Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2013

CHINA GROVE — The only way to describe the start of the game Friday night for the Carson Cougars was “miserable”. But they quickly transformed into “scary good” mode and rolled past West Iredell 62-29 on Senior Night.
Carson (9-1, 18-4) had to struggle just to tie the game at 8-8 after one period, then three minutes into the second period they trailed the Warriors 14-10 on a jumper by Elizabeth Summers.
The Cougar struggles were best illustrated by senior Kelly Dulkoski, the team’s all-time leading scorer. She started the night 0-11 from the field plus had several uncharacteristic turnovers.
“When you are not hitting you have to work hard at the other end and play defense, “ Dulkoski said. “Eventually the shots will come.”
Well come they did not only for her but for the rest of the team on both ends of the court. West Iredell (2-8, 3-14) took that four point lead with 5:15 left in the first half and were feeling pretty good.
What happened over the next 12 minutes and 51 seconds of game clock was hard to believe. The Cougars scored 27 points and the Warriors scored none.
Dulkoski scored 12 of her game high 20 in the first half as Carson racked up 18 straight. She managed only two foul shots in the first period but those points gave her exactly 1300 in her record Cougar career.
“ We just couldn’t get any kind of a flow going whatsoever,” Carson Coach Brooke Misenheimer said of the slow start. “We did not shoot the ball well at all in the first quarter but we gutted it out in the second quarter and eventually started hitting our shots.”
West Iredell may have felt a bit gutted as well as a promising start ended in a nightmare for a young team that starts two freshmen and three sophomores. Not only did they go scoreless in the final 5:15 of the first half, they did not scratch until 14 seconds remained in the third period on a lay-up by Taylor Boggs. By then it was 37-16 and the damage was done.
“We started out good but then we let things like referee calls and other things get in our heads,” Warrior Coach Chante Miller said. “They kind of gave up but you just have to learn to play through it.”
West Iredell was also hampered by an off night from their star guard Elizabeth Webb who managed nine points, well below her 20 point average. Much of the credit goes to a suffocating Cougar defense led by Dulkoski, Allison Blackwell and Alex Allen.
Once Carson got cranking, they enjoyed a balanced effort from all 10 players. Following Dulkoski, Allen dominated inside with 12 points and 14 rebounds while Blackwell had 12 as well and eight boards.
Carson students also saluted senior players Dulkoski, Blackwell, Elizabeth Barringer and Paris Parks in their last regular season home game. They have been part of a surging program over the past four years.
“It’s crazy how fast it went by,” Dulkoski stated. “But we have to move ahead because we still have a lot of basketball to play.”
Tied for the top spot in the NPC, Carson faces the other two contenders, West Rowan and North Iredell next week. WEST IREDELL (29) — Allison 10, Webb 9, Boggs 4, Heath 4, Summers 2, Coleman, Feimster, Snouse.
CARSON (62) —Dulkoski 20, Allen 12, Blackwell, 12, Huffman 6, Cole 4, Gray 4, Van Voorhis 2, Barringr 1, Clark 1, Parks.
W. Iredell 8 6 2 13 — 29

Carson 8 20 10 24 — 62