Prep Basketball: A.L. Brown 70, Carson 66, OT: Waddell makes big plays for Wonders
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — Carson guard Tre Williams wiggled into the lane in the final seconds of regulation with a chance to win Tuesday’s game, but A.L. Brown’s 6-foot-4 Braxton Waddell swatted the shot away to force overtime.
“I saw he was going to try to go up-and-under,” Waddell said. “My first reaction was to go for the block, and it worked out.”
The Wonders won 70-66 in OT. Again, Waddell made the big play — a 3-pointer from the left side early in the OT that put the Wonders in control.
With Wonder stud Tevin Stark out with a knee injury he suffered on Friday, the teams were evenly matched, and Carson (2-3) would have won in regulation had it been able to knock down free throws. The Cougars were 5-for-12 from the stripe in the fourth quarter as the game got away.
“Our goal was to start fast and finish fast,” Williams said. “We could’ve won, but the free throws hurt us. We were 17-for-34 — not good enough.”
Carson was in dire straits once the game got to OT, as it already had lost defensive-minded guards Dontae Gilbert and Travis Abbitt to five fouls.
Brown (2-1) led 28-26 after the teams scrapped through a rugged first half.
An end-to-end drive by sophomore Colton Laws gave the Cougars a 44-42 lead after three quarters.
The high-water mark for Carson was a 51-44 lead with 5:14 left to play when Williams rebounded his own missed free throw and connected on a scoop.
But the free throws clanged after that, and Brown defensive stopper Michael Carr played Williams so tough that it was difficult for the Cougars to get into their offense.
“We’ve got a lot of things we need to shore up on the offensive end,” A.L. Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz. “But we defended pretty well. Carr is one of the best defenders in our league.”
Carr also made a huge 3-pointer to give the Wonders a 54-52 lead with 2:50 left in regulation. Williams hit one of two free throws , and Laws made two of four down the stretch to inch the Cougars ahead 55-54. Carr’s free throw with 1:09 left tied it for the Wonders.
Carr opened OT with a floater from the right baseline, and Waddell’s huge 3 followed for a sudden, five-point lead.
“My guy lost me,” Waddell said. “I was wide open, Derrick (Copeland) got me the ball, and I’m kind of known as a shooter.”
Williams hit a 3-pointer and knocked down three overtime charity tosses, but Copeland made enough free throws to keep the Wonders in front.
“We didn’t play terrible and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “It came down to having confidence at the foul line.”
Copeland scored 21 for the Wonders, and Waddell put in 20. Laws had 19 for the Cougars, while Williams scored 16. Myquon Stout had 13 points and paced the Cougars on the glass.
A.L. BROWN (70) — Copeland 21, Waddell 20, Carr 12, Howie 5, Parker 4, Johnson 3, Addison 2, Medley 2, Shepard 1, Moss, Morrison, Lott, Rice.
CARSON (66) — Laws 19, Williams 16, Stout 13, Abbitt 9, Love 5, Howard 2, Gilbert 2, Raper, Martin.
A.L. Brown 12 16 14 13 15 — 70
Carson 15 11 18 11 11 — 66