Austin powers Reno past Carson
BY JOE SANTORO
Special to the Appeal
RENO - For five minutes Friday night at Reno High School, it was Austin Morgan's world and the Carson Senators were merely spectators.
"He went crazy," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "When he's shooting like that there really is nothing you can do."
Morgan went from Austin to Automatic in an unbelievable five-minute stretch of the third quarter. The 5-foot-9 Reno point guard exploded for 19 points in those five minutes as the Huskies coasted to a 79-56 Sierra League victory.
"He had a little foul trouble in the first half and I think he wanted to make up for it in the third quarter," said Reno coach Kyle Schellin. "Sometimes he just gets on a roll like that and he just lets it go with so much confidence. When he's shooting like that you just sit there and expect him to make it."
The Senators certainly know what Schellin is talking about.
Morgan scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting to spark an 18-0 Reno run in the third quarter, turning a competitive 33-25 Reno advantage into a 51-25 blowout. The Huskies guard drained five 3-pointers in the third quarter on his way to a game-high 28 points.
"He just had one of those nights," Schellin said. "When he's shooting like that it's as if the hoop is a big old bucket for him and everything is going in."
The Senators simply had to wait until Morgan cooled off.
"We couldn't afford to double him because they have two or three big guys inside," Barnes said. "They force you to double team inside and that leaves somebody (Morgan) open outside."
The somebody was usually Morgan.
"We have a size advantage inside that demands a double team," said Schellin, whose frontcourt is led by the 6-foot-7 Olek Czyz. "So we're usually playing four-on-three with our other guys. Austin is such a smart player. He knows where the open shots are. And he's got the green light to shoot."
The Senators, now 10-11 overall and 3-5 in the Sierra League, did a nice job defensively against the Huskies in the first half. David Eller scored six points inside as the Senators took a 10-6 lead four minutes into the game. Caleb Carter later drained a 3-pointer to give Carson a 13-11 lead with three minutes to go in the opening quarter. Czyz, who is headed to Duke University next season, hit a 3-pointer and converted a layup and a free throw to help Reno take a 19-16 lead after one quarter.
"I thought we played a pretty good first half," Barnes said. "You know, we're used to playing big guys because we're so undersized. But they (Reno) have a lot of them."
The Senators could never get back in the game after Morgan's one-man show in the third quarter.
"At one point, I looked out at the court and saw five 6-5 guys or bigger and none of them were wearing our jersey," smiled Barnes. "Reno is a good basketball team. They keep coming at you."
The Senators, though, did pull within 18 (60-42) in the fourth quarter, scoring the first eight points of the quarter as the Huskies' starters sat the bench. Carter, who scored 10 points, hit his second 3-pointer of the night to key the 8-0 run.
Reno, though, put its starters back in the game with 5:30 to play and outscored the Senators 19-14 the rest of the way to improve to 7-0 in the Sierra League. Czyz, who finished with 18 points, brought the crowd to its feet with a steal and a windmill dunk followed by a reverse layup to give Reno a 64-42 lead.
"I thought we really played well," Schellin said. "We didn't practice well this week so I really didn't know what to expect. I also knew that Carson would give us all we could handle. But our guys came out and played well."
The Senators will play at Douglas tonight.
"We were disappointed by the way we played against South Tahoe (a loss on Tuesday)," Barnes said. "That left a bad taste in our mouth. We played a little better at times tonight. And now we have Douglas and then Hug on Tuesday. This is a big three-game stretch for us."