Laguna Creek defeats Douglas for title
MINDEN - Three-point shooting hasn't especially been a strength for the Laguna Creek High boys basketball team this season. The Cardinals from Elk Grove, Calif., certainly seemed to find the range Saturday night en route to a 70-62 victory against host Douglas in the Carson Valley Classic championship game.
Laguna Creek (5-2) shot 8-for-15 from beyond the arc and that turned out to be the difference in a game that went back and forth most of the night.
"Traditionally, we haven't been a good 3-point shooting team, but tonight we stepped up when we needed to," said coach Jim Stevens, whose Cardinals won four straight games during the weekend tournament.
Douglas (6-3) swept past three straight opponents during its pool play, including a hard-fought 70-65 triumph against Northern 4A rival Reed earlier in the day. Coach Keith Lewis didn't feel fatigue determined the outcome of the final.
"I thought we looked a little sluggish, but I'm not going to use that (two games in one day) as an excuse because everybody else had to do it," Lewis said.
"They just made some tough shots. We let them have too many 3s, but give them credit, they made some tough shots, too."
The score was tied five times midway through the third quarter before Laguna Creek put together a small run during a three-minute span at the end of the period. Dwayne Carthen sank two free throws and then scored on a putback to give Laguna Creek a 43-39 lead. Then Bryan Kelly buried a 3-pointer from the left corner before time expired as the Cardinals extended their lead to 46-41.
Douglas back to tie the score 56-56 when 6-foot-9 freshman Keith Olson hit a baseline jumper with 3:39 left to play. Laguna Creek answered immediately, as Carthen scored on a putback and Jerry Henderson buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 61-56.
Carthen led all scorers with 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Adam Wood had 12 points and seven assists. Jon Fritzsche, Henderson and Kelly combined to shoot 8-for-12 from 3-point range.
Olson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Nick Summers had 15 points and dished out six assists.
"This has been a good week for us," Lewis said. "We beat three quality teams and I saw a lot of growth as a team."
The tournament was also a good experience for Laguna Creek, which is in its first season with Stevens as head coach.
"We got off to a slow start - we didn't even have a chance to play summer ball together - but we're starting to get there," Stevens said. "This was a nice trip for us. It was a very nicely hosted tournament, we had a chance to see some different styles of basketball and it gave us a chance to get ready for what's going to be a tough league season."
REED 63, CARSON 41
A different Reed High boys basketball team seemed to come out of the locker room at halfime. And that was unfortunate for the Carson Senators.
Down by two points at the intermission, Reed exploded to score 25 points in the third quarter and went on to defeat Carson 63-41 in the fifth-place game of Douglas High's Carson Valley Classic on Saturday night.
Robert Vegas scored nine of his game-high 15 points in the third period to ignite a run that put Reed (6-3) in control in a matchup between teams that qualified for the Northern 4A Regional Tournament last season.
"They came out and got after us there in the third quarter," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "They shot the ball well and they broke us down off the dribble."
Then there was a matter of trying to contain Vega, who had 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals to go with his 15 points.
"Vega is one of the best players, if not the best player in the league," Barnes said of the 6-foot-2 senior.
Carson led 23-21 at halftime, aided by a Rory Wunsch 3-pointer with 1:15 left before halftime, followed by a left-handed reverse layup off a baseline drive by Jason Alcasas.
The third quarter was a different story, as Reed took off on a 16-2 run within a span of just over four minutes. Tyler Gray scored on a drive to tie the score, then he assisted on Brad Petersen's layup to give the Raiders a lead they never gave up. Later, Vega converted a steal into a breakaway layup, then he grabbed a rebound on the defensive end, drove downcourt and scored on a spin move to the basket that gave Reed a 37-25 lead with 3:49 left in the quarter.
Alcasas led Carson offensively with 12 points, eight of which came in the first half. Kyle Bacon also scored six points and Jeff Hurzel five for the Senators.
In an earlier game, Alcasas scored 18 points earlier in Carson's 73-56 loss against Laguna Creek. The Cardinals from Elk Grove, Calif., took a 16-4 first-quarter lead to take early control of that game.
"We looked good in spurts, but we still need to put 32 minutes together," Barnes said. "This is still a learning process for us.
"We're playing games in December to try and get ready (for league) January. We've played a lot of games, too. This is eight games in the last 10 days; thats pretty tough, but hopefully it's going to pay off down the road."
GALENA 44, SPARKS 36
The Grizzlies trailed 21-18 at halftime and Galena coach Tom Maurer took full responsibility for the tempo being too slow in the first half. "I didn't coach a good first half," he said.
Maurer also said he didn't deserve credit for his team's improved play in the second half. Galena still trailed 30-28 after three quarters, but outscored Sparks 16-6 in the fourth quarter. "The pressure and the full court tempo really helped us out," Maurer said.
Galena also did a better job of finding its shooters, including Derek Lorenzen, who had 23 points and eight rebounds. Bobby Contreras also made some key free throws down the stretch. "We're really excited about the listening skills at halftime," Maurer said.
The Grizzlies were able to win despite the fact that Sparks had 14 offensive rebounds. "I think they're really good," Maurer said.
SPANISH SPRINGS 69, DAYTON 52
Spanish Springs took a 44-23 halftime lead on its way to beating Dayton. "We just didn't come ready to play," Dayton coach Rob Streeter said. "They've got some good players. They came out and made some early shots."
Dayton was able to cut the lead to 10 points in the third quarter, but could come no closer. The Dust Devils were lifted by the return of two players who were out with injuries - Matt Bowman and Zane Walker. Bowman scored 17 points.