Carder reaches 1,000-point milestone
SARANAC LAKE — The North Country Community College women’s basketball team is continuing its impressive run and sophomore Kayla Carder is rolling right along with her Saints teammates.
On Wednesday at home, the Saints notched their ninth win in a row and Carder surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau in a 83-47 victory over Fulton Montgomery Community College. Carder, a junior college All-American and graduate of Northeastern Clinton, entered the game needing four points to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Carder picked up her first two points of the evening on a layup during opening quarter that saw the Saints roar out to a 33-7 lead over the Raiders. The talented forward then knocked down her 999th and 1,000th points in a North Country uniform 1:16 into the second period when she collected an offensive rebound and gently lofted the put-back shot over a defender and into the basket.
Carder became only the second player in the history of the NCCC women’s basketball program to reach 1,000 points. Mary Powers was the first to achieve the feat when she played for the Saints from 1988 to 1990 and still holds the women’s career scoring record at the school with 1,147 points.
After draining just one basket in the first quarter, Carder went on to finish with 18 points. She also became the second member of her family to become a 1,000-plus point scorer in a Saints uniform after her brother Steven reached the mark playing for the college from 2011-13.
“A Relief. Just kind of a weight off my shoulders, one less thing I have to think about moving forward, and now I get to celebrate with a great group of girls and our coach,” Carder said. “Not a better group to do that with. It’s a huge honor. It’s very humbling. There’s only one other girl to hit 1,000 points in North Country history, so it’s a big deal and it’s a lot to take in.”
Three more players reached double figures for the Saints, who improved 23-3 overall and 9-1 in Region III play. NCCC freshman point guard Talesa Campbell led all scorers with 19 points, Damoni Wells added 13 and Lavander Ward chipped in 12 points. Ten players tossed in baskets in the victory.
The Saints did stumble a bit offensively, scoring 13 points in each of the second and third quarters, but kicked back into gear by draining 24 points in the final period. NCCC led 46-19 at halftime and wrapped up the game with all second-unit players on the floor.
“We were ready to go today, and when we’re ready to go, we’re really good,” Saints head coach Jerrad Dumont said. “(Talesa) was ready to go, which really fuels our team. We didn’t miss any chippies. We scored 33 points in the first quarter and only 13 in the second, and I think the lone difference was we missed some chippies in the second quarter, but I thought our defense was still good.
“We defended well today, we shared the ball and I was really happy for Kayla,” Dumont continued. “Kayla has done a lot for this program, she’s done a lot for the school, she’ll be a nurse when she graduates. I’ve been her for 12 years and I’ve never had a player score 1,000 points in two years. That’s impressive. Part of that is leading your team, doing the little things in order for us to be more successful so we can play more games, so you can lead your team into the playoffs like she did last year and hopefully like she will do again this year.”
The Raiders fell to 10-10 with the loss. Kendra Flavery was the lone Fulton-Montgomery player scoring in double figures, finishing with 14 points.
NCCC’s women have two regular season games remaining. If they can win both games, they’ll own the top seed in the region and along with it the opportunity to host the regional final four for the first time, providing they get past the quarterfinal round.
“I like how we look, I like how we’re sharing the basketball,” Dumont said. “I never imagined having the opportunity to host the regional tournament. When I first took the job here, they told me if you make the playoffs that was phenomenal. Really they just wanted us to finish the year and have a team. It was fun, but now, with the success that we have had, it’s pretty impressive to think about.”
“It’s getting to be that playoff season, it’s a good time to start hitting your peak and I think we are, but we still have a lot more to do. We need more consistency,” Carder said. “Most importantly, what’s on my mind now is preparing for playoffs and securing the Mountain Valley Conference championship.”
The Saints will play their final home game of the regular season on Monday, hosting Hudson Valley with the opening tip off slated for 5 p.m. They wrap up the regular season on the road Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Clinton Community College.
The women’s game was the opening matchup of another Saints doubleheader at the Sparks Athletic Complex on Wednesday. In the second game, North Country’s men squeaked out an 80-78 victory over Fulton-Montgomery to improve to 13-10 overall and 7-5 in conference play.
The Saints men will next play at home Monday against Hudson Valley starting at 7 p.m.