It was an all too-familiar outcome for the Carson High boys basketball team.
That is, the Senators came close but came up short as Hug led most of the way en route to a 68-61 Sierra League victory Saturday night at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
Armon Johnson scored 32 points -13 of which came in the fourth quarter - to help Hug (8-1 league, 19-4 overall) maintain its share of first-place in the league race with Douglas and Reno. Fourth-place Carson (4-5, 11-11) lost to each of those three teams this past week.
"It would have been nice to get this one tonight, but this doesn't really hurt us," said Carson coach Bruce Barnes, whose Senators lost to Hug for the third time this season (including a 57-56 setback at Hug on Jan. 13). "We have five games left and three of those are against Damonte Ranch, North Valleys and South Tahoe - the teams we need to beat to get to the playoffs.
"We just have to take it one game at a time and right now Tuesday is the one we're looking at," Barnes added, referring to Carson's game at home against Damonte Ranch on Tuesday night.
Even though the Hawks were coming off a 108-78 win against North Valleys the night before, the Senators didn't necessarily look to slow down the tempo.
"I gave them the green light to run if something was there," Barnes said. "Otherwise, we didn't want to get into a running game with them because they run a lot better than we do."
The Senators trailed only 40-39 after Will Holbert converted a three-point play and then Zach Weismann drove for a layup with 2 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the third quarter. That was as close as they got, however, as Hug gained some breathing room thanks to a 14-4 run over a four-minute span bridging the third and fourth quarters.
"Last night, we climbed up the mountain and then couldn't quite get over the hump (in a 59-46 loss at home against Douglas), and tonight was kind of the same story. We just couldn't get over the hump. We just weren't consistent enough."
Especially in the opening two minutes of the third quarter, when Hug extended its 29-26 halftime advantage to 36-26.
"We had three consecutive turnovers and then took a bad shot," Barnes said. "That's four bad possessions to start the second half. That was definitely deflating because then we had to play catchup the rest of the quarter."
Holbert did his best to keep the Senators close, as the junior guard scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half. Holbert knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner, assisted by Matt Rutledge, and converted two more shots inside the final minute to help the Senators cut away at a 64-50 deficit in the final two minutes.
Among the offensive highlights for Carson, Paul Cagle also scored 10 points and Rutledge nine. Rutledge scored on a twisting drive to the basket and Cagle scored on an inside shot to tie the score 26-26 late in the second quarter. Rob Valerius also contributed eight points and eight rebounds.
Johnson, who has already signed to play at the University of Nevada, grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his game-high 32 points. Duke Williams also scored 11 points and James Blackford 10 for Hug.
Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or 882-2111, ext. 362.