Carson High girls basketball coach Paul Croghan wasn't quite sure what to expect in his team's first of the game of the season on Monday night against Dayton. After all, only two starters, junior Erin Stieber and senior Meghan Gradert, are back from last year's 28-7 team that lost in the state semifinals to eventual champion Galena.
Croghan, though, ended up liking what he saw of his young squad. All 12 Senators scored, including freshman Katie Kotter, who turned in a game-high 18 points, as Carson cruised to a 74-15 win at home over the Dust Devils.
"I think we have some bright spots," Croghan said. "We have a lot of young players and we still have a lot of things to improve on, but I'm pleased."
Half of Carson's players are underclassmen, four freshman and two sophomores. Croghan knew the youngsters were talented but wasn't sure how they would perform in a game situation. The underclassmen, however, responded nicely, scoring more than half of Carson's 74 points.
Terah Laack scored 12 points and guard Ciarra Christian added four points. Croghan said he was just looking to get the underclassmen a lot of playing time.
"That's the whole idea, to get them a lot playing time against teams like this," Croghan said. "Because that might not be able to happen later on in the year."
After leading 18-6 after the first quarter, Carson outscored the 3A division Dust Devils 17-3 in the second, aided by Laack, who exploded for 10 points in the quarter. Carson led 35-9 at half-time.
In the third quarter, Stieber, who finished with six points, scored four of Carson's first eight points and had assists on the other two buckets as the Senators extended their lead to 43-9 after just two minutes. Kotter added nine points in the quarter, several coming off of Dayton turnovers that were forced by Carson's perimeter defense. The Senators led 55-11 after three quarters.
"Our quickness and speed are probably our best attributes," Croghan said. "We're not real big but we have a lot of ball handlers and that helped us tonight."
Dayton scored four points in the fourth quarter, all by Cindy Wanbaugh. Rachel Hurt and Ashley Reese each scored four points for the Dust Devils, while Jessica Cantwell had three.
Carson travels to Elko on Wednesday for what Croghan said we'll be the Senators first real test of the season after a scrimmage with Yerington and Monday's win over Dayton.
"They (Elko) play hard and are always well coached," Croghan said. "I should learn a lot about our team in that game."