High school basketball: Carson girls still alive
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — The height for the Carson girls basketball team is provided by 6-foot junior Mary Spry, and she went down in the first minute of Thursday’s second-round playoff game with an ankle injury.
There’s never a good night to lose Spry, but this one was especially tough. Carson’s backup post player is Jaden Vaughn, who is sidelined with a COVID situation, and Cuthbertson was the opponent. Cuthberson, from Waxhaw, is extra tall, with three girls in the 6-foot range in the starting lineup and another tall one coming off the bench.
Still, third-seeded Carson won again, taking a 48-40 victory to improve to 16-0. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s survive-and-advance at this point.
“It was mismatch city out there — we were so undersized without Mary,” Carson head coach Brooke Stouder said. “Kary Hales, all 5-foot-3 of her was guarding a 6-foot post player.”
A great start helped the Cougars. Colbie Perry and Ellie Wilhelm made two 3-pointers apiece and the Cougars led 20-14 after a quarter.
Carson stretched its lead to 33-20 at halftime.
But sixth-seeded Cuthbertson (14-2) made a strong comeback in the third quarter.
“They were not only big, they were very solid on defense,” Stouder said. “It was a struggle for us to score.”
Carson hadn’t had to use its delay game all season, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have one. The Cougars were able to work the clock in the fourth quarter, made some free throws and hung on.
Carson made only four field goals in the second half and didn’t make a 3-pointer after halftime.
“Just a lot of defense, a great team defensive effort,” Stouder said. “Hannah Isley did a great job of defending their point guard.”
Colbie Perry scored 17 and had four steals, while Isley had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Ellie Wilhelm scored nine, and Carleigh Perry scored seven in what was, by far, Carson’s lowest-scoring game of the year. Carson’s previously low on offense was 56 points in a running-clock game at Davie.
Maddie Dillinger scored 18 for Cuthbertson. Reagan Iovino had 14.
Carson has equaled the longest winning streak in program history. The Cougars won their first 16 outings in 2018-19 before losing to Statesville.
Next for Carson is a road trip to the mountains to play second-seeded Enka(15-1) at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Enka’s loss was to North Buncombe. Enka beat Charlotte Catholic 47-43 on Thursday.
Carson lost 60-58 to Enka last season in the third round in China Grove. Enka still has Emily Carver, a special guard who averages 22.7 points per game. Hadleigh Dill (5-foot-11) averages 16.7, while Bentlee Chockley averages 15.9.
Enka is in the Asheville area, about 140 miles from China Grove.
CUTHBERTSON (40) — Dillinger 18, Iovino 14, Gallagher 2, Williams 2, Sacoto 2, Shears 2.
CARSON (48) — Co. Perry 17, H. Isley 13, Wilhelm 9, Ca. Perry 7, L. Isley 2, Hales, Spry.
Cuthbertson 20 13 9 6 — 48
Carson 12 8 16 4 — 40