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Prep Basketball: Hickory Ridge boys 70, Carson 45

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó Carsonís boys basketball team spent its season-opener running an uphill race.
It never did catch visiting Hickory Ridge and dropped a 70-45 decision Monday night.
ěNot a good first game for us,î coach Brian Perry said after the Cougars turned the ball over 33 times. ěI thought we handled the ball terrible.î
They didnít shoot it much better. Carson made only five baskets in the second half ó and only one in the decisive third quarter. The Cougars never led, but inched within four points late in the first half before folding like a backyard lawn chair after the break.
ěWe didnít come out ready in the second half,î junior Malachi Parker said. ěThey started trapping and we didnít take our time. We started throwing passes where no one could get them.î
CHS was in trouble right from the start. Hickory Ridge jumped to a 14-1 lead in the opening five minutes, thanks largely to Nick Houghís 3-pointer from the left wing and J.M. Robinson transfer Leonard Woodyís fastbreak layup.
ěThat surprised us,î said Carson senior Dontae Gilbert. ěWe should have worked harder to stop their drives to the middle and fought for more rebounds.î
Fifth-year HR coach Robert Machado said his team was simply the aggressor in the early going. ěWe were,î he later acknowledged. ěWe just got them on a good night for us and a bad night for them. Of course it helped that we forced some early turnovers and hit some tough shots.î
Carson regrouped in the second period and used a 9-2 run to pull within 28-24. Key baskets were provided by Gilbert ó who scored on an over-and-under layup from the left baseline ó and sophomore Tre Williams, who brought the crowd to its feet with a nifty scoop layup a minute later.
ěFor a while we were playing as a team,î Gilbert said. ěWe going at our tempo, not theirs. We werenít going to panic.î
Everything changed in the third quarter, when Hickory Ridge forced 10 turnovers while committing only two. ěWeíll take that ratio anyday,î Machado said.
Perry agreed. ěI think we turned the ball over on five of our first six possessions that quarter,î he said. ěThatís not gonna work.î
The game spiraled out of reach from there. Slippery guard Kellen Lipscomb scored back-to-back layups three seconds apart and Woody hit a putback to put the guests ahead 48-29. Carsonís only third-quarter bucket came when 6-foo-t-5 sophomore Colton Laws muscled in for a layup.
ěDown six points at halftime, we felt very good with that,î Perry said. ěWe were in position to make a run and get back in the game, maybe even take the lead. Then we couldnít make a basket in the third (quarter). Our team is gonna go through spells like that. But yeah, the third quarter beat us tonight.î
Parker knows the Cougars canít continue to play so carelessly. ěTo win games,î he said, ěyouíve got to get rebounds, give up no second-chance shots and limit your turnovers. Tonight we turned it over more often than we put up shots.î
HICKORY RIDGE (70) ó Lipscomb 24, Still 18, Woody 8, Parks 7, Hough 3, Cook 3, Stafford 3, Freeman 2, Eury 2.
CARSON (45) ó Gilbert 10, Parker 10, Williams 9, Love 4, Abbitt 4, Howard 3, Laws 3, Stout 2,Raper, Broome, Bigalow, Martin.
H. Ridge 21 11 16 22 ó 70
Carson 12 14 7 12 ó 45

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