Boys basketball: Carson wins on Whicker’s buzzer-beating 3

Published 12:33 am Saturday, December 6, 2014

CHINA GROVE —Carson’s Grayson Whicker picked a remarkable time to score his first varsity basketball points.  The junior guard calmly drained a three point jumper at the buzzer Friday night to rally the Cougars past Salisbury High 51-50.

“It felt good the whole way,” Whicker said. “I thought it was in and it went in. I had not played the whole game then coach put me in at the end. I came in with confidence and knocked it down.”

Whicker’s shot and another clutch bomb  by Jamarius Harrison a few seconds earlier wiped out a five point Hornet lead with 15.5 seconds left and sent the home crowed into a frenzy. Three steals in the final minute by Salisbury  led to  baskets by Deshawn Troutman and DJ Alexander that gave the Hornets (5-2) a seemingly comfortable lead at 50-45 with 15 seconds left. But Hairston drained his long three with 8 seconds remaining to cut it to 50-48.  Troutman then went to the line with 4.5 seconds left to try and ice it for the Hornets. But the ball came off the front of the rim and was tapped out of bounds to Carson.

The inbounds pass went to mid-court then straight to Whicker at the left elbow.He turned and drained the 20 foot jumper just as the final horn sounded. Then he had to survive the mob that pounced on him to celebrate.Whicker had not played in the second half until the final sequence when Carson Coach Brian Perry inserted him because of his shooting touch.

“We have been talking about finding Grayson some more minutes because he is one of our better three point shooters,” Perry said. “He came off the bench cold and cold bloodily knocked it down.”

The Cougars (3-2) jumped to an 11-5 lead in the first period before Salisbury started dominating the boards behind the 6-4 Alexander and Wes Fazia (6-7). Troutman’s put-back then a three pointer pushed the Hornets ahead at the half 25-24, The tight contest was tied three times in the third period before the Hornets managed to build a 3 to 5 point margin in the final quarter. But it still was not enough to hold off the Cougars in the end.

“That was a tough one there,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said afterwards. “We worked way to hard to lose that game. I thought we worked incredibly hard to grind out a win tonight but we left the door open for them in the final two minutes. What else can you say?”

In addition to Whicker’s heroics, Carson had a balanced attack with nine players scoring. Jonathan Rucker and Marquez McCain had 10 each to lead the way while guard Jacob Raper had nine and played a strong defensive game on the perimeter. Troutman had 16 to lead the Hornets while junior forward Alexander had a dominating performance inside with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Perry feels the dramatic win will be a big plus for his young team. “We found out anything can happen at the end of the game,” he said. “That is why you play the whole 32 minutes. Our last two games have taught us a lot of lessons. I am excited to see how this team can grow in the next couple of weeks.”


SALISBURY (50): Troutman 16, Alexander 15, Fazia 7, Oats 4, Williams 3, Rayner 3, A. Yang, 2, Leckonby.

CARSON (51): Rucker 10, McCain 10, Raper 9, Hairston 6, Westbrook 5, Whicker 3, Herron 3, Bearden 3, Isom 2,  Hogue.

Salisbury 5 20 15 10 — 50

Carson 11 13 13 14 — 51