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Prep Basketball: Carson’s Gabriel attends elite camp

Staff report

Carson junior Olivia Gabriel attended the John Lucas Girls Top 160 Camp in early September.
The two-day, invitation-only camp in Houston consisted of skill sessions, competitive drills, measurements and rankings, as well as organized games. In those games, Carson’s 5-foot-4 point guard had a chance to play with and against some of the country’s most highly regarded players.
Lucas, a point guard who came out of Durham and starred at Maryland in the early 1970s, was a No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and had a 14-year NBA career.
The goal of Lucas’ camp was to give girls the opportunity to be evaluated by recruiters and to increase their visibility. The database generated by the camp is available for college coaches.
Atlantic South Basketball also is high on Gabriel. Atlantic South rated Gabriel as one of the best 20 players in the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, which featured some of the top players from the Carolinas and Virginia.
Gabriel averaged 13.0 points as a freshman for Carson and also averaged 4.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
As a sophomore, she averaged 15.7 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds. Her shooting percentages improved from the field and from the foul line, with her biggest jump coming from the 3-point line where she improved her accuracy from 19 to 33 percent.
Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said the stat sheet told only part of the growth story.
“She had an exceptional season,” Misenheimer said. “She really grew as a leader for us, making good decisions, getting her teammates involved. She’s a talented scorer, but the key for her is how much she keeps improving as a floorleader and on the things that college coaches want their point guards to be able to do. That’s running the team, seeing the open man, making the right pass — and defending.”
Gabriel has quickness and made strides defensively as well as offensively as a sophomore. She increased her steals dramatically, while cutting her personal fouls in half.
Gabriel will enter her junior season with 749 career points. That’s already fifth on Carson’s all-time list. Carson has had three 1,000-point scorers in Kelly Dulkoski, Allison Blackwell and Alex Allen. Chloe Monroe is No. 4 all-time. She scored 856.
“Olivia is probably going to reach 1,000 points early in her junior year, and that really is a great accomplishment,” Misenheimer said.
Carson was 12-13 in 2014-15, Gabriel’s freshman year, and went 9-7 for fourth place in the South Piedmont Conference.
With the addition of long, athletic McKenzie Gadson, who already is drawing recruiting interest, Carson was 16-12 overall last season and was 10-8 in the SPC to tie for third place.
Gabriel’s 2015-16 season included a school-record 39 points in a 69-62 win against South Rowan and she topped 20 points in seven other games. She pulled down nine rebounds twice, and she had season highs of seven assists and seven steals.
Misenheimer has almost her entire roster back, the jayvee team was good last season, and there also are talented freshmen on board. So it could be a special year for the Cougars.
Carson will begin official practice on Oct. 31. Carson is scheduled to open the season against A.L. Brown on Nov. 17.

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