Matt Nolan talked to coach Carlos Mendeguia Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. and told him that he probably wouldn't be able to play because he had a sore throat and a 102-degree fever.
After sleeping for a few hours and popping some Motrin, Nolan showed up at Morse Burley Gym well after the rest of his teammates. He didn't do a whole lot during warm-ups. It turned out that he didn't need to.
Nolan scored Carson's first 12 points in the opening 2 1/2 minutes of the game, sparking the Senators to an easy 65-44 victory over Wooster in a Sierra League basketball game.
The win pushed Carson's record to 9-6 entering Friday's home showdown against Douglas in the regular-season finale.
"I was a little worried," Mendeguia said. "I didn't think he was going to be able to go. He slept most of the afternoon and took some Motrin. Obviously it worked because he played really well. I told him he should get sick more often if that's the way he's going to play.
"We were really aggressive pushing the ball. The last time we played we got complacent and they slowed us down. We let them dictate to us. Alan (Cohen) and Rafe (King) did a great job on the boards tonight. Overall it was an outstanding defensive effort."
In the first meeting, Wooster surprised the Senators with an aggressive half-court trap which caused a multitude of problems. This time around, the Colts never got out of the starting gate because of Nolan.
Nolan drained three straight 3-pointers on Carson's first three possessions for a quick 9-0 lead. All three treys came after missed shots. After Wooster drained two free throws, Nolan came back and converted a three-point play for a 12-2 lead. Nolan added another basket, and the Senators walked off the floor with a 24-8 lead after one.
"I came out with energy I guess," said Nolan, who finished with a game-high 24 points. "I didn't warm up much; didn't really take any shots. We practiced for their pressure."
Carson stretched its lead to 30-10 with 4:49 left, as Alan Cohen (12 points) scored a bucket, Kyle Denning added a trey and Nolan knocked down a free throw. The Colts scored three free throws, but a three-point play by King and a driving layup by Nolan led the Senators to a 35-18 lead.
"You jump on a team like that and you knock the wind out of their sails," Mendeguia said. "When you can do that at home, it's a big advantage."
The teams played on even terms in the third quarter as JJ Harloff scored seven points on back-to-back treys and a free throw in a 2 1/2-minute stretch. Carson led 47-30 after three.
A 14-8 run in a 3 1/2 minute stretch of the fourth quarter enabled the Senators to get the lead to 61-40 with 3:06 to play. King had six of his 14 in that stretch, while Nolan added two buckets.
The win sets up a showdown with Douglas at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tigers have already clinched the Sierra title. When the Senators are home they have given Douglas a good game, but haven't been competitive at Douglas.
"It's a smaller gym and they have great fans who support the team," Mendeguia said. "They have a good team. They are big, quick and can shoot the ball well."
"It's a big game," Nolan said. "When we play here they haven't played as well as they do at home, and we've given them a run for their money."