Carson High's boys basketball team faces one of its toughest stretches of the season when it faces Douglas, Galena and Reed in a span of five days.
And, to make it worse, all three games are on the road.
The treacherous stretch starts Friday night (5:15 girls, 7 p.m. boys) at Douglas when the 6-2 Senators collide with the 7-1 Tigers. On Saturday afternoon at 1:30, Carson visits Galena, which started the week with a 6-1 mark. The road trip ends with a Tuesday night game (7 p.m.) against the Reed Raiders, who are 4-3.
"Right now, everybody is playing for seeding," Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. "You finish first or second you get a home game, and that's huge. We're playing the top two teams on our side and they are both on the road.
"The kids know what they are up against. Are these games life and death? No. They are games we'd like to get. Any time you can steal an away game, it's big. The Friday and Saturday games are more important because we're playing two teams on our side."
The biggest concern for the Senators is containing Douglas' 6-8 Hunter Myers, who is headed to Harvard in the fall. Myers averages 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest.
Nobody knows him better than Carson standout Rafe King, who plays summer ball on the Wolverines with Myers and Carson teammate Matt Nolan.
"If we can beat them on the boards, we have a pretty good chance to win the game," King said. "He's really aggressive. When he wants to get to the boards, he'll get to the boards. He can also shoot the 3. His percentage isn't that high this year (Myers has 6), but I know he can shoot it out there.
"We would love to win all three, and we're capable of winning all three. We're not even thinking about Galena or Reed right now. All our focus is on Douglas."
Mendeguia said that besides the 6-8 Myers and the 6-10 James Herrick (5.6), the Tigers have some nice role players in Michael Nolting (7.5 ppg), Pat Johnson (7.3), Austin Evans (7.3) and Joe Syammach.
"Their size obviously presents a problem of getting to the glass," Mendeguia said. "They have a few good players coming off the bench who have played really well."
Galena knocked off Carson 48-39 way back on Dec. 4, which probably seems like a lifetime ago for both teams.
The Senators face another big man, 6-8 E.J. Poulsen, who has a nice touch around the basket. Carson slowed the game down with good success in the first meeting, and Mendeguia figures to do that again.
King only scored eight points in that one and Nolan had 11. Mendeguia would love to see a few more points from each player. Poulsen and Caleb Wood scored 12 each in the first meeting and Kirk Gunderson added 11.
Carson knocked off Reed, 59-43, in a tournament game at Carson. The Raiders have three solid scorers in Trae Wells (17.1), Alonzo Vega (11.2) and Devin Gray (10.3). Reed coach Dustin Hall tutors both Nolan and King during the summer, so he knows their games very well.