Carlton coming into her own as Seven Lakes tops Tompkins to take district lead

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 1/7/22

Justice Carlton has taken a step forward in her sophomore year.

The Seven Lakes forward has grown her game in her second year of varsity play, and her growth has benefited the …

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Carlton coming into her own as Seven Lakes tops Tompkins to take district lead

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Justice Carlton has taken a step forward in her sophomore year.

The Seven Lakes forward has grown her game in her second year of varsity play, and her growth has benefited the Spartans.

“She really has taken her game to another level,” said Seven Lakes head coach Angela Spurlock. “She can play facing the basket and with her back to the basket. We used her a lot with her back to the basket last year and she did that for us. No one really wants to be a post and have their back to the basket all the time, but she honors that position and as her game grows and as we work on her game and she works on it outside of school it’s starting to show.”

It certainly showed on Friday, as she scored the Spartans first 13 points against Tompkins and finished with 40 points as Seven Lakes remained unbeaten in district 19-6A play with a 74-52 victory over the Falcons at the Tompkins gym.

“I worked over the summer and I lost some weight, worked with my team and playing any chance I get, and I feel way better than I did last year.”

Along with scoring the team’s first 13 points, Carlton finished with 19 of the teams 22 in the first quarter, helping the Spartans build a seven-point lead. Seven Lakes built it even further in the second quarter as its lead grew to 41-24 as Sumer Halphen chipped in nine points in the half as well.

“That start was amazing,” Halphen said. “I look up to Justice, even though I may be older I look up to her and the way she plays. Her confidence towards me and towards the team just brings my confidence up too.”

Tompkins made runs at the starts of both the third and fourth quarters, but Seven Lakes was able to bounce back from both and continue to build its lead.

“Tompkins is an outstanding basketball team,” Spurlock said. “They have an outstanding coach and staff, they have great teams and they learn really fast and put in really strict and good gameplans. So, we knew coming into the night that we had to play well, we worked really hard coming off our bye. Justice’s start was critical, anytime you have a player like that it’s critical they start fast and the whole team rallied around that.”

The win was a big one for Seven Lakes, which was tied atop the district standings with Tompkins. Tompkins is the reigning district champions and had won 30 straight district games coming into the contest.

“It was extremely important to get this win,” Carlton said. “Last year, losing to them two times, coming back this year and having a performance like this, it just shows how much we’ve improved as a team.”

Seven Lakes expects to compete for a district title this year, and Friday’s was a big step in that direction for the Spartans.

“We have to keep practicing every single day like we have been doing,” Halphen said. “We have to keep not letting ourselves get down about anything, keep our routines strong and just stay strong in everything we do. If we do that we’re going to be great.”

District 19-6A

Seven Lakes 74, Tompkins 52

Points: (SL) Justice Carlton 40, Summer Halphen 18, KK Tucker 9, Aliyah Atiqi 4, Shea McFarland 3; (T) Macy Spencer 19, Gabby Panter 13, Brooklyn Nash 7, Fiyin Adeleye 6, Riri Deleon 3, Kennedy Bourque 2;

Halftime: Seven Lakes 41-24; 3-pointers (SL) Halphen 4, McFarland; (T) Spencer 3, Panter, DeLeon; Records: Seven Lakes 24-4, 4-0; Tompkins 26-2, 4-1

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