SPARKS - It's tough enough to play a competitive game against Reed when you're at full strength, but when you are missing most of your guard contingent it's makes the job that much harder.
That's the situation Carson faced Tuesday night.
The powerhouse Raiders were without superstar Gabby Williams, who will be out of competitive sports for approximately nine months after suffering serious ligament damage last weekend, but Carson didn't have the services of Savannah Smith and Gina Peacock (ill) and Skye Simpson (shoulder).
Reed, led by Taylor Sumpter's 27 points, scored the game's first 12 points and coasted to an 18-point first-quarter lead en route to a 65-37 win over the Senators Tuesday night in a Division I crossover game.
Carson, 8-3 in league, hosts division-leading Manogue at 5:15 p.m. Friday.
The loss of the aforementioned three players severely hindered coach Nathan Tolbert's rotation.
"I was more proud of this loss tonight than I was of the win against Galena," Carson coach Nathan Tolbert said. "We played them pretty even after the bad start, and we had a couple of good runs against them.
"With Natali (Salas) not at full strength (sore throat), Carly (Bachmann) was our only guard and she had to stay in the game longer. We started to platoon a little bit. Everybody learned they can do everything. There doesn't have to be just one person bringing the ball up."
It took Carson 4 1/2 minutes to get on the board. By that time, Reed had a 12-0 lead, courtesy of five points by Sumpter. It was like Carson was sleepwalking.
The Senators seemed to be a step slow the entire game, and Carson's Elena Thurman admitted Carson may have been intimidated by the defending state champs.
Carson had a nice 8-2 run early in the second quarter which cut Reed's 22-4 first-quarter lead down to 25-12. Maddi Saarem had a 3-pointer and free throw to spark the run.
The Senators got baskets from Thurman and Haley Ridgely to start the third quarter to make it 33-19, but that's as close as they would get the rest of he way. Reed's biggest lead was 30, 65-35, with less than a minute to go in the game.
Thurman turned out to be Carson's go-to girl in Smith's absence, and it's scary to think how bad this one could have been without her scoring 17 points. Nobody else had more than four for Carson. She had nine of Carson's 11 points in the second quarter, and she flew around the court defensively.
"I was really looking to score more tonight," Thurman said. "I always want to score, but a lot of times Savannah has a better shot (opportunity) than I do."
"She played hard. She always does," Tolbert said. "You can't keep her down. Maddi also did some nice things. Maddi is in charge of our defense out there. She is always in the right spot."
Tolbert said he's not certain whether he will have Smith and Peacock back for Friday's game. It could be another long night if he doesn't.