Prep Basketball: Carson girls 52, North Iredell 44
By David Shaw
OLIN — It’s starting to look like the Carson girls basketball team isn’t going away.
The Cougars rode the elevator all the way to the top floor of the NPC standings Friday night when they fended off host North Iredell and gained a monumental 52-44 win.
“This is a huge occasion,” coach Brooke Misenheimer said after Carson (15-1, 6-0) reached the midpoint of its conference season with a view from the top. “And it’s a huge win for us. We didn’t come in here and expect to roll over anybody. North Iredell’s always had our number. They’re still a solid, fundamental team and they gave us a pretty good fight.”
It was an achievement that seemed to crown Carson’s sandpaper-to-silk transformation. CHS shot only 38 percent from the field — a far cry from its flashier 45-50 percent average — but it staved off a late rally and handed the second-place Raiders (11-5, 5-1) their first regular-season conference loss in 30 games.
“We were all anxious about playing here,” senior Sarrah Holman said. “We knew if we could win we’d be the first seed in our conference. That’s something we’ve never been before.”
Carson is a first-place team for the first time because its defense earned another gold star. North, the two-time defending league champion, was limited to only six field goals in what proved to be a decisive first half.
“What it came down to,” said NI coach Tami Ramsey, “is they made shots and we didn’t. We missed a lot of shots we normally make — something we haven’t done all season. And they were wide open shots.”
Credit Misenheimer and her assistants, Doug Faison and brother Kurt Misenheimer. Faison devised a defensive scheme that may have scrambled North’s eggs in the first half. “My plan was to stop the big girl — and for a while we did,” he said afterward.
The big girl he referenced was 5-foot-11 junior Brooke Redmond, a rugged forward who contributed 10 points and 19 rebounds for the Raiders. Carson played a 2-3 zone in order to surround Redmond each time she tried to make an offensive move.
“We packed it in,” Misenheimer said. “And we’re a team that never plays zone. Maybe on an inbounds play, but that’s it. We’re man-to-man all the time.”
Despite turning the ball over five times in the opening two minutes, Carson regrouped following a timeout. Redmond picked up her second personal foul with 2:51 remaining in the opening period and the Cougars capitalized with a 12-0 run.
“We knew if we did stuff right, we’d come out with a win,” said guard Chloe Monroe.
Carson later used a 9-0 scoring spree to close the first half and jogged off with a 29-14 halftime lead.
“But even then,” said Carson’s Kelly Dulkoski (13 points), “we knew they would have a run. It was just a matter of playing good defense and being smart on offense.”
North hung around in the second half and closed with 45-41 when Redmond hit a layup with two minutes to play. But Holman’s three-point play with 1:39 remaining secured the victory.
“As senior, it’s exciting to be in first,” Holman said. “We plan on staying.”
CARSON (52) — Dulkoski 13, Holman 9, Monroe 8, Phillips 8, Barringer 7, Blackwell 5, Allen 2.
NORTH IREDELL (44) — Redmond 10, Cartner 10, Haneline 9, Fox 5, Robbins 4, Johnson 4, Lunsford 2.
Carson 15 14 8 15 — 52
N. Iredell 8 6 14 16 — 44