Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CHINA GROVE — Carson senior Jordy Clark scored seven points all last season.
She had six in less than two minutes to close the first half on Monday, an unexpected flurry that propelled Carson’s girls to a 53-48 win against visiting A.L. Brown.
“Jordy can shoot, and we all know it,” said Carson’s junior standout Alex Allen. “She’s just got to believe she’s going to make them and not be afraid to take them. We need her to score.”
It was the first win for the Cougars (1-3), who are rebuilding around Allen and senior guard Kate Cole after seasons of 18-7, 23-4 and 21-8.
“After losing three straight, we really needed this,” Allen said. “It’s a bit of a confidence boost for everyone. If we run our offense and talk on defense, we can win our share.”
Allen’s phenomenal game carried the Cougars. She matched her career high with 20 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, dished out five assists and made six steals.
Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer promised in the preseason that Allen could and would play all five positions for the Cougars, and she did that. She defended the post, but she also brought the ball down the floor against pressure and made three 3-pointers.
“Alex is just a really smart player,” A.L. Brown coach Michael Wolford said. “She knows how to use her body inside. She can read a defense and if someone gets a half-step out of position, she takes advantage and makes a play.”
Megan Gray, a senior who’s mostly about defense, also was instrumental in Carson’s win.
Gray drew a charging foul — the fifth personal — on Aitana Grant, the Wonders’ most dangerous player, and got her off the floor with 2:28 left in the game.
Then when Cole missed a free throw with 1:13 remaining, it was Gray who swooped in for the stickback that pushed a shaky 46-43 Carson lead to 48-43.
Kyla Downs, who drove for 14 points, and Talethia Alexander, who knocked down four 3s for her 12 points, provided the scoring punch for the Wonders (1-2).
The Wonders led 15-10 after a quarter and led 27-20 before Clark scored the last six points of the first half.
“We did a horrible job of transition defense in the first half, they were getting some easy ones, and that’s what we talked about at halftime,” Misenheimer said. “We did a much better job in the third quarter.”
Carson held the Wonders to three points in the third — with those coming on another bomb by Alexander.
“It was good to see her shoot the ball the way she did,” Wolford said. “We needed her with Aitana in foul trouble all night. I don’t know if she played more than five minutes total, and that really hurt us.”
Gray scored to start the second half, a bucket that put the Cougars ahead to stay.
Back-to-back 3s by Allen stretched Carson’s lead to seven, and Sydney Huffman’s basket off an Allen assist put the Cougars ahead 38-30 going to the fourth quarter.
“We made some shots tonight after not being able to throw it in the ocean last week,” Misenheimer.
The Wonders got within three several times down the stretch, but Gray’s stickback was huge, and Allen and Cole went 4-for-4 at the foul line late in the game.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Carson,” Wolford said. “We had a good size advantage, but they were still able to outrebound us. They played a lot more focused game than we did.”
Carson plays at Salisbury Wednesday, while the Wonders go to South Rowan.
A.L. BROWN (48) — Downs 14, Alexander 12, Grant 7, Vernon 6, Kituku 5, Stanback 4, Rogers, Howard, McCoy, Chrismon.
CARSON (53) — Allen 20, Cole 8, Clark 8, McClary 5, Gray 5, Jackson 4, Huffman 3, VanVoorhis.

A.L. Brown 15 12 3 18 — 48
Carson 10 16 12 15 — 53