RENO - For the first 15 minutes of the first half, the Carson High girls played down to the level of their competition.
Fortunately they woke up in time to take control of the game in the third quarter en route to a 53-39 win over Wooster Tuesday night in a Sierra League basketball game at Craig Congdon Gymnasium.
Carson improved to 5-2, while last-place Wooster dropped to 0-7.
"Underwhelming is my first thought," Carson coach Nate Tolbert said after the game. "We're trying to play to get to the next level. We should have blown them away. We came out flat."
"We picked up the intensity a little better in the second half, but we played nowhere near like I know we can."
Tolbert can take solace in the fact that it was a win away from home, and that's always big. His team just needs to win the games it should the rest of the way as it battles to maintain second place
Wooster led the entire first half until Savannah Smith made a layup with 27 seconds left to give Carson a 19-18 lead at the half. Carson went 7-for-25 from the floor and committed 13 turnovers.
"I have no idea what happened," said Carson forward Elena Thurman, who led Carson with 13 points. "That shouldn't have been happening. We weren't moving on defense."
"We didn't have players stepping up," Tolbert said. "We were doing our own thing."
Wooster scored the first basket of the second half, but Carson went on an 8-0 run to take a 27-20 lead with 4:44 left in the period.
Carly Bachmann started the surge with a 3-pointer and a basket. Thurman drained a free throw and Smith scored in the lane to cap the run.
Wooster, thanks to two baskets by Summer Dressler, fought back to 29-25 with 3:24 left. Carson closed the quarter with a 12-0 run sparked by Thurman and Maddi Saarem, who scored two baskets apiece, for a 41-25 lead after three. Wooster went 0-for-4 and turned the ball over five times in that span.
Carson continued its solid play in the fourth quarter, holding Wooster to just one field goal in the first six minutes.
Thurman started an 8-3 run with a layup, and after three Wooster free throws made it 43-30 with 6:20 left, Kayla Akins scored her only basket to make it 45-30. Gina Peacock and Smith finished the surge with a basket apiece to stretch the lead to 49-30 midway through the final period.
Wooster trimmed five points off that deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
Smith finished with eight points and Saarem added six.