Carson boys escape with win

RENO - This one will be remembered as the Harvard Street escape.

Carson High's boys basketball team overcame a pitiful first half with a solid effort in the final 16 minutes en route to a 50-43 victory over Wooster Tuesday night at Craig Congdon Gymnasium.

The Senators, who outscored the Colts 29-17 in the second half, improved to 5-2 in Division I play, good for a tie for third place with Damonte Ranch. Carson hosts North Valleys at 7 p.m. Friday.

"Escape. That about nails it right on the dot," Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. "I don't think we came ready to play. If we can win ugly on the road, I'll take it any day."

And, it took a 12-0 run over 4-plus minutes for the Senators to wrest control of the game. The surge wiped out a 37-34 Wooster lead.

Rafe King, who finished with 14 points, drained a 3-pointer to tie the game at 37 with 6:31 left. After a Wooster turnover, Matt Nolan made a nice dish to Chris Lopez who converted the layup to give the Senators the lead for good.

After Wooster misfired from outside, Kyle Steele knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 42-37 with 5:04 left. After Wooster's Deshawn Pughsley missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Nolan knocked down two free throws for a 44-37 lead with 4:24 left. Wooster misfired again, and Carson ran off about two minutes off the clock before King was fouled and drained a free throw to make it a three-possession game, 45-37.

After the teams exchanged free throws, Wooster's Anthony Keith drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 46-41 with 41.8 remaining. Each team failed to score on their next possession, and following a Wooster mistake, King drained another free throw to make it 47-41. Victor Toledo made it 47-43 on a putback, but Nolan canned three free throws in the final 17 seconds to put it away.

Carson went 8-for-14 from the floor in the final half and 8-for-16 from the line.

While Mendeguia was pleased with the way his team came back in the second half, he'd love to forget the first 16 minutes. Carson turned the ball over 10 times and went 7-for-26 from the floor, yet only trailed 26-21. The Senators didn't respond well to the Colts' helter-skelter approach to defense.

In fact, it took a 7-0 half-ending run by Carson to get the deficit down to five. Nolan had four free throws and King had a 3-pointer.

"I told my players that to be down only five that we were blessed," Mendeguia said. "I don't think we came ready to play from the start. I knew exactly what they were going to do. They zoned us last year; used that extended zone. We got a little rattled."

"We weren't ready for it (the pressure)," Nolan said. "We didn't think they'd pressure that hard."

Trailing 28-21 early in the third quarter, Carson went on a 10-2 run to take a 31-30 lead with 2:15 left. Lopez and Nolan scored four apiece. A bucket by Pughsley and a 3-pointer by Jordan Harloff gave the Colts a 35-31 lead after three.

That set the stage for Carson's big comeback in the fourth quarter.

"We settled down early in the third quarter," Mendeguia said. "We made a good run. Rafe played a good game. He's been struggling a bit and needs to let the game come to him more. He didn't score 26 points tonight, but he made some huge shots and pulled down some big rebounds."


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