With four games left,
postseason hopes dampen after loss to Hug
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
It may have been Carson High's shortest post-game talk in recent memory. The players were out greeting their friends and parents only minutes after suffering a 55-45 Sierra League setback to Hug Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
The loss further dampens Carson's bid for a post-season bid. The Senators are 3-7 with four games left. Hug improved to 7-2 in league and 12-12 overall.
Carson coach Bruce Barnes managed just a slight smile when asked about the short post-game. No doubt he will put the team though a tough practice today.
It's relatively simple to put a finger on why Carson lost.
The Senators shot 31 percent, and Paul Cagle and Caleb Carter were a combined 4-for-16, and those two represent an important part of the team's offense. Also, Hug outrebounded Carson 42-32, and was especially effective on the offensive glass.
"We were very lethargic on offense," Barnes said. "We were completely out of sync offensively. All our cuts were very slow.
"We decided we didn't want to rebound. I have to look at the film, but I can guarantee they had 20 offensive rebounds and on a couple of occasions had four or five (on the same possession)."
In fact, Barnes targeted rebounding as the key ingredient in a 9-0 run that Hug put together to gain control of the game late in the third quarter. The Senators' transition defense wasn't great, either.
Rob Valerius (15 points) led an 8-4 Carson run to give the Senators a 33-32 lead with 3:10 remaining.
Brian Bennett scored two straight buckets for a 36-33 lead. The second hoop came after a Hug offensive rebound. Duke Williams (20 points) scored on a lay-up in transition, Adam Williams scored on a putback and Stephan Cramer ended the quarter with a bucket in transition to make it 42-33 after three.
Duke Williams proved to be a difficult match-up for the Senators because of his ability to score in different ways. He slashed to the basket, hit pull-up jump shots and distributed the basketball to his teammates.
Carson went 0-for-3 and turned the ball over in that stretch and didn't score in the final three-plus minutes of the quarter.
"He's an all-league player," Barnes said. "He gets everybody else on their team involved."
"He did a great job," Hug coach Brian Voyles said. "He did whatever he could do to score. It was the most intelligent game he has played so far (this year)."
The carnage continued in the fourth quarter. Duke Williams drove the lane, was fouled and converted a three-point play with 7:27 remaining. Forty-one seconds later, following a Carson turnover, he scored on a transition lay-up for a 14-point lead.
Two free throws by Matt Rutledge and one by Valerius made it 47-35. Tre Johnson boosted the lead back up to 14, 49-35, with a short bank shot. Johnson finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Rutledge, who hurt Hug the last time the teams met, led a 7-2 run that cut Hug's lead to 52-43 with 2:53 remaining.
"We were trying to isolate on him defensively," Voyles said, referring to Rutledge. "He's very athletic."
Barnes wasn't sure that was the case.
"I don't know that they played him any differently," the Carson coach said. "He got in foul trouble, and I had to sit him for a period of time."
Carson had two chances to cut into that lead, but turned the ball over once and Valerius failed to convert from close range. Duke Williams followed the Carson miss with a floater in the lane to up the lead to 54-43.