RENO — Carson basketball coach Carlos Mendeguia admitted that he was concerned about Tuesday’s game against last-place Wooster.
He shouldn’t have been.
Using a stifling defense, Carson opened up a 13-point halftime lead en route to a 52-25 demolition of the Colts at Craig Congdon Gym.
Carson improved to 9-6, one game behind Damonte Ranch which knocked off Douglas. The Tigers are now 8-7. Douglas hosts Carson at 7 p.m. Friday, while Damonte visits first-place Galena.
“We haven’t had one of these (blowouts) for a long time,” Mendeguia said. “Historically, we haven’t done that well here. They always play us pretty hard. Being Senior Night, we knew they would be excited and get after it. We executed our defensive game plan well; rotated well. We played great team defense. Wooster likes to make you ply defense for a couple of minutes at a time. They are a possession team.”
“The first game (against them) we almost let it get away,” said junior guard Dilyn Rooker. “We turned the pressure up a little bit. We wanted to run and jump (on defense) and get some transition points.”
Wooster, even when it did get past Carson’s pressure, shot just 25 percent from the field and turned the ball over 15 times. Not exactly game-winning stats.
The middle two periods were the difference in this one. Carson went from an 11-5 lead after the first quarter to a 37-14 bulge after three quarter. Points came in clusters for the Senators. Carson had an 8-0 run in the second quarter, and surges of 8-2 and 6-0 in the third. The fourth quarter featured a game-ending 7-0 surge.
Right in the middle of the barrage in the middle two periods was 6-6 Brandon Ruf. The Senators’ tallest player enjoyed a career-best and team-leading 12 points and two blocked shots. And, not everything came in garbage time.
Ruf entered the game in the second period, and had a layup, blocked shot and an assist in the first 73 seconds. Throw in a shot in the key by Alan Cohen and two free tosses by Andrew Cooper, and the Senators had used a 8-0 run to open up a 19-6 lead. After Wooster closed to 19-10, Cameron Price scored on a putback and Asa Carter knocked down two foul shots to make it 23-10.
The teams played on near-even terms for the first four minutes of the third period. Carson finished the quarter with an 11-2 run, as Cohen contributed a basket and free throw, Rooker a 3-pointer and a free throw, Carter had two free throws and Ruf scored his second bucket of the night.
“Brandon has really been working hard all year,” Mendeguia said. “He didn’t play this summer, so he’s been playing catch-up. We haven’t been able to get him in some games because of match-up situations. Teams go small against us. He’s just gotten better as the season has gone on.”
And games like this certainly will help Ruf’s confidence.
“I’ve been really working hard in practice,” Ruf said. “I think I’ve been improving as the year has gone along. I’m hoping this showed coach what I can do. I’d like to help contain (James) Herrick of Douglas on Friday night.”
Ruf continued his big night in the final quarter when he scored seven points.
Cooper also got his most extensive action of the league season and responded with a five-point effort. The Carson reserves scored 27 of the team’s 52 points.
NOTES: Carson fans are urged to show up early on Friday. The fire marshal has told Douglas officials that he will stop admittance once the gym is full. Recently, the fire marshal had to turn down Virginia City fans who traveled to Sierra Lutheran for a game... Game times are 3:45, 5:15 and 7 p.m. on Friday.