PREPS: Yamamoto leads Carson girls to big win

When you look at Carson High's current hot streak, you have to give props to soft-spoken Lisa Yamamoto for her inside play.

Yamamoto got the Senators off to a quick start with six of her team-high 12 in the first quarter, as Carson celebrated Senior Night with a 54-39 pounding of Wooster at Morse Burley Gym.

Carson, which already had third place in the Sierra League sewn up, improved to 8-6 with only road games left at Manogue and Galena remaining. Carson has won two straight and four of its last five.

Yamamoto said she wasn't nervous even though Senior Night is one where emotions flow freely.

"I was just trying my hardest," Yamamoto said. "I just want us to finish out the season strong. I've been getting the ball inside more; better opportunities to score. We've been looking to stay relaxed (on offense). We had good ball movement, and that helped."

"Lisa has been doing a real nice job," Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. "She's been using the glass well on her shots. She's always so solid. She's not a tall person, but she's a presence inside."

Yamamoto's last bucket in the first quarter and a two-pointer by freshman Savannah Smith gave Carson a 16-6 lead after one.

Then it was Eliza Matley's turn to take center stage, as the Carson junior keyed an 18-2 second-quarter surge with all 10 of her points, leading the Senators to a 34-18 lead at the intermission. Emily Collins, Jazmyn Stokes, Tiana McAllister-Daggs and Elayna Shine all contributed a basket apiece.

"Eliza came off the bench and played really well," Ackerman said. "She didn't force anything and let the game come to her."

The Colts put together a mini 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 36-25 early in the third quarter. Carson roared back with an 8-2 run of its own for a 44-27 lead with 2:03 remaining. Yamamoto started the surge with a short bank shot, Natalie Stevens added back-to-back scores and Stokes finished the surge. Wooster scored twice in the final minute of the quarter to make it a 13-point game.

A layup by Stokes, a putback by McAllister-Daggs and Yamamoto's final bucket made it 50-35 with 4:12 remaining.

Save for the loss to Damonte Ranch, Ackerman likes the direction the team is heading entering next week and the post-season.

"I was worried about tonight," Ackerman said. "You worry about emotions going up and down; you worry about them not being up to playing.

"I'm happy. We're playing a lot better and starting to come together."

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