As expected, the Carson High School girls basketball team defeated Wooster, 55-40, on Thursday night in the Carson Middle School Gym to give the Senators their second win in their 19th annual tournament.
What was totally unexpected, however, was the fight the Colts put up against the Senators for the better part of three quarters as Wooster made a serious bid for one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. As late as three minutes into the third quarter, the Colts, winless this season, held a three-point lead on Carson, 32-29.
It eventually took a 10-2 run late in the third, in which Alyson Thurman and Pam Williams accounted for all of Carson's scoring, for the Senators to build a six-point lead and finally get some breathing room against the Colts.
"We came out underestimating them," said Williams, who finished the game with 17 points. "We were light-hearted before the game, not too serious."
It wasn't hard to understand why the Carson players had underestimated the Colts. Wooster lost to Spring Creek on Wednesday by 15 points, while Carson had crushed the Spartans by 39 points on the same day. In addition, the Colts had just played three hours earlier against Armijo, losing 46-36, and figured to be tired entering the night game.
"We should have been the fresher team, but they played like they were the fresh team," said Carson coach Paul Croghan. "It was a learning experience for the team - you can't expect a win, you've got to go out and play every game."
Thurman led Carson in scoring with 29 points. She scored 20 in the first half, including a jumper at the buzzer which gave the Senators a 29-28 halftime lead.
After taking its six-point lead into the fourth, Carson continued to pull away from the Colts, helped by eight points from Williams and a 3-pointer by Laura Borst. The Carson defense also had its best quarter of the game, limiting the Colts to just six points.
Despite the loss, Wooster first-year coach Mike Anderson said he liked the direction his Colts (0-4) seem to be headed.
"I'm very satisfied, but we need to keep getting better," Anderson said. "We've been improving with each game. We're not a good shooting team or dribbling team, but we play hard and work hard."
With the win, Carson is now 4-0 this season. The Senators have a difficult schedule in the tournament today, facing Armijo at 3 p.m. and McQueen at 7:30 p.m., with both games are at Carson High.
Carson defeated the reigning state-champion Lancers by two points in Reno on Tuesday.
Croghan said he doesn't believe the Senator players will be too adversely affected by playing their fourth and fifth games in four days.
"(The players) are all athletes in shape, so they should be able to recover," Croghan said. "Also, McQueen will be just as tired as we are, as they also have an early game."
While the Senators had their hands full with Wooster at Carson Middle, Dayton had more than it could handle from Mineral County and the Orndorff sisters across town at Carson High. The Dust Devils lost to Hawthorne, 76-38.
As if stopping Ashlee Orndorff weren't already a big enough chore, younger sister Sidney is now a freshman guard for the Serpents. Ashlee went for 21 points against Dayton, while Sidney had 19.
Jen Dillie continues to be Dayton's biggest offensive threat. She scored 21 points in the losing effort. The only other players to score for Dayton were LaTasha Thompson (seven points) and Kristyn Jacobsen (10).
Dayton is 0-3 in the tournament. The Dust Devils play Lowry at 6 p.m. at Carson Middle today in their final game of the tourney.
In other Thursday results, Lowry beat Hug 40-26, McQueen defeated Spring Creek 37-31, and Marina downed Lowry, 55-46.
Carson, Marina, McQueen and Hawthorne are the remaining undefeated teams in the tournament. The tourney final is set for Saturday at 5 p.m. at Carson High.