CEDAR RAPIDS — He has returned to playing basketball about two weeks ahead of schedule. That Noah Carter is back playing basketball at all should be celebrated more than you’d think.
The Dubuque Senior power forward scored 17 points as his Class 4A 10th-ranked team squeezed past Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 73-61, Tuesday night. But that’s not the story here.
The 6-foot-5 junior is still trying to get his conditioning to an optimal level after missing almost two months following emergency surgery on his left thigh. A deep bruise resulting from taking a teammate’s knee in practice turned into compartment syndrome, which develops from excessive pressure building inside a muscle space in the body.
“I could have lost my leg,” Carter said. “The swelling would have just kept getting bigger and it would have cut off the blood circulation and everything and started killing the muscle.”
Carter initially suffered a thigh bruise in preseason practice, but played in Senior’s first two games. That’s when he was kneed again in the exact same spot.
This time, his leg swelled to a level “where it looked like I had a water balloon in my leg,” and pain was excruciating. His parents took him to the hospital on a Sunday night, where he was diagnosed and went under the knife.
“It’s tough just thinking about how everything could be gone,” he said. “You never think it could happen, that I’ve just got a Charley Horse and I’ll be fine.”
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Carter said his return-date goal originally was Feb. 6, but he healed quickly enough to have that moved ahead. He got cleared to start doing physical activity two weeks ago, and this was his second game back.
Senior (12-4) lost four times without him but is a legit state championship contender with him in the lineup. The Rams got 24 points from guard Marshaun Carroll and 18 from guard Carter Stevens to withstand a Jefferson rally.
The J-Hawks (7-9) were down 13 points in the first half but closed within a point, 51-50, with 5:35 left. Senior responded with the next 10 points to go back ahead by double figures and close it out.
“They got it down to two, we called a timeout, and I told the kids we probably played our best basketball after that,” said Senior Coach Wendell Eimers. “The first half, I was really happy with the defense. The second half, I was really happy with the offense. We just didn’t get the two going together.”
Ozzie Meiborg scored 18 points and Willie Guy III 16 for Jefferson.
“We didn’t come out ready to play at the beginning,” said Coach Brandon Horman. “We found ourselves down, but found a way to battle back. We did some really good things defensively, especially in that third quarter. Hopefully the guys can see what they can do. It requires all five guys at the same time.”
AT CEDAR RAPIDS JEFFERSON
DUBUQUE SENIOR (73): Noah Carter 7-9 1-3 17, Nick Timmerman 1-6 3-4 5, Sam Link 1-3 2-2 5, Carter Stevens 6-12 5-5 18, Marshaun Carroll 7-8 6-9 24, Landon Hermsen 1-3 0-0 2, Joseph Kruse 0-0 0-0 0, Josiah Harris 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Noel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-42 17-23 73.
C.R. JEFFERSON (61): Kyran Ligon 2-4 1-1 5, T.J. Kuennen 4-7 0-0 8, Willie Guy III 6-17 2-2 16, Ozzie Meiborg 8-15 0-1 18, Kyler Bell 3-6 0-0 7, Raejzuan Shockley 1-5 0-0 2, Brayden Frazier 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Blum 0-1 0-0 0, Blaze Bouzek 2-4 0-0 5, Dymonte Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 3-4 61.
Halftime — Dubuque Senior 28, C.R. Jefferson 17. 3-point goals — Dubuque Senior 8-15 (Carter 2-2, Timmerman 0-3, Link 1-3, Stevens 1-3, Carroll 4-4), C.R. Jefferson 6-22 (Guy 2-8, Meiborg 2-6, Bell 1-3, Shockley 0-2, Frazier 0-1, Bouek 1-2). Rebounds — Dubuque Senior 25 (Carter 8), C.R. Jefferson 29 (Kuennen 9). Total fouls — Dubuque Senior 10, C.R. Jefferson 25. Fouled out — Kuennen. Turnovers — Dubuque Senior 10, C.R. Jefferson 12.
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