NPC Girls Final: North Iredell 55, Carson 40
By David Shaw
STATESVILLE — The evening began miserably and finished even worse for the Carson girls basketball team Friday night.
A bad-start/bad-finish combination proved lethal for the Cougars in their quest to win the NPC tournament championship.
“This was very important. We knew what was at stake,” junior Allison Blackwell said at Statesville High School, where Carson dropped a 55-40 decision to top-seeded North Iredell. “Now we’ve got to look at it like a new slate.”
Carson missed its first first eight and last 11 field goal attempts and squandered a chance to gain the conference’s top seed. The smile was gone from coach Brooke Misenheimer’s face long before the final horn.
“The biggest thing is we didn’t make our high-percentage shots,” she said after CHS (23-3) suffered its second loss in three matchups with North. “We knew we weren’t gonna get a lot of open, outside shots. What really hurt us were missed opportunities under the basket. We couldn’t finish.”
Carson — a team that’s lived and died by the outside shot all season — was miserable from the field. Team stats indicated the Cougars were 13-for-53 (24.5 percent) from the floor, including 1-for-12 in the consequential fourth quarter. Junior Kelly Dulkoski knocked down five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points, but needed 22 field goal attempts to get there.
“I think our start was pretty good,” she said afterward. “We were getting the shots we wanted.”
They just weren’t making them. It was 8-0 Raiders after four minutes and 30-20 early in the third quarter. The game didn’t have “Win One For Tami Ramsey” written all over it, but flu-like symptons that forced her to miss the game seemed to motivate the winners.
“We wanted to play even stronger tonight for her,” junior center Brooke Redmond said. “We love her to death. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
With assistant coach Nancy Keith at the wheel, North (19-5) raced to its eighth straight victory. The Raiders received 16 points from guard Bri Johnson and a double-double (10 points, 18 rebounds) from Redmond. Senior Chloe Monroe shot 4-for-8 from the floor and had 12 points for Carson.
“When it came down to it,” Monroe said, “we didn’t get it done.”
Carson drew within 43-39 when Dulkoski drained a 3-pointer 22 seconds into the fourth quarter. But North’s 12-1 finishing kick cemented the outcome.
“They had an answer for us every time,” Misenheimer said. “I mean, they made big shots. We got within three in the third quarter and they answered. We got within four in the fourth and they put us away. They certainly played a better game than we did.”
CARSON (40) — Dulkoski 17, Monroe 12, Phillips 4, Blackwell 3, Allen 2, Holman 2, Barringer.
NORTH IREDELL (55) — B.Johnson 16, Redmond 10, Robbins 10, M.Johnson 10, Cartner 5, Haneline 2, Fox 2.
Carson 8 12 16 4 — 40
N. Iredell 12 16 15 12 — 55