Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

OLIN — Cover your eyes Carson boys basketball fans. And don’t dare look at the summary from Friday’s NPC tournament championship-game loss to top-seeded Statesville.
“Right from the jump ball, it seemed like we were outplayed,” junior guard Tre Williams said at North Iredell High School, where the Cougars dropped a startling 87-43 decision. “Every one of us, we expected a lot more from ourselves.”
They provided even less. Carson (17-10) had twice fought the Greyhounds like dogs in the street during regular-season, overtime setbacks. And it was assured a No. 2 seed in next week’s 3A state tournament long before it failed to score in the opening quarter. But even so, Statesville’s 22-0 first period felt like the left hook a losing fighter never sees coming.
“We seemed OK warming up,” coach Brian Perry indicated from the post-game witness stand. “But Statesville came out extremely aggressive, extremely hungry. They got hot, made a terrific run and we never could respond to it.”
Winning coach Sonny Schofield certainly wasn’t surprised after Statesville (20-3) captured its second consecutive title. “We looked at video and knew what our problems were the first two times we played them,” he said. “Lack of consistency. Lack of defense. We maded those corrections.”
Statesville wasted little time warming up in the bullpen. It forced eight Carson turnovers in the first quarter and jumped to 9-0 lead before the game was 90 seconds old. Perry burned an early timeout, then Jaquan Warren knocked down a 3-pointer that made it 16-0.
“You’re looking at the scoreboard and everybody is trying to pull us out of the hole themselves,” Perry said. “And we kind of lost the concept of what we were trying to do. That zero on the scoreboard played with our minds and we never responded, never got going.”
Schofield said the Hounds have a hung a goose-egg on teams before, “but never against someone good like Carson.”
Carson’s first points came when reserve Marquez McCain hit a short jump shot 18 seconds into the second quarter. But by halftime the Cougars had 15 turnovers and trailed 53-9.
“We didn’t think it was going to be like this,” junior Colton Laws said. “When they went up 20-something to nothing, it was no longer about winning. It was more about what guts you had left inside you.”
If there was a beacon in the darkness for CHS, it was junior Myquan Stout. The beefy forward contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds in the team’s most forgettable performance.
“Very surprising,” he called it. “We didn’t play good defense, couldn’t hit shots, couldn’t do anything right. We fell into their trap and never played our game.”
Carson went 9-3 in the NPC regular season by playing unselfish basketball, making crisp passes and sinking open shots. But those attributes were nowhere to be found last night — and Statesville senior Josh Gaither had an explanation.
“It wasn’t anything they did or didn’t do,” he said. “This came from us. (Schofield) told us before the game that we hadn’t played our best basketball yet. Tonight we showed him and everyone else that we’re ready for the playoffs.”

CARSON (43) —Stout 11, Laws 10, Love 6, Williams 6, McCain 5, Isom 3, Raper 2, Collins, Hower, Purcell, Howard..
STATESVILLE (87) — St. John 15, Willis 13, Warren 12, Gaither 10, Turner 10, J.Williams 9, Borders 8, Daniels 4, M.Williams 2, Geter 2, Brown 2.

Carson 0 9 20 14 — 43

Statesville 22 31 13 21 — 87