It's coming down to crunch time for the Carson High girls basketball team, with the focus being on improving in every game - and every practice.
Carson (21-4, 11-1 in the Sierra League) continued to show improvement, especially on defense, in a 51-22 win over South Tahoe on Saturday at Morse Burley Gym.
But it was also clear that the Senators still have a lot to work on as at times it struggled against the Vikings' zone defense.
"I know we've still got some corrections to do," Carson coach Ric Garcia said. "Every practice something better improve at this point. We're still improving which is good. I don't think we've hit our peak yet."
Brandi Vega and Kaitlin Burroughs set the tone as they hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Vikings an 8-2 lead. But then for the rest of the first half, Carson struggled from outside against the Vikings zone, failing to hit another three in the half.
"I think we needed a little more movement," Garcia said. "It's OK of the ball goes in. But we were one and done. I think we did a little better job keeping the ball alive in the second half."
Cassie Vondrak gave Carson a 12-2 lead after one quarter when she scored inside. Blaike King's turnaround jumper off the glass gave Carson a 16-4 lead before the Vikings responded with a mini 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 16-9. Carson closed with an 8-2 run as Megan Kilty made a steal and scored on a breakaway layup to give the Senators a 24-11 halftime lead.
Garcia was pleased with his team's halfcourt pressure, which led to many turnovers and breakaway baskets.
"We made it more difficult from them to get into their offense and score," Garcia said.
Sarah Evans hit Carson first three since early in the game to give the Senators a 30-16 lead.
Carson led 40-20 going into the fourth quarter and pulled all of its starters. The Senators received an excellent effort from their bench, which outscored the Vikings 11-2 in the final period.
That was a far cry from Friday when Carson led by as many as 23 points, but had to put the starters back in when the bench faltered against North Valleys in a 46-30 win.
"That was a plus this time around," said Garcia about the bench's play. "We were kind of going in the other direction."
"We had to put the first group back in to stop the bleeding," Garcia also said about Friday. "We didnt' have to do that (tonight). That was nice to see. Everybody works hard at practice."
Kailey Taylor scored off of a pass from Abby Rankl to make the score 45-20 in the fourth quarter. Christa Casci finished the scoring for Carson by scoring all six of her points on free throws, hitting 6-of-6. The Senators were 12-of-14 from the foul line.
Vega scored 13 points and Kilty added seven points. Carson freshman 6-0 post player Danielle Peacon had just one field goal and score only four points, but made her presence felt on the defense end and on the boards.
CHS JVS 62, SOUTH TAHOE 14
Tiffany O'Day scored 12 points, Tiandra Hudson and Belen Munoz each had nine points, Krista Mattice had eight points and Breanna Anderson added six points and five steals for Carson (21-5, 11-1).
CHS FROSH 36, SOUTH TAHOE 23
Sara Anderson scored seven points, Yadira Duarte had six points and Natalie Morrow and Caitlin Berkich each added four points for Carson (16-8, 8-4).