RENO - To win basketball games on the road, you have to play defense, and that's exactly what the Carson High boys did Tuesday night.
The Senators put the defensive clamps on Reno throughout the game, and Rafe King and Matt Nolan supplied half of the scoring, to lead Carson to a season-opening 52-41 win.
King, who played well despite a sore ankle, led Carson with 15 points and Nolan added 11. The duo accounted for 50 percent of Carson's scoring.
"Anytime you can get a league win on the road it's big," Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. "Our defense played really hard and really well. Defense won us this game."
Reno was an ice cold, 9-for-38 unofficially, from the field. No one player had more than three field goals in the contest. Reno was held without a field goal the last 4 minutes 54 seconds of the opening half.
The Senators outscored the Huskies 8-3 in that stretch for a 24-13 lead after the first 16 minutes. King, who finished with 15 points, had 10 of those in the first half. Nolan had seven of his 11 in the opening half.
Reno was hurt by the fact that Connor Bush missed the bulk of the first half after picking up two charging fouls on his first two drives to the basket. Mendeguia said that was critical because so much of what the Huskies like to do goes through Bush, who is better known for his baseball talents.
King injured his ankle last Friday, and Mendeguia said that it would be game-time decision on whether his top scorer would play or not. King didn't appear to be favoring the injury at all.
"I thought I would be out for at least a week," King said. "It got better after one day. It was really swollen and I just iced it all day, and the swelling came down.
"It's great anytime you get a win."
This one was a little tougher than it should have been. The Senators got a little sloppy and did little more than trade baskets with the Huskies for the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Bush scored on back-to-back possessions to chop the lead to 33-24 with 5:07 remaining. But Carson responded with a bank shot by Alan Cohen, a trey from the right corner, a free throw by Sage Smith and two free throws by Nolan boosted Carson to a 17-point lead, 43-26, after three periods. Reno went 0-for-3 from the field and turned the ball over once in that span.
"We were trading baskets for a while in that third quarter, and then we got a few stops," King said. "That gave us a huge lead and some insurance going into the fourth quarter."
The Huskies had one more run left in them, and 2 minutes and 14 seconds into the final quarter, they had trimmed Carson's lead to 43-34. Bradley Cladianos drained three free throws to start the surge and Garrett Hampson ended it when he banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key, forcing Mendeguia to call a time out in frustration.
As King came into the huddle he said, "We're OK. We're OK."
"We got complacent," Mendeguia said. "They extended their zone and we started settling for shots. We stopped cutting."
Carson scored five straight points - a free throw by Kyle Steele and layups by Cohen and Chris Lopez - to get the lead back to double-digits at 48-34. Reno never got any closer than 11 points in the final two-plus minutes of the contest.
Carson returns to action Thursday when it travels to Winnemucca for the Lowry Tournament at the Winnemucca Events Center. Carson is scheduled to play two games on Thursday, one on Friday and one on Saturday.