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Carson girls finally beat West

MOUNT ULLA — After meeting three times during the regular season, West Rowan and Carson had seen just about everything the other had to offer.

Except Kate Cole. Not this Kate Cole anyway.

Cole nailed three pivotal 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including one to tie the game and one to put Carson ahead for good, as the Cougars beat their county rival 58-53 in the first round of the 3A sectional playoffs.

Monday saw times where Carson couldn’t get anything to fall for top scorers Kelly Dulkoski and Allison Blackwell, but Cole’s emergence led to a career-high 16 points.

“I just had to be confident,” said a jovial Cole after the game. “Those I was definitely confident — I knew 100 percent they were going in.”

Carson hit all eight of its free throw attempts in the final minute to preserve the second playoff win in its history. A second-round date at J.M. Robinson looms in Round 2.

It was the first win in four tries this year against West, who led 24-15 at halftime.

“Tonight we faced a lot of adversity,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “We did some things we haven’t done against them in the past.”

Carson missed 11 of its first 12 shots but stayed in the game by playing tight defense on Nycieko Dixon and Shay Steele.

Dulkoski got a game-high 18 points and tied the game at 34 on a three-point play late in the third quarter. Blackwell ended up with nine, but hit four free throws in the final minute.

“The third quarter we came out strong,” Blackwell said. “We didn’t give up despite the situation we were in.”

The Falcons were up 31-23 when Carson got an 8-0 run to tie the game. Carson took its first lead since 2-0 on the first of three Cole 3-pointers in the fourth quarter at 40-37. Dixon put West back up with a trey. Shay Steele hit a layup Alison Sobataka converted two free throws and West was up 47-42 with 3:37 left.

Carson had a five-point possession after Dulkoski hit a shot with a foul called elsewhere as Carson maintained possession. Cole’s second big trey came 10 seconds later to knot the game. After West misfired at the line twice. An open Cole hit another one from beyond the arc to put Carson up for good at 50-47.

“She knocked down the biggest shots,” Blackwell said. “We keep telling her the shots are going to fall if she keeps shooting.”

West ended its season abruptly at 24-3 after winning the NPC Tournament. While the Falcons held the lead for nearly all of the first half, 12 first-half turnovers didn’t make it one to remember.

“We turned the ball over way too much in the first half,” West coach Todd McNeely said. “We couldn’t make layups and couldn’t make shots.”

CARSON (58) —Dulkoski 18, Cole 16, Blackwell 9, Allen 8, Barringer 7, Parks, VanVoorhis.

WEST ROWAN (53) — Sobataka 14, S. Miller 13, Steele 12, Hall 9, Dixon 5, Edwards, Q. Miller, Gibbons, Martin.

Carson 5 10 19 24 — 58

W. Rowan 7 17 10 19 — 53


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