It took a buzzer-beating putback by Alan Cohen to beat Douglas, 54-52, in overtime back on Jan. 21. Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia would love to have the same result without the stress.
“We’ve had a couple of good days of practice,” said Mendeguia, whose team visits the Tigers tonight at 7. “We expect a hostile environment. Douglas is always a tough place to play; tough place to win. It should be an exciting game. We’re going to play our style — play hard on defense and run our offense.”
Carson is 9-6 entering the contest while Douglas is 8-7. Carson needs a win to have a chance to move into the second spot which would give the Senators a first-round home playoff game. Damonte, 10-5, is a game ahead of Carson and plays Galena tonight.
The Senators’ focal point on defense will be 6-foot 10-inch James Herrick, who scored 16 points in the first meeting. Carson tried several different strategies defensively, and one would expect the same tonight.
“He’s much bigger than anybody we have,” Mendeguia said. “He’s made himself into a good player. We can’t guard him with one guy in the block. We’ll do our best to keep him off balance.
“We just can’t solely worry about him. They have other guys that can shoot the ball like Sam Broersma, Pat Johnson, Austin Evans and (A.J.) Pfaffenberger.”
Broersma scored 11 in the last game, but was hampered by foul trouble. Johnson played well and scored 12 points.
Expect Carson to throw 6-foot 6-inch Brandon Ruf in at Herrick once in a while. Ruf is coming off a 12-point effort against Wooster, and he’s the biggest body that Carson has.
“It will depend on the situation,” Mendeguia said. “I’m sure we’ll bring him in to bump him (Herrick) around a little bit.”
GIRLS: Douglas has already locked up second place and a first-round home playoff game. Carson and Damonte are both 8-7 and tied for third. If both Carson and Damonte win, the tie-breaker could be the second head-to-head meeting between DR and CHS which the Senators won.
Douglas, 11-4, won the first meeting, 41-35. Douglas bolted to a quick 10-0 lead, but had to hold off a late Carson rally.
“It’s Carson and Douglas,” Carson coach Nate Tolbert said. “It will come down to who wants it the most. We need to control our emotions better. We didn’t do that the last time.”
Madison Preston and Michelle Perry are coming off double-digit scoring efforts against Wooster.
Tip-off for the girls is 5:15 p.m. today.