The big man in the middle of the William Chrisman High School basketball team enjoyed a solid debut to the 2016-17 season.
But it wasn’t quite enough to help the Bears get past the visitors from St. Joseph Central as the Indians claimed a 52-43 victory before an enthusiastic crowd at Chrisman Tuesday night.
Junior Daniel Carson scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 boards, but the Indians’ perimeter defense was too much for the Bears, who never really got in sync offensively from outside of the paint.
“I’m disappointed in the outcome, because our players worked hard tonight and I would have liked to have seen them win the first game this season,” Chrisman coach Don Cameron said, “but I was not disappointed with the effort.
“Daniel had an outstanding game inside, and we need to develop an inside/outside game to take some of the defensive pressure off him under the basket. And I think that will come. I was excited to watch Daniel’s performance and I think we have a team that is going to get better as the season goes on. We have some young players and (6-foot-5 forward) Connor Ruch is a senior, who didn’t play last year.
“I think you’re going to see a much different team around January and February. We’re going to be playing our best basketball when the games mean the most.”
When asked about his dominating performance, Carson, a highly recruited football player and track standout, grinned.
“I was very excited to play our first game, and I know we’re going to get better each time we play,” said Carson, who was among the top 10 semifinalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is given to the top lineman or linebacker in the Kansas City metro area. “I know we’re going to get better offensively. I need to kick the ball back out sometimes, so we can get some good outside looks. When we start hitting from the outside, we’re going to win a lot of games because we’re a hard-working team and we really like each other and do a lot of things together away from the game.”
While prep basketball games are 32 minutes, this one was decided in a 2:05 span at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter.
In the final 51 seconds of the first quarter, with the score tied 11-11, Indians guard Jaiden Bristol hit a layup and 3-pointer to give St. Joseph Central a 15-11 lead going into the second quarter. Samson Holcomb came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin that period and before the Bears knew what hit them, the Indians had a 24-15 lead (Carson hit four free throws to account for the Chrisman second-quarter points).
“That was a big part of the win,” said Central coach Cy Musser, after his Indians improved to 2-0. “Samson came off the bench and hit those threes, and we were able to get a nice lead. The Chrisman kids played hard and we needed to play a complete game to win, but I would agree that the last minute and first minute or so of the second period were big.”
Bristol, who had to leave the game twice with a bloody nose after grabbing a loose ball under the basket against Carson, said the Indians outside game played a big role in the victory.
“We knew if we hit some outside shots early, it would open things up inside,” said Bristol, who led the Indians with 15 points. “We scored some big inside baskets late in the game.”
Reserve A.J. Redman hit three layups in the final 4:21 as the Indians went to a four-corner stall offense, waiting for the lane to open for the easy inside basket.
“A.J. is just a freshman and he did a really nice job tonight,” Musser said. “Overall, I was really happy with the way we played tonight. It will make the bus ride home a lot happier.”