It seemed like the final 44.9 seconds of Tuesday’s game took about 15 minutes to play, but in the end it was time well spent for the Carson Senators.
Trailing 48-47, Carson boys coach Carlos Mendeguia took not one, not two, but all three of his remaining timeouts in an effort to set up a game-winning play.
The third timeout proved to be the one that paid off, as Kyle Steele banked in a short jump shot with 1.8 left in the game to give the Senators a thrilling 49-48 come-from-behind Division I crossover win over the McQueen Lancers at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson improved to 3-1 in Division I play and 9-3 overall. Carson visits Damonte Friday at 7 p.m.
After a Bryce Harnack (25 points) jump shot gave McQueen a 48-41 lead with 3:24 left, Carson stormed back to cut the lead to 48-47 on baskets by Alan Cohen, Cameron Price (16 points) and Steele (9 points).
That’s when the chess match started.
McQueen took a timeout with 52.9 left, and Kyle Denning stole a pass. McQueen’s Michael Matthews was called for a foul. Mendeguia called timeout with 44.9 left and then another with 30.6 remaining. Carson worked the ball around until 6.8 remained when Mendeguia took his final timeout of the game. He later said he couldn’t remember ever taking three timeouts in such a short span of time.
“We drew up sets after each timeout,” Mendeguia said. “Give McQueen credit, they did a good job of taking some of our options away. I knew exactly how many timeouts I had left because the officials kept telling me. I was just glad we had the timeouts left. I didn’t want the game to end with timeouts still in my pocket. It gave us (the coaches) a chance to settle them down.
“The last play Cameron (Price) comes down the lane and we throw a pass at the rim. It wasn’t a great (inbounds) pass, but Cameron did a good job of getting the ball and then Kyle was wide open.”
It was Steele who had inbounded the ball, and he was happy he was able to redeem himself.
“It was supposed to be an alley-oop to Cameron,” Steele said. “He was able to do a good job of catching the ball. I just stepped inbounds (after the pass). I was wide open and happy I got it to go down.”
Carson ended the game with an 8-2 run over the final 3-minutes 24-seconds. McQueen’s only score in that span was a Harnack jump shot with 3:24 left
“It wasn’t our best defensive effort for 32 minutes,” Mendeguia said. “I didn’t think we came out ready to play. My hats off to Bryce Harnack. He had a great night. We came out flat, and you’re right we didn’t have an answer for Harnack.
“They didn’t have (Rian) Narra, and I think our guys thought it would be an easy win. I warned them that when a team is without its best player it plays a lot harder.”
Both Price and Denning suffered ankle injuries, but were able to finish the game. Mendeguia expects both to play against Damonte on Friday.
In the opening half, Carson used a 9-0 run to grab a 21-13 lead with 4:23 left in the second quarter. Price had three in that span, while Asa Carter, Denning and Steele had a basket each. McQueen, however, responded with a 13-5 run, tying the game at 26 at the half. Patrick DeLeon had a basket and two free throws to lead the Lancers’ surge.
Carson took a 30-28 lead on baskets by Price and Cohen, but a 10-2 run led by DeLeon and Matthews gave the Lancers a 38-33 lead with 3:52 left in the third. McQueen maintained that five-point lead for the final 3:52 of the third and the first 3:04 of the fourth, setting the stage for the wild finish.
The win is a nice way to go into a tough road game.
“It will be a very tough game,” Mendeguia said. “Damonte is one of the toughest teams in the league. It’s a tough place to play, and they play tough man-to-man defense.”