On Friday night in the semifinals of the 20th annual Carson Invitational, it looked as if the Carson High girls basketball team finally found a team that could run with them.
Well, at least for one quarter.
Up only 10-9 after the first quarter, the Senators then held the Buckaroos to only five field goals the rest of the way as they handed Lowry its first loss of the season, 54-23 at Carson High.
Carson (5-1) will play McQueen in the championship game today at 3. The Lancers held Marina (Huntington Beach, Calif.) to only one field goal in the fourth quarter en route to a 42-28 win in the other semifinal.
Against Lowry (7-1), 10 different Senators scored, including Erin Stieber, who led Carson with 12 points. Freshman Tabitha Adams came off the bench to score 11 points. All 12 players on Carson's roster logged minutes in the win.
"I thought Erin Stieber played extremely well, especially on defense," said Carson coach Paul Croghan. "She might have tired out their guards because at the beginning of the game, Lowry was running with her, but as the game went on, she took over."
Carson opened the game in a man defense, but the Senators quickly made an adjustment. Lowry's Tara Davis, who led all scorers with 15 points, scored seven of her team's nine points in the first quarter to keep the Buckaroos close.
"We started in a man to man defense and that really allowed Davis to get open shots," Croghan said. "But then our assistant, Ron Tamori, made the switch to a zone defense and that really shut her down."
After switching to its zone defense, Carson held Davis to only three more field goals in the game. As a team, Lowry shot only 16 percent (5-for-31) after the first quarter and was outscored 44-14.
"We always had a hand up in their face on perimeter shots and when they missed, we could start our fast breaks," Croghan said.
The Senators outscored the Buckaroos 18-4 in the second quarter to take a 28-13 halftime lead. In the second, Stieber scored six points and Adams had seven. Most of Carson's points in the quarter were either off Lowry turnovers or transition baskets created by its ability to break the press.
"They pressed us but we were able to break it and that got us into the type of game we wanted," Croghan said.
In the second half, Lowry never got closer than 15 points while scoring only 10 points in the half. Only four players scored for the Buckaroos in the game.
"They (Lowry) are a good club but our girls executed well when they needed to," Croghan said. "The pace of the game really helped us."
In the championship game against McQueen, the Senators will face a team that has won four of the past five Nevada 4A state championships. Croghan anticipates a much better shooting performance out of the Lancers.
"We must keep them from shooting the lights out against us and we have to break their press, like we did with Lowry," Croghan said. "We match up with them well, so it should be a good test for us."
Lowry plays Marina in the consolation game today at 1:30.
McQueen 42, Marina 28
The Lancers scored only two points in the opening quarter but used a 19-point fourth quarter to get past the Vikings.
Cristi Crofts lay up with 6:38 remaining in the fourth quarter gave McQueen a 25-24 lead, its first of the game. The Lancers (8-1) held Marina (3-2) to only four points in the fourth quarter and only one field goal.
McQueen, meanwhile, hit six of its eight shots in the fourth. The Lancers were led by Jill Bentley, who had 20 points and Kae Blunt, who chipped in 10 points. The Vikings' Cara Congelliere had 10 points for Marina.
Hug 56, Fernley 38
Jamesha Carson scored 15 points and Kelsi Kuzmik had 14 as the Hawks bounced back from Thursday's loss to Lowry to beat the Vaqueros.
Up only 7-6 after the first quarter, Hug (8-2) then scored 21 points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. The Hawks held Fernley to only 23 points in the first three quarters.
Hug's Daphne Tuamoheloa scored nine points. Ashley Rieger led the Vaqueros (2-6) with eight points. The Vaqueros play Spring Creek today at 10:30. The Hawks play Armijo today at noon.
Armijo 33, Spring Creek 25
The Indians jumped out to a 13-2 first quarter and never looked back as they went on to beat the Spartans.
Tracy Allen shouldered the load for Armijo (7-1), scoring 14 points. Jennifer Causey added six points for the Indians.
Spring Creek (2-6) was led by Stacey Patterson, who scored eight points.