Carson girls battle Panthers, fall just short at the buzzer

By Rob Renaud

Appeal Sports Writer

Oh, what could have been. The Carson High girls must feel that they let one get away when North Valleys escaped Morse Burley Gym with a 51-50 win on Saturday.

After battling for four quarters, the Carson girls got two opportunities with less than 10 seconds left, but couldn't capitalize on either one. Junior Krista Mattice stole an inbounds pass at half-court, but Tiffany O'Day was called for traveling after receiving Mattice's pass. Mattice again stepped in front of the intended receiver on the following inbounds pass, but her pass into corner was knocked out of bounds as time expired.

"That was really a questionable traveling call," said Carson coach Todd Ackerman. "But that's kind of the way our whole season has gone. The girls have worked really hard and not given up, but those things just have not gone our way."

The Panthers evened their Sierra League record at 6-6 (12-13 overall) and could move into a tie with South Tahoe for third if Douglas beats the Vikings on Monday night. Carson, meanwhile, fell to 1-11 in conference, 4-23 overall.

After a slow start, the Senators battled back by halftime. Sophomore Gina Bianchi hit a 3-pointer at the 1:40 mark of the second quarter and then made a steal and a layup to even the game at 16-all.

North Valleys made a run in the third quarter, outscoring Carson 20-12 but the Senators came roaring back in the fourth with a 22-13 run. Sophomore guard Yvonne Hollett hit a 3-point bucket with 3:20 left to bring Carson to within one at 41-40. Hollett got a conventional three-point play with 36 seconds left after splitting two defenders for a layup. Her free throw again pulled Carson to within one at 49-48. North Valleys' Katie Mathews hit a pair of free throws to put the Panthers up 51-48.

Vondrak's rebound and outlet pass let freshman Elayna Shine go end to end for an easy layin after a North Valleys missed free throw attempt. Carson looked to have a chance to complete the comeback as Mattice intercepted the inbounds pass before O'Day was called for the travel while trying to get free of her defender.

Bianchi and Mathews were high scorers for Carson with 10 points each, followed by Shine's 8. Christina Works and Hollett scored 6 apiece. Vondrak added 4.

"We played really well at both ends," Ackerman said. "Battle, battle, battle. It's what we do. We've gotten better, but the other teams have gotten better, too."

Senior night was referred to as "Christina Works Night," as she is the only senior on Carson's young roster.

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