2012 All-County Basketball: Carson's Misenheimer is girls Coach of the Year
By Ronnie Gallagher
CHINA GROVE — Midway through this past season, Brooke Misenheimer was sitting on the bench watching her Carson Cougars destroy Statesville by 57 points, thinking back to just three years earlier.
When Statesville beat her team 72-16. And 75-17.
It’s safe to say that her team has come a long way.
The only coach in Carson’s six-year history has come so far, in fact, that her team’s 23-4 record and first-place finish (a tie with North Iredell) in the 3A North Piedmont Conference helped her win the 2012 Rowan County Coach of the Year award.
Absolutely no one was thinking “Coach of the Year” when her career began.
“Getting beat by 50 points several times is a tough thing,” Misenheimer said. “Being on that end of it gave me an entirely different perspective. We had a very strong team this year but we wanted to win with class. You don’t want to make anyone feel worse than the score looks.”
She took the job as a 23-year-old, thinking she could conquer the world. Principal Henry Kluttz knew better.
“He really tried to prepare me for what a task it was going to be,” Misenheimer said. “We had four wins in those first three years.”
Despite a 4-67 record, she remained steadfast and says now she appreciated the support of her administration.
“We had 14-year-old freshmen starting on varsity that first year going against 17-and 18-year-olds,” Misenheimer said. “But it’s about wanting to see something through.”
When Allison Blackwell, Tyesha Phillips and Kelly Dulkoski came over as freshmen, everything changed. In their three years, Carson has gone from 11 wins to 18 to 23.
This season was everything the first three weren’t. While it used to be painful watching the outmanned Cougars, Rowan County fans were clamoring to see them, especially when they started off 12-0.
The winning streak ended in the Moir Christmas Classic final, but there were almost 3,000 fans packed into Catawba’s Goodman Gym to see it.
“People wanted to come see our team play,” Misenheimer said. “That’s a really good feeling.”
Along with juniors Blackwell, Phillips and Dulkoski, Misenheimer had seniors Chloe Monroe and Sarrah Holman playing well, along with freshman Alex Allen. They weren’t physically imposing but Misenheimer and assistants Doug Faison and her brother, Kurt, put the pieces of the puzzle together beautifully.
The biggest win in school history was on the road against three-time defending NPC champ North Iredell.
“As big as that win was, we knew we didn’t play our best,” Misenheimer said. “What I loved about this team was, they weren’t satisfied.”
An upset loss to Concord in the sectionals left a sour taste in her mouth, but Misenheimer has since realized how special her winter was.
“I hate the way it ended,” she said. “It took a couple of weeks to appreciate what the season was all about. Going 23-4 is something to be proud of. Our kids coming back have a lot to be hungry for.”
Expect a lot of kids coming out with a hungry appetite, too. This Carson program has done an about-face.
“I want the kids coming over from middle school to be excited about playing here,” Misenheimer said.
For Misenheimer, that should be the least of her worries. Those kids will now be playing for a winner — and a deserving Coach of the Year.