The Laws of the paint
CHINA GROVE — With Carson cruising after three quarters Tuesday against South Rowan, Cougar big man Colton Laws took over to finish things off.
Laws knocked down a pair of free throws before hitting back-to-back contested shots in the paint to open the fourth. The senior capped the scoring out-burst with two huge offensive rebounds and a put-back as Carson put the finishing touches on a bounce-back 57-38 triumph.
“It was a big win for us, especially coming off the loss to West. We definitely wanted to get after it,” Laws said. “I thought we played good as a team and everyone knew their role.
“In the first half, I was trying to get the ball down low and kick it out for the open look,” he continued. “That’s what I was looking for until the fourth quarter when I starting getting some and-1’s.”
Laws led all scorers with 19 points — 11 of which came in the final frame.
The fourth-quarter spurt capped a convincing performance for the Cougars, who jumped out to a 28-12 halftime advantage on their home floor and never looked back.
“This was a huge win for us,” Carson head coach Brian Perry explained. “I don’t think we’ve been playing really well at home. We got beat last week by West Rowan and Kannapolis, so we really needed to come out and play a good game at home.”
“We were defending well early. Some of their shots weren’t falling, which helped us get out into transition.”
After blowing a 14-point halftime lead in a 65-62 loss to A.L. Brown last Monday, Perry ensured his team “kept their composure and finished it up” Tuesday.
“We’ve had a couple games this year where we’ve been up 12 or 14 at halftime and had a let-down in the second half,” he said. “But I thought we came out in the second half and played well in the beginning.
“They made a little run to cut it down to 13, but we got our composure, got some stops and finished it up. I was really happy about that.”
After only managing six points in each of the first two quarters, South showed the first real sign of life in the third and reeled off seven in a row to trim the deficit down to 32-19.
But after a quick timeout, Carson regrouped and closed the stanza on an 8-3 charge to take a 40-22 edge to the fourth.
South head coach Bryan Withers summed up the disappointing loss simply — “we just don’t like each other.”
“I’ll take full credit for not having us ready. But the more I watch our team, they more I say ‘we don’t like each other,’” he explained. “We will not make a play to save the other guy. We won’t pass to the open man.
“Until we get that out of our system of being an individual and wanting to be the high scorer instead of wanting to play as a team, we can’t be any good,” Withers continued. “We don’t have the athletes and the basketball players to do a whole lot of 1-on-1.
“I’m going to take credit for that, but I’m going to change it.”
Qwan Rhyne paced the Raiders with 16 points, while Shawn Spry added 11. Christian Holbrook pitched in with five.
Lavon Hill returned to the lineup but only managed two points on the night.
Carson improved to 5-2 on the year with the win, notching its third South Piedmont Conference victory in the process.
South fell to 2-5 and 0-4 in the conference.
The Cougars rebound quickly against Salisbury tonight in China Grove. Carson won the first meeting between the teams last week, 67-55.
“We have to be ready for today with Salisbury coming here,” Perry said. “It was good to play well at home; we’ll have to play well again at home tomorrow to beat Salisbury. But it feels good to get this win.”
The Raiders return home Thursday against Central Cabarrus looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
SOUTH (38) — Rhyne 16, Spry 11, Holbrook 5, Hill 2, Rary 2, Wilder 2, Finger 2, Stewart, Goldston, Littlejohn, Childers
CARSON (57) — Laws 19, Williams 12, McCain 9, Rucker 8, Hogue 4, Herron 3, Hower 2, Raper, Isom
S. Rowan 6 6 10 16 — 38
Carson 11 17 12 17 — 57