Gadson leads Carson girls past Cox Mill
By Marny Hendrick
CHINA GROVE — The last time the Carson and Cox Mill girls played back in January, the Cougars fell 34-30 in what Coach Brooke Misenheimer called, “a really ugly game.”
But the much improved and finally healthy Carson girls closed out the regular season Friday night at home with a solid 48-36 payback win over the Chargers. The win secured the third place in the South Piedmont Conference for the league tournament that opens Monday night.
Carson (14-10, 10-8 SPC) overcame a slow start by using a pressing defense and rapid transition game to build a 23-14 working margin by halftime. Guard Olivia Gabriel and freshman forward McKenzie Gadson sparked the team on both ends of the court, harassing Cox Mill (7-17, 7-11 SPC) with eight first half steals and holding the visitors scoreless for the final four minutes of the quarter.
“We have been preaching defense all along, ” Misenheimer said. “Even when we have had our struggles on offense this season, we tried to get our girls to buy in that defense really does win games. We did a really good job of making the other team work tonight”
Gadson ( 18 points) had a steal and two fast break baskets in the third quarter as Carson maintained a 36-24 lead. “We knew how badly we played against them last time,” Gadson said. ” So we had to step it up on defense to try and get steals and stops and easy lay-ups.”
Carson ended the game with a dozen steals and a lot of transition baskets and that was not lost on Cox Mill coach Moses Smith. “We just could not get comfortable tonight,” Smith said. “We kept getting beat back on defense and they outplayed us and out-hustled us. It was just one of those nights where we were not in synch.”
The Cougars were especially effective in fronting the Charger’s 6-1 center Christa Hill who came in averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds. She did score 12 but was held to just five boards as the Cougars controlled the glass. Carson’s Anne Marie Turney grabbed 12 rebounds while Gadson had 11. Gabriel had six steals and 13 points for the Cougars.
Cox Mill (36) — Hill 12, Rinkus 6, Barker 5, Haney 4, Smith 3, Wilson 3, Surratt 2, Stafford 1, Gonzalez, Sandrini.
Carson (48) — Gadson 18, Gabriel 13, Ketchie 6, Wiggins 5, Taylor 2, Turney 2, Shumaker 2.
Cox Mill 7 7 10 12 — 36
Carson 8 15 13 12 — 48