Carson girls defeat the Creek
From an offensive point of view, the Carson Senators have shown some versatility on their way to four straight victories so far in the 23rd annual Carson Girls Basketball Tournament.
They've hit the outside shot. They've been able to run and on Friday night, the Senators showed they could work the inside in their 57-47 victory against Elko at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
Of the 18 field goals Carson converted from the field, 13 came on shots from inside the key and seven of those were on layups or putbacks en route to a win that improved its tournament record to 4-0 and 6-1 overall for the season.
Coupled with its 66-50 victory against Spring Creek earlier in the day, Carson earned a berth in the finals of the 10-team tournament and a 3:30 p.m. showdown today against Lowry.
It will be a true test for the Senators, who will be up against a Lowry squad that won the 3A state championship in 2002 and finished as the state runner-up last season. The Buckaroos earned their berth in the final by defeating Churchill County 41-33 and the Carson J.V. 43-26.
"That's going to be huge," Carson coach Alana Williams said. "They've always been a good, scrappy team."
The Senators had to get past two other scrappy teams - Spring Creek and Elko - to earn their berth in the finals.
"I was very excited about today," Williams said. "I thought Elko and Spring Creek both looked very good when I saw them play."
The Senators only shot 11-for-26 from the free throw line against Spring Creek, but Andrea Hoff scored 15 points, Ciarra Christian 14 and Katie Kotter 13 to lead a balanced offense for the Senators. Tabitha Adams chipped in with nine and 6-foot-2 sophomore Nicole Scott seven.
Christian had 17 points and Hoff 10 to lead an attack in which 10 players scored against Elko. Christian buried two 3-pointers, but otherwise, the Senators did most of their damage from the inside.
"I told them they needed to start penetrating and looking inside," Williams said. "It's good that we can give other teams some different looks."
The Senators took control of the game thanks to a 10-2 run during a span of three minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters.
Kotter sank a free throw to give Carson a 37-33 lead with 1:15 left in the third quarter, then the senior guard stole the ball and fed a pass to Liz Rankl for a layup. Moments later, Christian grabbed a rebound on the defensive end, took the ball up the floor and dished to Rankl for a short baseline jumper that extended the lead to 41-33 before time expired in the third period. Christian buried a 3-pointer, assisted by Rankl, to make it 44-33 at the outset of the fourth quarter.
Sadna Bhakta scored 13 points and Aubrey Johnston nine to lead Elko.
CARSON 66, SPRING CREEK 50
Carson took a 30-28 lead to the locker room at halftime and extended the margin to 49-41 at the end of three quarters.
The Senators might have been able to put the game out of reach with more accuracy from the free throw line. They were only 5-for-15 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the scrappy Spring Creek Spartans (3-4) cut into a 14-point deficit as freshman point guard Johnna Ward drove for a layup and Nicole Hawkins connected on a 3-pointer to make it 59-50 with 2:22 remaining.
Carson answered with a 7-0 run to close the game, aided by two inside baskets by Hoff.
Hawkins scored a game-high 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to lead Spring Creek offensively. The Spartans were good on five shots from beyond the 3-point arc.