Ciarra Christian and the Carson Senators were close to perfection when it came time to shoot free throws down the stretch Thursday afternoon.
Christian shot 6-for-6 and the Senators shot 11-for-12 from the line as a team in the fourth quarter as they held on to defeat Arapahoe High School from Littleton, Colo., 44-43 in the first round of the KSA Classic Basketball Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Carson (8-2) jumped out to a 23-12 halftime lead and held on the rest of the way to win its debut in the eight-team tournament which continues through Saturday.
"They came back on us in the second half, but we made our free throws down the stretch, which was good to see," said coach Paul Croghan, whose Senators shot 14-for-16 from the free throw line for the game.
Christian finished with 15 points to lead an attack in which eight Carson players scored. Freshman Nicole Scott also contributed six points, while Talia Joyce and Teri Niederer added five each for the Senators. Joyce hit an 3-pointer to put Carson on top early in the first quarter.
Heather Barbour led all scorers with 20 points for the Arapahoe Warriors and freshman Caley Dow added 10.
Carson plays in the semifinals today at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) against Unicoi County, Tenn.