BY DARRELL MOODY
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
RENO " The Carson High School girls basketball team went from playing no team defense in the first quarter to handling Damonte Ranch with ease over the final three quarters.
Damonte Ranch went 7-for-13 from the field in the first quarter, taking a 17-16 lead, but went an unofficial 1-for-5 in the second quarter and turned the ball over eight times. In the final three quarters, Damonte went 9-for-37 from the field.
Carson outscored the Mustangs 16-2 over the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter to grab a double-digit lead and coast to a 57-44 win Friday night in a Sierra League girls basketball game.
Carson improved to 3-0 in league heading into today's game at Bishop Manogue, which starts at 3:15 p.m. Damonte dropped to 0-4 in league.
Carson coach Todd Ackerman was pleased to see his team do an about face in the second period, and admitted that was the key to the game.
"We were trapping on the side and corner after made field goals," Ackerman said. "We were changing things up to do something different." Carson also had success with a 1-3-1 zone defense.
Baskets by Blaike King and Kailey Taylor enabled Carson to regain the lead, 20-17, with 7:41 left . Kennedy Hall scored the Mustangs' only field goal in the quarter 18 seconds later to trim the lead to 20-19.
Carson scored the next 12 points. Brandi Vega (23 points), who was pulled from the game in the latter stages of the first half, scored the Senators' first five points in the run. Tiffany O'Day, who also reached double figures with 10 points, contributed the next four points before Vega ended the surge with a 3-pointer.
Damonte Ranch ended the drought with two free throws by Erin Hatch, slicing the Senators' lead with 32-21 at the half.
"We're young," Damonte coach Debbie Hellen said. "Sometimes we have one quarter where we don't put the ball in. Carson started taking the ball away. We were having trouble getting the ball up the floor.
"Vega is a force. She had 23 and I put my best people on her."
Vega had 14 in the first half, but she did draw Ackerman's ire with the way she was playing defense and running the team on offense.
"She was letting the girl (she was guarding) go right by her," Ackerman said. "We needed to push the ball on offense. We weren't doing that."
Vega's effort was much better when she returned at the start of the second quarter.
Things got sloppy in the third quarter, as turnovers and poor shooting dominated. Carson turned the ball over seven times, yet still maintained a double-digit lead, 40-29, after three quarters.
"We turned the ball over and stopped running some of our stuff," Ackerman said. "When we did run our stuff, we weren't very crisp. We just didn't defend very well."
Damonte did cut the lead to 42-33 with 7:19 left, but two buckets by O'Day and a 3-pointer by Vega made it 49-36.
Ackerman expects a much tougher time today against the Miners.
"We have four tough ones coming," he said. "Bishop Manogue is pretty good. They have a couple of pretty good players.