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Prep girls basketball: Carson girls rally for win over Falcons

Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

MOUNT ULLA — Down eight points in the middle of the third quarter, the Carson girls stormed back to beat West Rowan, 62-58, Tuesday night in the West gym.
Sophomore McKenzie Gadson was sensational in the South Piedmont Conference struggle, and kept Carson in it.
Junior Olivia Gabriel was the finisher. Both girls scored 18 points.
“At the end of the game, Olivia was a really good point guard,” Carson coach Brooke Misenheimer said. “She did everything we needed.”
Carson also got four 3-pointers and 15 points from Destiny Jackson, who is back from knee injuries and contributed the second-best game of her career.
“This game is going to give her some confidence,” Misenheimer said.
Egypt Alexander was outstanding in the paint for the Falcons (1-1, 0-1 SPC), scoring 23 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Freshman Abigail Wilson scored 14 for West, while Mary Sobataka had 13 before fouling out late.
Jackson hit two 3-pointers as Carson took a 15-12 lead after a quarter, but West dominated the second quarter with a pair of 3-pointers by Sobataka and a flurry of rebounds by Wilson.
A stick-back by Wilson put the Falcons ahead, 26-20, at the break.
“We were lucky to be down only six,” Misenheimer said. “We couldn’t make a layup, and not only did we miss our layups, we didn’t get any of the rebounds.”
The rebounding situation changed immediately after halftime. Carson got five shots on its first possession before Gadson finally drew a foul.
Still, after a Sobataka 3-pointer, a paint bucket by Wilson and two free throws by Alexander, West, the defending champion in the SPC, led 37-29, and appeared to be in command midway through the third.
That’s when Maren Shumaker sparked a Carson comeback. All of her six points came in a flurry, and Carson was back even at 43-all after three quarters.
A banked 3-pointer by Jackson from the right side opened the fourth quarter, and after a couple of athletic buckets by Gadson, the Cougars had a sudden, five-point lead.
Alexander kept scoring, but Carson led, 54-51, with three minutes left. That’s when Misenheimer called on Gabriel to take the wheel down the stretch.
“Coach always wants me to be the leader and my teammates were looking for me to lead,” Gabriel said.
Good defense by West forced Gabriel to drive to her left, but she got to the rim and finished in traffic for a five-point lead as the clock ticked under three minutes.
“Teams try to force me left,” Gabriel said. “But I can go either way.”
A steal and a spinning layup by Sobataka pulled the Falcons within 56-55 with 2:03 remaining, but on the game’s biggest possession, Gabriel dribbled patiently and then fed Jackson for a layup with 1:45 on the clock for a 58-55 lead.
“We were looking for nothing but free throws or an easy layup,” Gabriel said. “And I saw Destiny wide open.”
Miyanah Pruitt made a free throw for West, but the Falcons had to chase and foul Gabriel with 53 seconds to go, and she calmly made two at the line for a 60-56 lead.
After Alexander wheeled into the lane for two more points for West, Gabriel split two free throws for a 61-58 lead.
Then Jackson came up with a loose ball and made a clinching free throw for a four-point lead for the Cougars (4-1, 3-1 SPC) with 11 seconds left.
“It’s a good road win for us,” Misenheimer said. “West is good. They shot it well and they crashed the boards hard on us in the first half.”
But it was Carson that did a better job of getting second-chance points in the second half.
“We did a lot to beat ourselves,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “Too many turnovers and not enough rebounds. We’ve just got to learn from the mistakes we made tonight. As long as we learn, we’ll be fine.”

CARSON (62)
Gabriel 18, Gadson 18, Jackson 15, Shumaker 6, Turney 5, Taylor, Furr, Jolly, Cooper, Fesperman, Stret, Wiggins, Ketchie.
WEST (58)
Alexander 23, Wilson 14, Sobataka 13, Pruitt 3, Vaughters 3, Robinson 2, Hillie.

Carson 15 5 23 19 — 62
West Rowan 12 14 17 15 — 58

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