2011-12 Basketball: Carson girls preview

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

By Ronnie Gallagher
CHINA GROVE ó Carson senior Chloe Monroe has seen it all during her time as a member of Brooke Misenheimerís Cougars.
As a freshman, she was a part of a two-win team. Ugh.
As a sophomore, she was a part of a team that won 11. Better.
As a junior, she was the leading scorer on an 18-win team, and more importantly, part of a squad that went 10-2 in the North Piedmont Conference, finishing second only to highly touted North Iredell.
Now, there are even higher expectations for Carson. Three double-figure scorers return to the starting lineup. A reliable point guard is in place. Good rebounders are ready to crash the boards. Misenheimer hopes the success will carry over.
ěPlayers 1-through-10 bought in to what we wanted,î she said.
Especially the 5-foot-6 Monroe, a deadly 3-point shooter.
ěShe has appreciation for what weíve done,î Misenheimer said. ěShe has been a huge part of the growth.î
Monroe had 16 double-figure games last season, averaging 12 points. At one point, she produced five straight double-figure contests. Her career high of 23 came in a win over West Rowan.
ěShe put us on her back when we struggled,î Misenheimer said. ěShe took on a clutch role. Sheís more mature now. Sheís a good offensive player but she does the little things.î
Monroe will have plenty of help with the scoring from juniors Kelly Dulkoski and Allison Blackwell. Each averaged 11.7 points. The 5-8 Dulkoski amazed with her high-arching bombs from 20 feet while the 5-9 Blackwell amazed with her all-around talent.
ěKellyís shooting has gotten even better,î Misenheimer exclaimed. ěBut sheís a much-improved player in all aspects. Sheís improved in creating her shot. Sheís very hard to guard. Sheís a better on-ball defender, sheís a better rebounder, and sheís more vocal.î
While Dulkoski had 14 double-figure games last season, Blackwell had 12. She had a career high 20 against West Rowan, then broke it with a 23-point effort against South. Over the last seven games, she had six double-figure games and averaged 15 points.
Entering practice, Blackwell was rehabbing an injured ankle from volleyball. Misenheimer assured that wonít stop the gritty junior who can put the ball in the basket on runners, jumpers, 3-pointers and after rebounds.
ěAllisonís extremely athletic,î Misenheimer praised. ěShe can score in a number of ways. She can play anywhere from the 2 to the 5 spot. Sheís big on the boards and her best is yet to come.î
Getting the ball to the scorers is the job of senior point guard Sarrah Holman.
ěSheís going to handle the ball more for us,î Misenheimer said. ěShe is very much a leader and a communicator. She gets the ball where it needs to go. She also plays tremendous defense.î
Junior Tyesha Phillips may be the most deceptive inside player in the county. Never has a 5-5 post person rebounded like she has. Misenheimer smiles and calls her ěthe X-factor for us.î
Misenheimer added, ěTyesha mixes it up and does the dirty work. She goes unnoticed but she rebounds, gets putbacks and takes charges. Itís not her job to be a big scorer.î
Holman and Phillips can be scorers when called upon. Phillips averaged 8.4 last year and Holman 6.6.
Another factor could be post Suzanna Stirewalt. The 5-6 senior is one of the hardest workers Misenheimer has.
ěShe has improved tremendously,î the coach said. ěShe has a nice little 10-foot shot. Sheís a good rebounder. She takes pride knowing her role.î
Junior Katherine Barringerís role is similar to Phillips.
ěWeíll rely on her for a lot more minutes,î said Misenheimer . ěSheís one of our best defenders.î
Coming off the jayvees are 5-3 junior Paris Parks and 5-6 sophomore Katie Cole.
ěParks is our little waterbug out there,î Misenheimer grinned. ěShe wants to play defense. She enjoys that role.î
Cole was one of the jayveesí leading scorers.
ěSheís good off the dribble and gets to the rim,î Misenheimer said. ěSheíll be a good player.î
Coming from China Grove Middle School is 5-9 freshman Alex Allen.
ěShe has all the potential in the world,î Misenheimer said. ěShe gets better and better every practice. She can create her shot and score.î
Scoring shouldnít be a problem for Misenheimerís high-octane offense. The Cougars had a three-game stretch late in the season where they ripped the nets for 72, 77 and 85 points. They averaged 60.8 for the season, while giving up 43.
ěPeople know we can score,î Misenheimer said. ěItís a huge asset to have. But weíd like to be as good defensively as offensively. Weve got to be able to stop people.î
Itís easy to forget the first two games of last season. Carson lost both. Then, it won 18 of its next 23. The season ended in the second round of the playoffs when powerful top seed Parkwood got all it could handle before edging the Cougars 61-54.
Carson was impressive in the NPC, losing only to North Iredell, whom Misenheimer still considers the favorite. But donít count out the talented Cougars.
ěOur girls know what it takes,î she said.
Especially Monroe, who has led the Cougars from the outhouse to the doorstep of the penthouse.
If Carson can avoid injuries, this team has the potential to become the new tenant.