SPARKS — The game was there for the taking, but once again Carson High’s girls were not up to the task.
Tied at 34 with 4:21 left in the game, Spanish Springs outscored Carson 9-4 down the stretch to emerge with a 43-38 win Tuesday night in a Division I crossover game.
The loss, Carson’s third straight and dropped the Senators to 6-7 in league with three games left in the regular season.
“Most of the game wasn’t very good for us,” said Carson coach Nate Tolbert said. “For us it’s the same thing — execution. There is still some kind of disconnect going on. I know we can do it, we do it in practice. We have to find a way to win. It’s not getting any easier. We have to win on Friday (against Damonte). We need to get up into third place.”
Finishing third would put Carson on the road against the Reed Raiders, who are not as formidable without the injured Gabby Williams. If Carson finishes fourth, it would have to travel to Reno, which is one of the best teams in the entire state.
Tuesday’s game was tied six times, including four times in the second half (16, 23, 30 and 34-all).
The last tie was broken by Hannah Woytek, who nailed two free throws with 3:13 remaining. Carson came down and missed on its next possession and Heather Tauchen scored to make it 38-34. Carson went 0-for-2 on its next possession and Katrina Prendergast made two free throws with 1:09 left to make it a 40-34 game. Madison Preston (10 points) scored with 38 seconds left to make it 40-36, setting up a key moment.
Woytek, who led all scorers with 13 points, made the front end of the 1-and-1 situation to make it 41-36. She missed the second shot, but Spanish Springs grabbed the rebound. Prendergast made both free throws to make it 43-36, Preston hit two meaningless foul shots to close out the scoring.
Spanish Springs led 10-9 after one period, but the Cougars went without a field goal the entire second quarter, going 0-for-10 and turning the ball over six times. Putbacks by Cameron Sievers and Carly Bachmann plus a Preston trey enabled Carson to open up a 16-10 lead before Woytek drained two free throws to make it 16-12 at the half.
The teams traded runs in the third quarter.
The Cougars used a 7-0 run to take a 19-16 lead, as Mariah Vargas’ 3-pointer capped the run. Carson answered back with seven points of its own to make it 23-19. Natali Salas had five in the surge and Kayla Aikins added a basket. Two free throws by Woytek and a basket by Adriana Pennington made it 25-23. Carson bounced back with five straight points, all by Salas, to take a 28-25 lead after three.
Treys by Vargas tied the game at 30 and 34 for the Cougars.