailing by one point, A.L. Brown’s Zebresha Blakeney was fouled on a 3-point attempt from the right corner.
Carson’s Demya Heggins aggressively went for the swat and was whistled for a foul.
Heggins stood at halfcourt, hands on her head, and breathed a tiny sigh of relief as Blakeney missed the first of her three free throws. The gym, filling up for the boys game, was loud, but one of the Wonders’ training methods paid off.
Brown practices free throws with simulated crowd noise in the background.
“We turn up the chants when we practice free throws because you’re going to have to make some at the end of a game,” Brown coach Tosha Robinson said. “We needed her to make some big ones tonight, and she did.”
Blakeney barely rolled in her second free throw to tie it. That took pressure off. Her third attempt was also good, almost clean, and the Wonders (2-0) led 51-50. Carson freshman Kelly Dulkoski tried to hurry to the frontcourt, but Blakeney applied pressure on the left sideline and Dulkoski lost the ball out of bounds with four seconds left.
A.L. Brown then turned it over. Carson successfully inbounded the ball to Breckin Settlemyer about 30 feet from the hoop, but she didn’t have a look and her desperate pass sailed wide of Tyesha Phillips, positioned close to the basket, to end the game.
“The last few years we would not have won this game, but these girls have a lot of determination,” Robinson said.
Carson (0-2) played much better than at Davie on Saturday, but it still had numerous self-inflicted wounds ó 35 turnovers and missed 16 foul shots.
“Our effort was so much better,” Carson’s Kaylene Livengood said. “We came out much stronger, but it’s still a rough loss.”
Three 3s by Livengood kept it tight early, and a combination of improved Cougar defense and frigid Wonder shooting handed Carson a 33-30 lead after three quarters.
When Settlemyer scored uncontested on a two-on-none break with 3:30 remaining, Carson led 44-35, but a bucket by Brown post player Jasmine Parker, who sprinted the length of the floor to follow a teammate’s missed layup, keyed a furious comeback.
A steal by Chloe Monroe led to a stickback by Heggins for a 46-42 Carson lead with 1:30 left. Blakeney’s short jumper off a steal with 40 seconds to go made it 46-44. Heggins then hit a free throw to bump the Cougars’ lead to three with 35 seconds left, but Blakeney calmly set her feet and answered with a tying 3 from the left wing to propel the game to overtime.”Up nine with three minutes to go is a good place to be in,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “But Kannapolis puts so much pressure on you. They forced a frantic pace those last few minutes.”
The Wonders held the ball more than two minutes at the outset of overtime before Monroe’s steal and layup gave the Cougars a 49-47 lead. After Sara Tuttle’s driving layup tied it, Livengood sank a free throw with 17 seconds left for a one-point lead.
It stayed that way until Blakeney marched to the foul line and decided it.
“The positive is this was great improvement from Saturday,” Misenheimer said. “We were very disappointed in ourselves.”
A.L. BROWN (51) ó Parker 13, Blakeney 10, Spears 6 , Lott 6, McCauley 5, McGuine 4, Tuttle 4, Cannon 2, Forrest 1.
CARSON (50) ó K. Livengood 14, Monroe 11, Settlemyer 10, Phillips 7, Heggins 5, Blackwell 3, Dulkoski, M. Livengood, Alexander, Cloninger.
A.L. Brown 17 9 4 17 4 ó 51
Carson 13 10 10 14 3 ó 50