Carson boys can't overcome slow start

RENO - One would be hard pressed to find pancakes flatter than the way Carson High came out of the gate Friday against McQueen.

After scoring the game's first basket, Carson went 1-for-11 with five turnovers over the next seven-plus minutes in falling behind by 12 points after the first period, 16-4.

The Senators fought back gamely, but never got over the hump and dropped a 63-54 decision to the Lancers in a Northern 4A crossover game.

"We came out really flat," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "We missed some easy shots and dug ourselves a hole. We got hurt by a kid I didn't count on (Lukas Engstrom). We were ready for (Kody) Eckert and (Joe) Saarem and for (C.J.) Grigg inside. I didn't count on Engstrom doing that.

"Chris (Steele) did a good job on Saarem. We knew C.J. was going to get his."

Engstrom led all scorers with 19 points and Grigg added 18 in addition to dominating the glass at both ends. Eckert managed just a basket while Saarem, the lancers' leading scorer had just five.

Grigg really made his presence felt when he scored three quick baskets, the last with 1:17 left in the half to give the Lancers a 31-14 lead. He just seemed to do whatever he wanted against the Senators.

"We wanted to force him to spin back to the middle and make him take the hook," Barnes said. "We let him drop step and get to the basket. You can't do that. We had enough big men to foul him when he touched."

"C.J. has been playing really tough inside," McQueen coach John Franklin said. "This is the best basketball he's played in the three years that I've been here. He goes after the ball and he's rebounding well."

After Grigg's last bucket, Carson finished the half with a 7-0 run, all by Matt Nolan to slice the deficit to 31-21.

Nolan made it nine straight points (he finished with 13) when he beat McQueen's backcourt pressure and scored on an easy layup to get the deficit into single digits at 31-23. A 5-1 McQueen run hiked the lead back up to 36-24 with 4:34 left in the period.

Carson, thanks to two straight hoops by Carlos Carrillo (10 points in the game) went on a 7-2 run to end the period and get to within 42-36 after three.

Two more Carrillo buckets sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Dakota Allinson got the Senators to within 45-41 with 7:11 left in the game. It was Carson's smallest deficit since the first quarter, but it didn't last long.

A 13-4 run by McQueen over the next four minutes pushed the Lancers' lead to 58-45 with 2:37 left. Allinson, who finished with eight, all in the fourth quarter, led the surge with five points, while Engstrom had four points and Grigg contributed a putback.

"I think in spurts we looked good and in spurts we looked bad," Franklin said. "Once we can bridge those we'll be a pretty good team."

Carson, 3-5, returns to action next Friday when it hosts Galena.

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