Carson boys struggle against physical Reno

For a little more than four minutes at Morse Burley Gym on Tuesday, the Carson Senators had the Reno Huskies within reach.

Rob Valerius's putback drew the Senators to within 4-2 and everything seemed possible against the defending 4A state champions.

But then the Huskies went on a 14-3 run over a 3 minute, 37 second span and began to pull away for what would eventually become a 66-45 victory at Carson High School.

The Huskies improved to 6-1 in the Sierra League and 16-5 overall, while dropping the Senators to 4-3, 11-9.

"We missed our first six of seven shots and three free throws," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "(The Huskies) were just physical. They got into us, into our cut. They were good defensively and physically dominated us."

Reno's aggressive defense held the Senators to five points in the first period and extended the 18-5 lead to 22 points in less than three minutes. Roger Carlson's steal and pop-up jumper gave the Huskies a 31-9 lead with 5:19 to go in the half.

"It was a good win," said second-year Reno coach Kyle Schellin. "Every time we come down here to play, they're a good, well-coached team that plays hard. I've seen them play better this year. This probably wasn't their best effort. I was pleased the way my kids played.

"I think with our full-court pressure, they had some trouble. It led to some easy baskets for us. We've been working on that intensity. It wears on people as the game wears on."

A layup by junior guard Will Holbert and a pair of baskets by junior forward David Eller cut the Huskies' lead to 31-17, but beginning with a 3-pointer by Austin Morgan, the Huskies went on a 10-2 run to close the half with a 41-19 lead.

Holbert and Eller led the Senators with 11 points apiece. Valerius added eight for Carson, which trailed by as many as 30 points in the third quarter (58-28).

The Huskies spread out their scoring and Morgan had a game-high 14 points, while Olek Czyz added 12, Casey Brown chipped in nine and Matt Freeman contributed eight.

"We knew exactly what we were getting with Reno," Barnes said. "We play each other in the summer and fall. Nobody sneaks up on you around here. They didn't let us cut. Their defense was into every single one of our guys. They were into our cuts and on the glass. Every play they played physical.

"Like I told the guys, it's easy to score points when they give you open jump shots. Good teams don't give you open jump shots. You have to learn to play with contact. Reno didn't win the state championship by giving guys open jump shots."

The 6-foot-1 Eller brought some intensity off the bench and, with the teams playing mostly their reserves, the Senators outscored the Huskies 17-8 in the final period to make the score more respectable.

"David played very well today - not only with points, but he played physical with his guy and more important, he rebounded for us," Barnes said.

Carson, in the midst of playing three games a week for four weeks, will get arch-rival Douglas next. Douglas is coming off Monday's 82-57 victory over Wooster, a game the Tigers played without 6-10 Keith Olson and 6-8 Joe Nady.

Olson, a Northern Arizona signee, is out for an undisclosed time with a foot injury and Nady missed the game with an illness.

Barnes, however, wasn't taking any solace from the news.

"Douglas is good with or without Keith," he said. "They have enough big bodies to put in there. Keith will play. He won't miss out on playing Carson in his senior year. But we have a lot more to worry about than Keith playing.

"They make us play a physical game. If you can't play physical with them, it's going to be a long night. We have to come mentally prepared to play a physical basketball game."

The Carson-Douglas game begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Morse Burley Gym.

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