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2012-13 Prep Basketball: Carson girls preview

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE  — The Carson girls finished 23-4 last year but don’t expect the Cougars to rest on those laurels. As far as they’re concerned, there is still plenty to accomplish.
“We’ve definitely taken some significant strides,” said coach Brooke Misenheimer, the only coach Carson has known in its seven-year history. “But we still haven’t proven we’re the best. We have the experience that can allow us to win the conference championship, win the Christmas tournament championship and go farther than last year in the playoffs.”
Ah, the playoffs. After beating teams by 50 and 60 during the regular season, it all came crashing down in a first-round loss to Concord.
“That was about as disappointing of an ending as we could have had,” Misenheimer said. “It definitely left a bitter taste in our mouths. We’ll use it for motivation all year.”
Doing most of the motivating will be seniors Kelly Dulkoski and Allison Blackwell.
Dulkoski, who signed with Kennesaw State, needs only 16 points to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. The 5-foot-8 point guard may play elsewhere this year so she can get more shots up. Her 16.3 average could increase dramatically.
“We’d really like to give her opportunities to score,” Misenheimer said. “But people don’t realize what else she does. She is a great passer, but it is overshadowed by her ability to score. She’s our best ballhandler and she creates easy shots.”
Blackwell, who will play at Catawba, has grown to 5-10. Despite being the team’s top returning rebounder, Misenheimer is moving her back to a more natural position of shooting guard. Watch her 10-point average increase. She had 10 double-figure games last season, including 18 in the playoff loss to Concord.
“Allison has played out of position in the post because we’ve had very small teams,” Misenheimer said. “She’ll be on the wing, but she can play a variety of positions and be successful.”
At 5-9, Katherine Barringer will play in the post. The senior has paid her dues. She averaged just three points last year but proved she could score by pouring in 14 against Robinson.
“She’s our only true post player,” Misenheimer noted. “She should be our leading rebounder. When she comes in the game, she makes the most of every minute. She’s a great defender who will take the charge.”
Alex Allen burst onto the scene as a freshman, scoring at a 6.6 clip. The 5-10 sophomore could play all five positions, according to Misenheimer.
“The neat thing last year was she was a freshman coming onto a team with very established roles,” Misenheimer said. “But she earned their trust and respect early. She’s a natural scorer. She’s got ice in her veins. And she was at her best in the big games.”
Senior Paris Parks and junior Kate Cole will bring different things to the guard position.
Parks is a defender and Cole is a shooter. “Paris is our defensive leader,” Misenheimer said. “That’s what she cares about. We’ll put her on somebody else’s best player. She’s getting more confident in her shot and ballhandling.
“Last year was a transitional year for Kate. She’s a very good shooter and when she gets confidence in her shot, she’ll be hard to stop. She can have a breakout year.”
Megan Gray is tough.
“She’s a very good defender and is very athletic,” Misenheimer said of the junior off JV. “She doesn’t realize yet how athletic she is and what she can do. We’ll rely on her to rebound and play defense.”
Misenheimer calls 5-7 Jordy Clark, “a feisty, little player. We want her to create havoc for other teams.”
Jordan VanVoorhis, a junior, is coming off jayvee while Sydney Huffman is sophomore.
“Jordan is a hard worker with a really good shot,” Misenheimer said. “Huffman is the perfect example of what can happen when someone dedicates themselves to getting better. She listens, she’s coachable and she is also the comic relief on the team.”
But it all starts with the dynamic duo of Blackwell and Dulkoski.
”They both lead by example,” Misenheimer said. They are both hard workers and that’s a luxury to have for a coach. I want Allison and Kelly to really enjoy their senior year.”
That can happen by avoiding an early-season exit from the playoffs.
“We’ve got veteran players who hae been in big games and they know what it takes,” Misenheimer said. “They know what it takes to be at the level we need to be playing.”
And that discouraging loss to Concord?
“It won’t be forgotten,” she said.   

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