SPARKS - Carson High found out firsthand why you don't want to finish fourth in the league.
The Senators were a respectable 7-5 in Sierra League play, but it was only good for fourth place, and that got them a date with the undefeated Reed Raiders, the top seed in the High Desert League.
Very seldom have first-place teams lost at home to a fourth-place team, and Reed kept that tradition with an easy 97-50 win over Carson in the first round of the NIAA 4A regional playoffs Tuesday night.
Reed (24-0), who plays Douglas Thursday at 5 p.m., shot 60.3 percent from the floor and its defense forced 19 turnovers. Simply put, the Raiders hurt Carson at both ends of the floor.
"They're awesome," Carson coach Alana Williams said. "They are very athletic, shoot the three-pointer, have a good inside game and play together as well as any team. They are good in transition and hard to stop."
And, fast is the way the Raiders like to play, according to point guard Maria Moore, who scored 18 points, including two of Reed's 12 three-point field goals.
"We need to run," she said. "That's what we do best."
And how. The Raiders gave a clinic on finishing plays, whether it was in transition or in the half-court offense. Carson's interior defense wasn't able to handle Reed's inside game, especially Erica Maldonado, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
"Maldonado and (Sara) Johnson can catch the ball," Maria Moore said. "As long as they can catch it, we'll give it to them."
Maldonado had eight of Reed's first 12 points, and Brittany Moore (18 points) scored eight in the quarter, including consecutive three-point baskets in the final minute to make it 24-11.
It only got worse for Carson.
The teams traded baskets in the first 30 seconds, but Reed went on a 12-0 run to take a 38-13 lead. Four of the baskets were lay-ups, two by Maria Moore. Jessica Hooft also contributed four points in the surge. Reed hit 10 of 17 from the floor, and Carson managed just four second-quarter field goals.
Carson played its best quarter of the contest in the third period, scoring 18 points on 9 for 18 from the floor, but still trailed 70-37 after three, as it could do little more than trade baskets most of the period. Sandra McAlman scored all six of her points in the quarter.
Sinead McSweeney was a bright spot in the fourth quarter for Carson, scoring seven of her nine points. She also finished with six rebounds, all in the fourth quarter.
Andrea Hoff led Carson with 13 points and Nicole Scott added 10.
Reed coach Richard Shaw was pleased with his team's offense, but not with the defense.
"I thought we gave up way too many points," he said. "Sometimes that happens when you get a big lead."
The only disconcerting part of the game was in the fourth quarter when Reed's reserves kept firing up three-point attempts despite the fact the Raiders had a 40-point lead. Reed's Kayla Williams scored at the buzzer, which ticked Shaw off.
"I was not trying to score 100 points," Shaw said. "I'm not trying to hit people when they are done; rub it in their face. I have too much respect for Alana and her program. I told them I didn't want them to shoot the ball. I even asked if they heard me."
Still, you have to wonder why Maria Moore even played the fourth quarter. Reed led by 33 and had the game well in hand.