The Carson Senators girls basketball team fought from the bottom most of the night Friday and although it held the lead twice against Damonte Ranch, it was the Mustangs who ended up on top, 54-46, when their game ended at Morse Burley Gym.
Four Mustangs scored in double figures in a well-balanced attack: Courtney Kollasch had a team-high 17 points, Devan Boundy added 14, Lindsey Hull 11 and Erin Hatch 10.
The Mustangs improved to 2-2 in the Sierra League and 7-10 overall, while Carson had its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 1-2, 4-14.
Sophomore guard Gina Bianchi led the Senators with 13 points, followed by junior center Cassie Vondrak with 12 and senior Christy Works, who added eight.
"We're really young," said fifth-year Damonte Ranch head coach Debbie Hellen. "Sometimes we look good; sometimes we don't. We're inconsistent."
But the Mustangs were more consistent against the Senators, hitting 19-of-45 shots from the floor as compared to 19-of-52 for Carson. Damonte Ranch also got to the free throw line more often, converting 13-of-20 from the charity stripe to the Senators' 7-of-13.
Carson fell behind early - 8-1 - and didn't hit its first shot from the field until 5 minutes, 41 seconds into the first quarter, when sophomore Yvonne Hollett hit a 15-footer. The shot sparked a six-point spurt by the Senators, who also got a long jumper from Bianchi and another 15-footer from Hollett to draw within 8-7.
Damonte Ranch led 10-7 going into the second quarter and Carson came within two points four times before Works found Bianchi for a layup and Hollett hit a pair of free throws to give the Senators their first lead, 19-17.
"We were working on the defensive end the whole time and it got a little shaky there," Hellen said. "Carson's big girl (Vondrak) did a good job getting in there. We had a hard time keeping her out of the key."
Carson led for the last time at 21-19 and it was tied 21-21 at halftime, but the Mustangs assumed control on a Boundy jumper and 3-pointer in the first minute of the third quarter.
Bianchi nailed a three and then dished to Works for a layup and the Senators tied it 30-30, with 4:21 to go in the period.
Works later converted a pair of free throws to tie it at 34-34, but Damonte would go on a 8-2 run going into the fourth quarter, something that Carson coach Todd Ackerman said was the difference in the game.
"That hurt us - it put us in the hole," he said. "We hung around and battled, but we didn't get some shots to fall. We had opportunities in the game, but we didn't capitalize on them. (The Mustangs) would miss and we wouldn't capitalize."
Boundy scored 11 points in the pivotal third in one of her last games as a Nevada resident. Hellen said Boundy would be moving to Connecticut next week. Fortunately for the Mustangs, Hatch is only a freshman and is a good complement to Kollasch and Hull.
"We're excited about (Hatch)," Hellen said. "She'll do some good things by the time she's a senior. Kollasch is a senior and leads the team and keeps them under control a lot of the time."
Bianchi found Vondrak for a layup and Carson trailed 42-38 with 7:09 to go, but that was as close as the Senators would get until a Works free throw made it 47-41 with 2:43 left on the clock.
Hull connected on a jumper and, after Vondrak responded with a layup, Kollasch hit a pair of free throws to make it 51-43. Carson never threatened again.
"I think we're getting a little better," Ackerman said. "We've spent quite a while talking about the things we have to learn from. The Hug game, this game - the learning curve is huge for us, but they are improving."
Now the Senators must brace themselves for Monday's game against arch-rival Douglas.
"Some of it you can forget about what we've done and what (the Tigers) have done," Ackerman said. "It's a rival game for both of us. A lot of things can happen. We have to be able to control them and handle their pressure and, hopefully, cause them to make mistakes.
"Every game we play helps. We get a little better each time. The problem with Douglas is that they are a very experienced team."
Tip-off is 5:15 p.m. at Morse Burley Gym.