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Prep basketball girls notebook

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Prep girls basketball notebook …
Carson’s road win at North Iredell on Friday placed the Cougars in the driver’s seat for their first NPC championship and was significant on other levels as well.
North Iredell had been the toughest nemesis for the Cougars (15-1, 6-0) throughout their six-season history.
Carson was 0-11 against the Raiders prior to Friday’s breakthrough, and the Cougars had never lost by fewer than 10 points.
Carson’s first three seasons of competition were humbling, to say the least — four wins, 67 losses and NPC records of 1-13, 0-18 and 1-17.
In 2009-10, however, the Cougars reached respectability and they recorded their first wins over South Rowan, East Rowan and West Iredell.
In 2010-11, the Cougars broke through against West Rowan, Davie and Statesville. This season, they’ve won for the first time against A.L. Brown and Robinson as well as North Iredell.
The list of schools the Cougars have played but not beaten has now been reduced to four.
Salisbury, obviously, heads that list. South Stanly and former NPC member Lake Norman beat up the Cougars during their lean years, but they haven’t been on the schedule since things turned around.
The fourth school is Parkwood, which has eliminated the Cougars from the 3A playoffs the last two seasons.
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CONSISTENT: Carson junior Kelly Dulkoski has scored in double figures in all 16 games and has a streak of 19 in a row going back to last season. That’s the second-longest active streak for county girls. Salisbury sophomore Brielle Blaire has been in double digits 24 straight times.
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LOTS OF THREATS: Carson has managed to start 15-1 because it has a number of capable players.
In addition to Dulkoski’s long string, Sarrah Holman has been in double figures 11 times this season.
Other Cougars who have produced double-digit games are Chloe Monroe (9), Allison Blackwell (7), Alex Allen (4), Tyesha Phillips (3) and Katherine Barringer (2).
The Cougars average 69.2 points per game and are on pace to shatter the school record of 60.8 points per game they set last season.
If you’re wondering, the highest-scoring girls team in the county since school consolidation was coach Toni Wheeler’s 2003-04 West squad that averaged 70.7 points per game and had three 1,000-point scorers — Hillary Hampton, Rashonda Mayfield and Brittany Roberson — in the lineup.
That team also had five more girls — Jac White, Reneé Roberson, Julia Hartsell, Tanunika Imes and Paris Rucker — who surpassed the 500-point plateau.
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STILL ROLLING: Salisbury emerged from the Sam Moir Christmas Classic with a 43-game county winning streak.
That streak will still be intact when the 2012-13 season begins because the Hornets won’t face any more county opponents this season.
The task in front of the Hornets (13-2, 2-0) now is to continue their CCC winning streak.
That run was extended to 28 consecutive games with Friday’s 59-45 win against a big Lexington team that fought hard in Salisbury’s gym. Guard Doreen Richardson is having a great senior season for coach Chris McNeil and her career-high 19 points sparked the victory with Blaire in foul trouble.
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2A LOADED: Salisbury is ranked second in 2A in the NCPreps.com poll despite the graduation of four stellar starters — and a pair of pre-Christmas losses.
That shows how much respect there is for the three-time defending state champs around the state.
There are at least five undefeated teams in 2A — Bandys, North Surry, Wilkes Central, Jordan-Matthews and North Stanly — and only Bandys is ranked ahead of the Hornets.
Seventh-ranked Newton-Conover beat Salisbury this season, becoming the first 2A team to accomplish that feat since East Davidson did it in the 2009 CCC tournament.
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STEELE OUT: West junior Shay Steele ranks second in county scoring this season with 17.6 points per game, but she may not add to her county-leading career total of 860 points for a while.
A concussion has knocked Steele out of West’s lineup.
The 6-foot-2 Division I prospect has missed the last two games — Friday’s 48-33 NPC win against West Iredell and a really ugly 53-34 loss at Lexington on Monday. West (9-8, 4-2 NPC) got smashed on the boards at Lexington, and Steele’s absence was part of that.
“We’ve just got to play without her right now, and the girls know they can play without her because they did win against West Iredell,” coach Todd McNeely said. “We’re not going to try to rush Shay back just to try to win ballgames. If it’s two weeks or if it’s four weeks, we’ll give her all the time she needs.”
McNeely owns plenty of concussion experience. His daughter, Josie, has had three of them.
A cautious approach with Steele’s return is admirable, but the Falcons will be vulnerable to any decent team on their schedule until she gets back.
Finishing third in the NPC looked like a lock for the Falcons before Steele went down, but West may be in for serious struggles with South and East next week.
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LAYOFF: East’s girls (5-11, 3-3 NPC) own a four-game winning streak during which they’ve averaged 61 points per game, but they also have some rust. They haven’t played since they mashed Statesville on Jan. 6.
Freshman Kelli Fisher has averaged 16.5 points during the streak, while soph Karleigh Wike has poured in 20.3 points per game. The question is did East suddenly get a lot better — or was it just a very friendly schedule that served up four straight opponents with losing records?
We’ll find out soon if East is for real. Carson is a good measuring stick for anyone, and the Mustangs will be in the Cougars’ gym on Friday.
It was 79-36 when the teams met in Granite Quarry on Dec. 13.
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COMEBACK: North Rowan’s rally from an 18-point deficit to beat North Moore on Jan. 10 was awesome to behold and shows what the Cavaliers can do when they make some shots.
North Moore played zone, and North Rowan’s zone-busters Taylor Sells and Demeria Robinson combined for eight 3-pointers.
The perennial bullies in the YVC are Chatham Central and North Moore, and the Cavs beat both of them on their first trip through the league. That means North Rowan, despite a 6-8 overall record, is a serious contender for the YVC championship.
North Rowan is 0-6 in games against county opponents but 6-2 in the YVC.
North has lost to South Davidson and West Montgomery, so it has to even the score with them in the rematches. West Montgomery visits Spencer on Friday.
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MILESTONE: North senior Teaunna Cuthbertson has 837 career points and is tied with Melanie Miller (Class of 1979) for ninth place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
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NICE DEBUT: South Rowan freshman guard Avery Locklear has scored in double figures in 16 of South’s 17 games and averages 13.6 points per game.
South (6-11, 2-4 NPC) hasn’t had a freshman average double figures since Jill Cress scored 13.7 per game in the 1993-94 season.
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NICE JOB: A.L. Brown (9-6, 4-3) has managed to stay respectable even after losing leading scorer Aaliyah Spears to a knee injury.
Kudos to first-year coach Mike Wolford.
Brown’s scoring leaders — Sara Tuttle, Endia Cannon and Raven Phifer — all average between 6-7 points a game and the team is shooting a scary 47 percent from the foul line, but the Wonders are winning with defense.
They beat Northwest Cabarrus 41-26 for their most recent SPC victory.
Brown limited Carson to 55 points in a loss early in the season and will get a return visit from the high-powered Cougars on Jan. 25.
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STRUGGLING: Davie (2-14, 0-3 CPC) has dropped seven in a row and hasn’t won since Dec. 16.
But Amy Steller (18.6 ppg) is still scoring. She’s attempted a staggering 125 free throws and has made 90.
Emeral Gadson leads the team in steals (35) and Gadson and Asiah Peterson are combining for 12.5 rebounds per game.

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