The Carson boys basketball team must have forgotten its game with Wooster on Friday started at 7 and not an hour later.
The Colts led 54-40 with five minutes left in the game but withstood a Senator comeback behind their leader scorer, Julian Hatcher, as they picked up a 70-61 Sierra League win at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
"We played hard for the last 4 1/2 minutes but they played hard for the first 32," said coach Bruce Barnes. "That says it in a nutshell right there."
Across the board, this was Carson's worst performance at home this season. The Senators (10-7 overall, 3-1 league) shot only 26 percent from the field (19-of-72), were dominated on the offensive glass and rarely beat the Colts down the floor. Even still, they had a chance to win at the end.
Carson went on a 10-1 run and got within five points of the lead, 55-50, with 3:13 left in the game after a Gary Borst basket. But Hatcher, who leads Northern Nevada in scoring at 29.6 ppg, was clutch down the stretch. The 5-foot-8 guard scored eight of his team-high 27 points in the final three minutes.
Hatcher dropped 31 on the Senators in a 73-70 win over them on Dec. 27 in the Capital Classic semifinals. Barnes, though, never envisioned two losses in his own gym to the Colts (7-7, 2-1).
"I thought we had a good chance to win this game," Barnes said. "I really thought because we were playing at home, we would win. We were well prepared and we were focused."
Wooster led 37-27 at halftime and extended its lead to 51-36 at the end of the third quarter after Hatcher trey's gave the Colts their biggest lead of the game. The Senators were only 2-of-18 from the field in the third quarter while most of Wooster's five baskets came on second chance buckets. The Colts were also solid from the free throw line, knocking 24-of-30 attempts in the game.
"They just out competed us," Barnes said. "Offensive rebounds, loose balls, whatever you want to call it, they out hustled us."
A career high 29 points by Ricky Correlli, who missed most of the first game between the two teams because he broke a team rule, wasn't enough to ever erase that double-digit lead. The Senators, who were 17-of-21 from the free throw line, only led in the first quarter. Carson held an 8-2 lead early on and 14-12 at the end of the first, then watched Hatcher, Joey Galow and Sean O'Brien take over.
Galow, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, scored 12 points and O'Brien had 11. Correlli, who picked up three soft fouls in the first half, also fouled in the fourth quarter. Correlli was 13-of-15 from the free throw line. Ed Jaquette was the only other Senator in double figures with 11.
Barnes dismissed the idea his team's sluggish performance was because they were looking ahead to today's game against Reno and Kansas signee David Padgett.
"We haven't even talked about the Reno game," Barnes said. "It's funny, the guys said after the game that the reason they played hard at the end was because they thought we could lose the game. What I told them was we're not good enough to think we can't lose any game."