Seven Lakes Unleashes Lady Spartan ‘Dominant’ Spear for 40 Points In Win

By Terry Carter

Only a sophomore, 6-2 Justice Carlton flexed her developing skills on Friday in District 19-6A play against ranked Tompkins in a basketball showdown among ranked frontrunners.

Seven Lakes built a large first-half lead and stretched it to 72-52 at the conclusion of this battle of ranked opponents. Carlton poured in 19 of the Lady Spartans’ 22 first-quarter points. She reached intermission with 27 points as Seven Lakes built a commanding 41-24 halftime advantage.

Carlton said Seven Lakes head coach Angela Spurlock told her to call for the ball. And the sophomore became a Lady Spartan scoring spear, taking the momentum away from the host team by power play inside and leadership on the court.

“Hard work pays off. We’ve had a terrific preseason. To be honest, we’ve had a hard preseason schedule. That’s the nature of how I schedule things. We want to be tested and tested hard,” Spurlock said. “We’ve played 27 games in 56 days. Those 15 extra (tournament) games have propelled us to be a better team this year. This game showed that.”

At the same time, Lady Spartans looked for chances to balance their scoring against a tenacious Tompkins defense. Seven Lakes’ Summer Halphen stepped up, connecting on a trio of 3-pointers in that decisive first-half run. Carlton finished with a game-high 40 points, and Seven Lakes got 19 points from Halphen and nine from KK Tucker. Seven Lakes also converted 12-of-14 free throws in the game, compared to 6-of-11 for Tompkins.

Carlton, who is still growing as a major college prospect and scoring leader, said she was happy with her performance. But she knows she needs to continue improving each week as part of the Spartan Nation girls’ basketball team. .

“I just really tried to attack the middle. My teammate, Summer Halphen, was hitting threes on the outside. It’s all just working as a team,” Carlton said after the game. “My coach told me to be dominant and go off when I need to go off and call for the ball. Tonight we needed to show what we can do.”

In the second half, Tompkins rallied as Carlton, who could not be contained under the basketball offensively or defensively, slowed her scoring somewhat. Macy Spender lead Tompkins with 19 points, followed by Gabby Panter added 13.