Prep Basketball: Carson boys 83, Statesville 55
By David Shaw
STATESVILLE ó It appears Brian Perry and the Carson boys basketball team are putting defense first this season.
And second. And third.
Even on a night when the Cougars knocked down six 3-pointers and jingle-bell-rocked their way to an 83-55 win at Statesville, all they wanted to talk about was defense.
“That’s all he talks about,” junior Nick Houston said, motioning toward Perry moments after Carson (7-1) captured its NPC opener. “Playing defense and stopping them. That’s what wins games.”
No one played better defense than Carson’s Cody Clanton, a 6-foot-3 junior who blocked 10 shots, though some of them were partials.
“He must have had a thousand blocks,” Perry said. “He was getting his hands on everything. And assists, too. He was making beautiful passes down the floor, full court, right on the money. He said he should have been the quarterback. I don’t know how many he scored, but as far as blocks and assists, he was huge tonight.”
Clanton added 13 points, one of four Carson scorers in double figures. “We can score,” he said, “but we come to play defense. That’s our game. Good things happen when you play like we did.”
The Cougars rode Darius Moose (21 points, 8 rebounds) for much of the night. Houston added 19 points, including a gorgeous 3-ball from the right side that put Carson ahead 37-21 midway through the second quarter. He drained another one that made it 52-33 with 6:20 remaining in the third period.
“I think we were just moving the ball around real well in the second half,” he said. “We picked up our intensity and just ran it.”
Moose provided a snapshot of just how good things are in Cougar Land when he drove in for an attempted dunk late in the third quarter. And though he slammed the ball off the back of the rim, he wound up converting a layup when a pass found him unguarded just seconds later.
“Surprises?” Clanton offered. “I was surprised Moose was trying to dunk it.”
Moose, now averaging 20.6 points-per-game, had what Perry called “a regular game.”
“But even a regular game from him is pretty good,” he added. “He’s always gonna find a way to put the ball in the basket.”
Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said his team was gassed after playing its third game of the week.
“It was tough on us,” he said after the Greyhounds (1-5) dropped their league opener. “Our inexperience showed at times. We got flustered, but we’ve got five sophomores and three freshmen getting playing time.”
He thinks Carson is a “heady squad that never lost its cool,” perhaps an NPC title contender, but warns, “Nobody’s going undefeated in this conference. The conference champion will have two or three losses. I’ll tell you that right now.”
That’s something Perry and Co. don’t wish to discuss, though it’s hard to ignore the Cougars’ early-season success.
“I think our league is very competitive,” Perry said. “West Rowan has got to be the favorite. Any conference champion has got to go through Mount Ulla. So any win you can get, especially one on the road, is big. And this was big tonight. We’re 1-0, and that’s all right.”
NOTES: Senior Derrick Sewell had 12 points for Carson. His driving layup gave the Cougars their widest margin, 81-49, with five minutes remaining. … Perry let reserves play the final 2:46. They were outscored 2-0 by Statesville’s reserves.
carson (83) ó Moose 21, Houston 19, Clanton 13, Sewell 12, Wagner 7, Heggins 7, Ferrare 4,Crossen, Raper, Eagle, Long, Barringer. statesville (55) ó Gaither 13, Edwards 13, Schofield 11, Mott 8, Willis 3, Nolin 2, Summers 2, Lowry 2, Whitaker 1.
Carson 21 22 24 16 ó 83
Statesville 12 17 13 13 ó 55