Rondell Carson leads Millionaires past GAR

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette G.A.R.'s Kahlil White (23) is sandwiched between Williamsport's Rondell Carson (33) and Drian Duvall (00) on a rebound during the first quarter.

Rondell Carson stole the ball, then started a fastbreak opportunity. He was nearly 90 feet from Williamsport’s basket when the sequence started, but sprinted downcourt and tipped in the miss.

Those who have watched Carson play the last three years have grown accustomed to seeing Carson make those hustling plays that reveal his ferocious competitiveness and can break an opponent’s will. But Carson showed them more than just determination Tuesday against visiting Wilkes-Barre GAR.

He showed them he is more than just a relentless worker. Carson showed them he is quite a basketball player, period.

Carson scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Williamsport to a 70-54 win. Carson consistently displayed impressive post moves and aggressively attacked the basket, repeatedly answering any time GAR threatened in the second half as Williamsport (4-1) won its fourth straight game.

“He is a warrior,” Williamsport coach Allen Taylor said. “That’s one thing he will never disappoint you with is lack of effort. You can always depend on the effort.”

“I feel like being a senior I can step up and play a big part offensively and defensively and do the dirty work that we need to get done to win,” Carson said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better. I can dribble better now and I can shoot a little bit. My game has evolved a lot.”

GAR knows that all too well. The player the Millionaires call Tone set the tone, scoring five of the game’s first seven points and grabbing six first-quarter rebounds. Williamsport led by as many as 22 in the third quarter, but GAR cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth. That just gave Carson another chance to shine. The 6-foot-3 forward repeatedly feasted inside, scoring eight fourth-quarter points.

During one stretch in that final quarter, Carson scored eight of Williamsport’s 10 points and helped push the lead to 20. He scored off putbacks, drives, with a pretty hook shot and with a short jumper. GAR really had no answer and Williamsport looks like it has a new weapon to complement dynamic Stanley Scott and leading scorer Qayyim Ali who did not play last night, but who returns Friday at Scranton Prep.

Carson, who also wore out 6-7 center Herman Suazo and eventually fouled him out, often practiced at the gym early in the morning throughout the summer. All that hard work is paying big dividends.

“That was Tone’s breakout. He’s used to cleaning up the glass and getting things in transition but I was very pleased with some of the offensive moves we made once we got him the ball inside,” Williamsport coach Allen Taylor said. “He was a little more patient and he used his athletic ability to score over the top. I’m expecting big things from him, especially as we develop better chemistry and get to work more on skill set and a better understanding of what he can do to help the team to be more successful.”

“When I was a sophomore starting in varsity I was just more of a defensive person,” Carson said. “Now I’m trying to incorporate it all into one package. It’s working out pretty good now.”

Scott complemented Carson and also recorded a double-double. The senior who can play multiple positions facilitated the offense well in the first half, then scored 18 second-half points. Scott finished with a season-high 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Together, he and Carson scored 18 fourth-quarter points as Williamsport pulled away.

Just as important was the performance of players who are receiving their first significant taste of varsity basketball. On a night when two starters were out, Williamsport needed other players to emerge and they did. Al-Tamar Jason played his best game, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds. Darryl Wilson dealt a team-high five assists and grabbed four rebounds while Brian Duvall added seven rebounds and made two emphatic blocks.

“Al-Tamar played a very good game. He was struggling as far as confidence and tonight he did a lot of good things,” Taylor said. “He was rebounding, getting nice tips, he hit a couple nice shots, made good passes and got after it defensively. We had different guys come through and hopefully we build on this because our next game won’t be anything like this game because Scranton Prep is legit.”

Williamsport never trailed, but GAR trailed just 13-11 after a quarter. The Millionaires then opened the second quarter on a 15-0 run as they moved the ball well and set each other up for good shots. Five different Millionaires scored in the second quarter and Williamsport built a 31-16 halftime lead that it extended to 22 on a Scott steal and dish to Jason early in the third quarter.

“We have to play better,” Carson said. “We didn’t have two of our starters which was big, but we came through.”

Carson led the way.

GAR (54)

Will Johnson 10 6-10 26, Herman Suazo 2 0-0 4, Andrew Campbell 4 0-0 9, Anthony Hawk 4 0-2 8, Khalil White 1 2-2 5, Eli Ruiz 0 0-1 0. Totals 22 8-15 54.

WILLIAMSPORT (70)

Stanley Scott 9 5-5 24, Darryl Wilson 2 4-4 8, Rondell Carson 10 4-6 24, Al-Tamar Jason 4 0-0 8, Ethen Stryker 2 0-0 4, Brian Duvall 1 0-0 2, Marcus Simmons 0 0-0 0, Brandon Campbell 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 13-15 70.

GAR    11 5 22 16–54

Williamsport    15 16 17 22–70

3-pointers: GAR 2 (Campbell, White); Williamsport 1 (Scott).

Records: Williamsport 4-1. GAR 2-1.

JV Score: Williamsport 56-32 High Scorer: Eric Smith, W, 19

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