Prep Basketball: Carson boys 61, Central Cabarrus 45
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — Carson got its start as a boys hoops program with offensive machines such as Darius Moose, Nick Houston. Josh Doby and Cody Clanton filling it up, but it’s a new day in China Grove.
“We’ve traded pretty for gritty,” coach Brian Perry said. “We don’t shoot the ball as well as we used to, we don’t make 3s like we used to, but we’ve got some young guys who are getting after it pretty good. And this is a pretty darn athletic team.”
Perry liked the results he got on Thursday — a solid 61-45 home win against Central Cabarrus.
Sophomore Colton Laws, a 6-foot-5 guy who can be an honorary Plumlee if he grows another five inches, had a breakout game with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Tre Williams did a nice job of controlling the ball and making free throws at the end. Dontae Gilbert contributed 14 high-degree-of-difficulty points, and Gilbert and Travis Abbitt combined defensively to limit Central’s top scoring threat DeyQuan Heath to 11 points.
Carson’s muscular duo of Myquon Stout and Rameiq Howard did a job on the glass. Howard had four boards in the second quarter alone.
“Those big bodies were a factor,” Central coach Chris McDonald said. “Especially with us having played a real physical game on Wednesday night against West Stanly.”
It was a certified foul-fest, and the Cougars (2-1) were shooting double-bonus free throws with 6:28 left in the second quarter. It had to damage the Vikings’ chances that Brandon Greene, their best ballhandler, was plagued with constant foul trouble.
“We’ve played three games and we’re still yet to get into any kind of offensive flow or rhythm,” McDonald said. “We’re still trying to adjust to how games are going to be called and it really did hurt that both our point guards got in foul trouble. But no excuses. Carson just beat us tonight. They beat us rebounding and they were better at the foul line.”
Carson shot 31 free throws and made 20, while the Vikings (2-1) went 10-for-19 at the stripe.
A surprise 3-pointer by Laws propelled Carson to a 31-23 halftime lead, and the Cougars used rugged defense to stay in command in a ragged third quarter. On a single Central possession, Stout swatted away a shot attempt and Williams took a charge.
Carson suffered through a scoring drought of almost five minutes, and the Vikings crept within six, but Jacob Raper and D.J. Love buried huge 3s to end the scoring famine.
With Carson leading 46-33 with 6:42 remaining, Laws drove baseline, got fouled and grabbed the rim as the ball tumbled through the hoop. That three-point play sent the white-clad “Carson Crazies” into a frenzy and was the backbreaker for the Vikings.
“We played aggressive tonight, for sure,” said Laws, the younger brother of Cody Laws, who was a standout pitcher at East Rowan. “We’re young and nobody really knows who we are, but we can be pretty good.”
“We laid an egg our first game of the season,” he said. “But in our last two, we’ve gotten better.”
CENTRAL CABARRUS (45) — Heath 11, Greene 10, Spease 8, Klugh 8, C. Young 4, Atkins 4, Furr, Jarvis, Wagner, McNair, T. Young.
CARSON (61) — Laws 19, Gilbert 14, Williams 10, Stout 7, Raper 4, Love 3, Abbitt 2, Parker 2, Howard.
C. Cab 14 9 10 12 — 45
Carson 18 13 15 15 — 61
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