Girls basketball: Wonders edge Carson to stay unbeaten

Published 12:48 am Thursday, December 11, 2014

KANNAPOLIS —A.L. Brown girls coach Mike Wolford found out his team can handle late-game pressure, and Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer learned her team’s feistiness didn’t leave town just because Jordy Clark and Megan Gray graduated.

A.L. Brown beat Carson 53-51 on Wednesday mostly because Aitana Grant scored 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter. Grant showed she’s not only talented — she’s clutch.

Carson had a chance to win down to the last second because freshman Olivia Gabriel scored 20 points and because Alex Allen scored 17 and pulled down rebound after rebound.

The first half was ordinary. Carson (3-4) looked tired and turned it over, and the Wonders (5-0), who had won by 35, 25 and 15 in their previous three outings,  cruised to a 28-22 halftime lead.

“We did not play well in the first half,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “We knew we were fortunate to still be in the game.”

Allen has scored almost 900 points in her career but didn’t make a field goal in the first half. Misenheimer knew if the senior got untracked it might get interesting.

The second half began with a bucket by Allen and a 3-pointer by Micah Furr. That’s when the pace picked up, and a tremendous game unfolded.

When Allen hit a jumper late in the third quarter, Carson led by five. The Cougars took a 37-34 lead to the final eight minutes.

Gabriel, who made 10 free throws in the game, combined with Allen for all of Carson’s points in the fourth quarter.

Grant is respected for her driving ability more than her outside shooting, but she hit two critical 3s in the fourth quarter. The first one gave the Wonders a 41-39 lead. Her second 3-pointer provided a 50-48 lead with under two minutes left.

“The gameplan was to stay in front of her, to take away the drive, but she hit two huge shots for them,” Misenheimer said.

Kyla Downs gave the Wonders a 52-49 lead with a driving bank shot, but the lead was 52-51 after Gabriel made two free throws with 48 seconds remaining.

Sascha McCoy made a free throw with 33 seconds left for a two-point A.L. Brown  lead.

Furr had a good look at a 3-pointer from the left corner late, but she was a bit short, and Downs skied for the rebound for the Wonders with 5.9 seconds left.

Esther Kituku was fouled with 4.4 seconds left and  missed the front end of a one-and-one. Gabriel pushed the ball down the floor, but Wolford had wisely put four players back to set his defense and the Cougars couldn’t get a shot up before time expired.

“I think their experience won out over our inexperience,” Misenheimer said. “But it was a great non-conference game for us — a very big positive.”


CARSON (51): Gabriel 20, Allen 17, Furr 8, Huffman 4, Ketchie 2, Wiggins, Shumaker, Roberson.

A.L. BROWN (53): Grant 18, Downs 12, Alexander 6, Stanback 6, McCoy 5, Kituku 4, Howard 2 .

Carson              8     14   15   14 — 51

A.L. Brown      13   15    6   19 — 53