PREPS: Carson girls cruise past Panthers

It didn't take Carson High's girls basketball team long to assert itself against North Valleys - four minutes to be exact.

The Senators went on a 12-0 run early in the first quarter, and despite some sloppy play at times, cruised to an easy 51-33 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.

The win moved Carson to 2-2 in 4A play and 9-5 overall. The win was Carson's fourth straight. The Panthers dropped to 2-7 overall and 0-3 in league.

"We're 2-2 in league now which is good," Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. "We played hard. Sometimes we make the game a little tougher than it is. That's one of the things we have to work on.

"We hit a cold spell a little bit (in the second quarter). We got away from running our stuff and decided to be one and done."

It was Carson's defense which was responsible for the early onslaught. Of Carson's 12 straight points, eight came after North Valleys mistakes, two came off a Panthers' miss and two came when the Senators ran their offense properly.

Whitney Nash scored six of her team-high 13 in that span, while Natalie Stevens contributed two baskets in the surge.

"We haven't played in three weeks," said Bob Bentley, North Valleys head coach. "We lost a couple of games due to snow. We were pretty rusty. We made some really bad passes.

"We were missing three kids. I don't know if that would have made any difference or not, but two of them were guards."

Carson led 18-9 after one and went on an 9-2 run in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter to take a 27-11 lead. The Senators went scoreless the rest of the half, and the Panthers scored twice to cut the deficit to 27-15 at intermission. Carson turned the ball over three straight trips down the floor and went 0-for-4 during its drought.

Eliza Matley sparked the offense in the first half with nine of her 11 points. Seven of those points came in a two-minute span at the end of the opening quarter.

Ackerman played his entire roster in the first half, and that caused the Senators to lack crispness in their execution.

"That was part of it," Ackerman admitted, "but I thought we were going well enough that I could do that."

A 9-3 run in a 4 1/2 minute span of the third period enabled the Senators to build to 36-20 lead, as Nash again led the charge with five points, while Maddi Saarem and Savannah Smith added a basket apiece. Hannah Woytek's two free throws made it a 14-point game after three.

The Senators quickly put the game out of reach with a 10-0 in a span of 2 minutes 18 seconds. Matley started the surge with a bucket, and Elayna Shine (9 points) scored two straight baskets to make it 45-29. Stevens and Nash closed out the run with two points each.

"We kind of blew it open," Ackerman said. "I think they got tired. We started playing 94 feet, got a few turnovers and made some easy baskets (in the second half)."

It's a good start to the week, giving the Senators some momentum heading into Friday's game at Wooster.

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