Tonight at 5, the Carson High boys basketball team puts its undefeated record on the line when they play Palo Verde High in Las Vegas. It will be the first of three games the Senators will play in Las Vegas this weekend.
Last season, Palo Verde was the Sunset Region's Northwest Division champions after finishing 7-1 in conference play and 19-9 overall. However, the Panthers don't return a single starter from that team. Palo Verde is led by forwards Todd LaMasters (So., 6'4) and Ian Henry (Sr., 6'4).
Carson coach Bruce Barnes is looking at this game as an opportunity to play a team with a winning tradition, even though they don't return the fire power they had from a year ago.
"They like to press and run like we do, so it should be a good match-up between us," Barnes said. "Any time you can play a team from Las Vegas, you know it'll be a good test."
Palo Verde's size could present problems for Carson, which is more of a guard-oriented team. The Panthers can go big. So big that coach Phil Clarke can put a lineup on the floor comprised of five players 6'3 or taller. It might be good for the Senators to experience match-up problems because they haven't had to yet this season. Carson's tallest starter is Cody Longero, who at 6'3 leads the team in scoring, averaging 19.7 ppg.
On Friday, Carson plays Durango. The Trailblazers lost Sunset League MVP Jamaal Brimmer to graduation but return two starters from last season's 25-8 squad. Coach Al La Rocque said he'll play 11 different players this season, including Martrel Johnson (Jr., 6'3) and Frank Brown (Jr., 6'1), his top two players from last season. Durango has a pair of 6'5 post players, Edmond Parotte and Kenny Peen, which could again present more match-up problems for Carson.
On Sunday, Carson plays Cimarron-Memorial, a team that doesn't have the size like Palo Verde or Durango. Both the Senators and the Spartans' strengths are in their guard play. Cimarron-Memorial was 9-13 a season ago and finished fourth in the Sunset's Northwest Division.
Carson (3-0) opened the season with a double overtime thriller against Sparks. In its second game, it blew past Elko and then on Tuesday night, it eked out a two-point victory over Fallon.