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SALISBURY — Carson’s girls entered the Sam Moir Christmas Classic feeling good, but the Cougars exited with one easy victory, two ugly losses, red eyes and long faces.
Loss No. 2 came at the hands of Davie County, which handled the Cougars 59-47 in the third-place game.
Second-seeded Carson (10-3) had one positive moment when senior Allison Blackwell scored her 1,000th point on a third-quarter offensive rebound, but the Cougars had serious issues, including 28-percent shooting and allowing 17 offensive boards by the fifth-seeded War Eagles (8-6).
“It was good to get the 1,000 points,” Blackwell said. “But I would rather that it happened in a win. We didn’t play well, and a lot of things contributed.”
One thing that went horribly wrong was that Carson shot 3-for-25 on 3-pointers against Davie’s long-armed zone, and you can almost achieve that percentage blindfolded.
“We got exposed some in this tournament,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “We’ve prided ourselves on being a good defensive team, but the last two games we’ve had a lot of lapses.”
Carson had not allowed 50 points to anyone prior to the tournament, but Davie put up 57 just as Salisbury did when it beat Carson in the semifinals.
“We just haven’t been able to get our rebounding right all year,” Blackwell said. “And dumb fouls hurt us a lot. We were getting over-the-back fouls when they clearly had the rebound and we were getting touch fouls on their drives. They kept shooting free throws, and they were knocking them down.”
Pfeiffer signee Amy Steller scored 25 points for the War Eagles. She had three and-ones — her specialty — and was 13-for-14 on free throws. Steller produced one of those and-ones as she tumbled upside down into a wall.
“I can’t explain it,” she said. “I don’t know how I learned it, but I’ve always been good at drawing fouls.”
Both teams had tough semifinal losses, with Davie losing by a point to West Rowan. Davie handled disappointment better.
“There was some heartbreak with West, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d come out sluggish,” Steller said. “Instead, we had some fire.”
Misenheimer was hoping for a blaze of her own, but the Cougars were flatter than Kansas.
“There were a lot of things we didn’t do well when we lost to Salisbury, and we didn’t do those same things well again today,” Misenheimer said. “I’d hoped for more enthusiasm and energy, but we had no emotion whatsoever.”
Carson is dependent on Blackwell and guard Kelly Dulkoski for offense, and it isn’t going to win against anyone when Dulkoski shoots 5-for-27.
Dulkoski, who didn’t start and sat for four minutes, was 8-for-10 on free throws to manage 20 points, while Blackwell had 17 points and seven boards.
But the Cougars got only four field goals from the rest of the roster.
“We were active in our zone and got a hand up on shooters,” Davie coach Denny Key said. “We were basically able to guard two people with five.”
Carson trailed 30-22 at halftime.
The Cougars did make a run in the fourth quarter behind Blackwell and got as close as 44-41, but Emeral Gadson got a huge stickback for Davie, Steller drained two more free throws, and Gadson scored again on a layup. The lead went back to nine, and it was over.
“Gadson’s play came right after a rebounding timeout when I told the girls they had to start going after it,” Key said.
Misenheimer said the Cougars will start fixing things Monday. Key says they’ll be OK.
“They’re quality,” he said. “They’ll win 20 games.”

DAVIE (59) — Steller 25, Hatfield 12, Gadson 8, Zaferatos 5, Peebles 3, Wooten 3, Peterson 3, Jones, Bode, Bohannon, Brown, Dennard.
CARSON (47) — Dulkoski 20, Blackwell 17, Cole 5, Huffman 2, Allen 2, Gray 1, Barringer, Parks, Clark.

Davie 10 20 11 18 — 59
Carson 9 13 12 13 — 47

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