MINDEN --One of the few constants that has emerged out of the ever unpredictable Carson-Douglas basketball rivalry over the past several years is a simple, understandable fact: Each school struggles in the other's home gym.
It certainly held true Friday night as the Douglas boys basketball team cruised to a 54-35 thumping of the rival Senators.
Douglas built a respectable lead by scoring points in bunches through the first half, but kept the Senators off the scoreboard over the final two minutes of the second quarter while extending a 28-17 lead.
The Tigers broke the game wide open with its defense to start the third quarter, stretching the Carson scoring drought to nine full minutes while opening up a 39-17 lead.
A driving layup from guard Joe Syammach with 2:55 left in the third sealed the run, and essentially the win, as Douglas began subbing its reserves in liberally.
"I thought it was our best defensive effort of the season," Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. "Carson is a really great team, especially when it comes to running and executing their offensive sets.
"It's a compliment to our guys for taking them out of what they like to do. We give up 17 points in the first half, 18 in the second, that's a pretty good night. What I was happiest with was that the kids stuck together and talked through things. They knew what they needed to do and there was a cohesiveness there that we haven't seen to that extent."
For Carson it was the latest in a series of offensive nightmares while playing on Randy Green Court.
"We couldn't shoot it," Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. "We had our opportunities, the ball just didn't go in. I thought we played hard. I think rebounding was the key, but they did play good half-court defense.
"It's like I told the kids, when you play a team you're expected to beat you're going to have a higher shooting percentage compared to if you're playing teams like Douglas, Hug and Galena."
Since beating Douglas 55-50 in Minden in January 2010, Carson has cracked the 40-point mark only once in three meetings with the Tigers.
Douglas raced away with a 67-37 win early last season, and then led the Senators 48-4 at one point in the league game last year.
This year, the Tigers held Carson without a field goal over the first six minutes of the game and allowed just seven field goals over the first three quarters.
"They didn't score for a long period of time tonight," Thacker said. "That was huge for our guys. There's no real answer for why this happens, why they struggle here and why we tend to struggle there. It just seems to turn out that way. The next time, we have to throw everything out the window and play them straight up again. We know it'll be a battle when we see them up there."
Douglas' Hunter Myers led all scorers with 16 points. He added 18 rebounds while Austin Evans put up 13 points. From there, Douglas chipped away at the scoreboard from different outlets as Pat Johnson scored six, Syammach had five, James Herrick had four, Jaden Wass and Michael Nolting each had three and AJ Pfaffenberger scored two.
Carson's Rafe King scored 11 points and Matt Nolan added 10.
The Tigers took early control of the game, running up an 8-1 lead punctuated by a big alley-oop dunk from Myers off a nice lob from Johnson.
Johnson later hit a 3-pointer and Syammach put up a two to help Douglas out to a 14-3 lead.
Carson battled back, though, getting a pair of baskets from King and another from Alan Cohen. The 6-0 run brought the Senators to within five at 14-9 early in the second quarter. Carson would never get any closer.
Austin Evans hit a 3-pointer to push Douglas back out, but starters Herrick and Nolting each drew their third foul within a minute of each other, forcing both to take a seat.
Douglas clawed out a 5-2 stretch, though, on baskets from Myers and Evans and a free throw from Syammach.
"It showed that all 12 guys were into the game, no matter what is happening," Thacker said. "They were all sticking to what they were supposed to do. They knew someone had to step up and give us what we needed at every turn."
Carson got four points each out of Cohen and Charlie Banfield, three from Austin Shaffer, two each from Sage Smith and Kyle Steele and one from Bruce MacIntosh.
Douglas extended its win streak to six and improved to 12-6 overall, 8-1 in Northern Division I.
The Tigers will travel to Wooster tonight. Carson plays at Galena this afternoon.
"Wooster is a tough place to play," Thacker said. "We talked about it all week, we knew we had to put together three games this week. We have to build on tonight and get better tomorrow."