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High school basketball: West girls top Carson in 2 overtimes

Staff report
CHINA GROVE — Carson’s girls got career games from Ellie Wilhelm and Hannah Isley.
West Rowan still won 70-67 in a wild North Piedmont Conference contest that went two overtimes on Friday.
Abigail Wilson poured in 34 for the Falcons, who are now tied with Carson and East Rowan for first place.
“Great game to see if you were a spectator,” Carson coach Brooke Stouder said. “But kind of a crazy game for us with untimely turnovers and missed free throws.”
West already had beaten Carson (15-3, 3-1) in the Christmas tournament championship game, ending a long run of futility against the Cougars.
But West (15-2, 3-1) went into Friday’s road game with a lot of uncertainty about where the season was headed following a lopsided loss to Lake Norman on Wednesday. West trailed that one 24-0 after a quarter. Lake Norman is good, but that’s insane. West had won against Lake Norman at home.
“Games like we had Wednesday are hard to explain,” West coach Ashley Poole said. “But there’s nothing you can do about a bad game except let it go, and we did a good job of putting it behind us. That’s the good thing about having a lot of seniors. They know what they need to do.”
Poole didn’t have to say too much to get her team back on track. West’s five senior starters had never won at Carson, and they were well aware this might be their last chance to do so.
Wilson scored 20 in the first half as the Falcons took a 31-21 lead.
“We haven’t had an answer for her in the two games we’ve played them,” Stouder said. “You have to love the way she plays and you have to respect her game. She’s a great player and we’ve got to figure out a way to do a better job against her. She got a lot of rebounds. West killed us with second and third shots.”
West was still in firm control after three quarters against a Carson team that was enduring a cold shooting night. It was 44-31 at that point.
But then Wilhelm and Isley got really hot.
Wilhelm scored 12 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter. She made three 3-pointers in the quarter. Isley had eight of her 21 in the quarter, including two 3-balls.
Carson went from 13 points down to six points up in a hurry. Carson was even stopping Wilson, who had only two points in the fourth quarter.
But Carson couldn’t finish off the Falcons. They left the door open with foul line misses and turnovers. West inched its way back to 56-all at the end of regulation.
“We never lost confidence,” Poole said. “It didn’t look good, but we talk about staying the course. That’s what we did.”
Wilhelm made another 3-pointer in the first overtime to put Carson ahead, but Whitley Arnott, who doesn’t shoot many 3s, made a big one for the Falcons to put West up 62-61.
Arnott, who scored 13, made two free throws for a 64-61 lead, but Carleigh Perry, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds, made a 3-pointer for the Cougars that forced a second overtime.
Arnott, who had only one point at halftime, made more plays in the second overtime. This time West held on.
“We had a lot of quality possessions at the end,” Poole said. “Taking time off the clock and still scoring.”
Wilson’s defense was as much of a factor as her offense. Poole credited her with stopping Carson’s Colbie Perry, a streaky shooter, who was held to one point.
Wilhelm turned in an efficient and phenomenal game — 4-for-5 on 2s, 4-for-7 on 3s and 3-for-3 on free throws, six rebounds — but it wasn’t enough.
“I was super-proud of the run we made in the fourth quarter,” Stouder said. “But we’ve got to play with a sense of urgency earlier than that. Rebounding hurt us. Rebounding and the foul line were the difference.”
Carson was 8-for-17 at the foul line, with five misses in the fourth quarter.
West was 11-for-20 on free throws. Arnott was 6-for-8.
“It’s an important win,” Poole said. “This keeps us in the hunt.”
•••
NOTES: West plays at East on Jan. 31 and hosts Carson on Feb. 11. East has beaten West in the league, while Carson has beaten East. … Wilson made two 3-pointers. She’s averaging 26.9 points per game and is up to 1,970  points for her career. The school record is Ayana Avery’s 1,995. … Cindy Connolly made 3s for the Falcons in the first and fourth quarters. … Carleigh Perry had four buckets in the first quarter for the Cougars.
WEST (70) — Wilson 34, Arnott 13, Connolly 8, Poole 6, Cuthbertson 6, Blabon 3, Haggas.
CARSON (67) — Wilhelm 23, H. Isley 21, Ca. Perry 15, Post 4, Cooper 2, L. Isley 1. Co. Perry 1, Conrad, White.
W. Rowan   15   16   13  12   8  6  — 70
Carson        14    7     10  25  8   3  — 67

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