Carson High's girls basketball team certainly won't get any style points for its win over Galena, but after losing its opener by 47 points, the Senators could care less.
Using a press that forced Galena into 28 turnovers, the Senators built up a 17-point first-half lead en route to a 62-30 win Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson, 1-1, returns to action at 6 p.m. Thursday against Sommerville in the first round of the Winter Classic, which is being played at both Reno and Spanish Springs high schools.
"We'll definitely take it," Carson's first-year head coach Nate Tolbert said. "Getting the win at home to start off our season at home was big. We have a lot to work on. You're talking about two really young teams. It was pretty ugly out there at times.
"One of our goals was to hold them down on the offensive boards, and they only got four, including just one in the first half."
This was definitely a case of Carson's defense being its best offense for the first three quarters. The press and pressure defense caused Galena all sorts of trouble, but Carson didn't capitalize as often as it should have.
Carson held Galena to just 1-for-10 shooting from the floor in the first 16 minutes. The Grizzlies didn't help themselves much either, turning the ball over 13 times in that span.
"I think it (the press) changed everything," senior Maddi Saarem said. "It helped get us going. We're a young team, and we've been working really hard in practice. We got the first-game jitters out. We're getting a lot better with our offense."
It was Saarem who really played a major role in Carson's quick start. She scored seven of her 11 points in the opening 16 minutes.
"She was pretty solid," Tolbert said of Saarem. "I put her up front on the press, and that helped us out a lot."
"I felt a lot more confident," Saarem said. "I felt a lot more confident with my teammates and way more comfortable."
Saarem had five points to spark an early 10-2 run and give the Senators a 14-3 lead after the first eight minutes. A 9-2 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter enabled the Senators to build their lead to 23-4 with 3:25 left. It was Saarem that ended the run converting two foul shots.
Carson went cold at the start of the second half, missing its first 11 shots from the field before a steal and layup by Saarem ended the drought and made it 27-13. Galena actually outscored Carson, 9-5, in the final 3-plus minutes to trim the deficit to 32-22 entering the final eight minutes.
Tolbert admitted his team was playing too fast at the offensive end, often forcing the action.
"We've been working on that in practice (not forcing shots and passes)," Tolbert said. "I try to tell them to take your time."
The Senators got a spark from Carly Bachmann at the outset of the fourth quarter. She scored five straight points to lead Carson's 9-0 run which upped the lead to 41-22. Bachmann would finish with eight points. Galena broke the run with a basket, but Carson scored 15 of the game's next 19 points to take control, 56-28.
Madison Preston also scored 11, all in the fourth quarter. Three of her baskets were 3-point shots. Gina Peacock finished with 10 and Savannah Smith added nine.