It was Senior Night at Morse Burley Gym on Tuesday and three of the Carson Senators' four seniors - Sarah Evans, Kaitlin Burroughs and Megan Kilty - were strolling down memory lane following a 63-37 victory over the Wooster Colts.
There was talk of the card game "Mafia" (where it pays to be a good liar and master of trickery, according to Kilty) and Carson's trip to San Francisco the day after Christmas.
When a reporter asked Evans what she was feeling after playing her final home regular-season game with her teammates, her smile turned upside down and her face turned purple.
"You asked the wrong person," Burroughs said with a smile as tears rolled out of Evans' eyes.
"You're going to make me cry," Evans said, wiping her eyes. "It was really fun for me. I get to play a lot and have a lot of fun."
It may not have looked that way, but Evans was feeling happy - after all, her team improved to 12-1 in Sierra League play, 23-4 overall and after playing the Lady Huskies of Reno on Friday, will either be a No. 1 or 2 seed headed into the Northern 4A regional playoffs beginning Tuesday at Carson High School.
Carson will find out Friday whether its first-round opponent will be Elko, Manogue or Spanish Springs, the High Desert League's No. 3 or No. 4 seed. If Carson evens its series with Reno, it would be the No.1 seed from the Sierra League based on winning the second meeting and would face the HDL's No. 4 seed.
If Reno wins, Carson would be the No. 2 seed and would face the HDL's No. 3 seed.
Evans brightened up with talk of playing Reno, making it clear that the Senators are hoping to be the top seed headed into the playoffs.
"I'm looking forward to beating them," Evans said of the Huskies. "We've only beaten them once in my high school period and that was in my freshman year (when she was on the junior varsity team)."
Evans and her fellow seniors had another reason to be happy as they came up on the winning end of its somewhat uneven-but-convincing contest with the Colts, whose record dipped to 1-11, 3-20.
Sophomore guard Brandi Vega led the Senators with a game-high 15 points (she also had an unofficial six steals and four assists), Burroughs added 13 and freshman center Danielle Peacon scored 12 to prepare the Senators for the Reno game and the postseason.
Carson's other senior - Anna Macquarie - added four points.
"It was a little sloppy, but you expect it in a game like this," said second-year coach Ric Garcia, whose team improved on its 16-14 record last season when it lost in the semifinals of the regional playoffs. "It was Senior Night. We got all of our players in (10 of Carson's 12 players scored). It was nice to give them a nice night - hopefully a night to remember. We'll be back here next Tuesday."
If the Senators look back on their game with the Colts, what they may remember is getting off to an 8-0 lead and holding Wooster without a point for the first 3 minutes, 27 seconds.
Kilty hit a 16-foot jumper, Peacon followed with a pair of free throws and then fed the ball to Vega for a 14-1 lead with 3:25 to go in the first.
Wooster closed the gap to 16-9 by the end of the period and drew within 16-11 on Kylie Johnson's layup to open the second. But Burroughs' pair of free throws kick-started a 16-2 run that made it 32-13 with 1:16 to go in the half.
Burroughs scored four points in the second quarter, including a layup which followed a Vega 3-pointer to make it 28-13.
"Burroughs has had her best year," Garcia said. "I saw her as a sophomore and coached her last year. Defensively, offensively, she's been a leader on and off the court. I'm pleased for her. She's going out in style."
Happy with the win, Burroughs nonetheless had mixed feelings after the game.
"I was really sad going into Senior NIght," Burroughs said. "It was a sad Senior Night. I'm glad it wasn't a really hard game. Everybody got to go in. It was a fun Senior Night."
Kilty said her team lost focus a bit.
"It was kind of a slow-paced game," she said. "We didn't have too much energy. In the middle we pulled it together. We had some really nice plays. We were thinking about that (Senior Night) and didn't concentrate on the game."
Carson's biggest lead was 34, when Vega found Burroughs for a layup to make it 55-21, with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Wooster, which was led by Briahna Hendrix's 12 points, would get no closer than 24 the rest of the way.
Now Carson can turn its full attention on Reno before the playoffs.
"We have to play a complete game to win," Garcia said. "We have to cut down on our turnovers. We have to cut down on fouls and score a bit. If the game is in the 50s, we have shot. If the game's in the 70s, advantage them."
"We want 'em really bad," Kilty said of the Huskies. "It would be amazing to win, but they are good."
In short, it would be the kind of victory that would bring tears to some Senators' eyes. But in a good way.
The Reno-Carson game begins at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Reno High School.