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Carson boys defeat Chargers behind Hairston

By Marny Hendrick

sports@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — The Carson players did not really want to call it an upset but their inspired 71-60 victory over favored Cox Mill Friday night was definitely in the signature win category .

Closing out the South Piedmont conference regular season at home on Senior night, the Cougars stunned Cox Mill (18-6, 13-5 SPC) with a strong fourth quarter and the one-two scoring punch of underclassmen Jamarious Hairston (27 points) and diminutive guard Jailen Williams (19).

“For our seniors we had to come out  and end the regular season on a big note, ” said Hairston, a 6-3 sophomore who scored both inside and outside while pulling down 8 rebounds. “So we tried to win it for them. We know we are really good at home so we grabbed the momentum and played a great game.”

The Cougars (13-11, 9-9 SPC) jumped on the Chargers early for a 16-6 lead but as expected the Charger roared back on the long range shooting of Ethan Goude and the inside muscle of 6-5 freshman phenom Wendall Moore and 6-3 Jonathan Earl. The Chargers trailed by five at the half  as Moore sat for a long time with two fouls. But they battled back in the third period and caught Carson at 44-44 with about two minutes left in the third.

Cox Mill actually surged ahead 51-47 as the fourth quarter opened but Hairston scored inside twice, Williams hit a layup then fed Owen White for a dunk. When Hairston nailed a three bucket at 4:16 remaining, Carson was up 60-52 and on their way to a 22-9 advantage in the final quarter. The play that best symbolized the game came next when the 5-6 Williams found himself isolated at the top of the key with the 6-5 Moore guarding him. A couple of jukes and a crossover dribble later, Williams blew past Moore for an easy lay-up.

“I knew he was in foul trouble,” said Williams with a grin,” so I figured I would attack him and try to get out. We went into this game thinking if we played to our full potential we could beat them.”

Carson Coach Brian Perry was highly complimentary of his sophomore guard Williams for the way he played defgense, uased his speed and fearlessly attacked the basket against much bigger players. “When you have a kid that plays as hard as he does and puts it all on the line, good things are going to happen.” Perry said. “I thought we did a really good job of keeping our composure at the end of the game tonight.”

The Cougars were handicapped from the outset as one of their star inside threats, Brenden Westbrook was out with an illness. But senior Ryan Bearden, White and Hairston battled inside against the taller Chargers as Carson held a 28-22 rebounding edge. “Hopefully this gives us a big push going into the conference tournament next week and the state-playoffs,” said Bearden, one of only two seniors on the Carson team along with Grayson Whicker. “We played a total game tonight. Everybody was active and did a good job.”

Following Hairston and Williams in scoring, White had 10 and Cameron Prugh nailed a pair of threes for six points. Cox Mill was led by Earl with 20 and Moore, despite foul troubles, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Goude added 11 mostly from long range.

The Cougars will open SPC tournament play as the fifth seed against Hickory Ridge next Tuesday at JM Robinson high. The semi-finals and finals of the tournament will be at Cox Mill concluding on Friday.

“To be as young as we are, hopefully at this time of year we are getting better,” Perry said. “I am hoping we can make a little run here starting next week.”

Cox Mill (60) — Earl 20, Moore 12, Goude 11, Baptiste 6, Stone-Carrawell 5, Noone 2, Sio 2, Malit 2, Cody Cline, Cory Cline.

Carson (71) — Hairston 27,  Williams 19, White 10,  Prugh 6, Banks 5, Bearden 2, Whicker 2.

Cox Mill    12  15  24  9 — 60

Carson   16   16  17  22 — 71

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