Two vastly different Carson High girl’s basketball teams showed up at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson coach Nathan Tolbert liked the one that played the first 16 minutes of the Sierra League contest, and with good reason. The Senators handled Bishop Manogue’s full-court pressure well and built a 5-point halftime lead.
The second half was vastly different. Carson came up empty on its first 10 possessions of the second half, and the Brianna Holt-led Miners caught fire and rolled to an easy 63-47 victory Friday night.
“We’ve got to learn how to win,” Tolbert said of his team, which has lost five of its last six games following a 1-4 effort in Southern California over the holidays. “It (the game) starts to get hard and they let down. We went away from what we were supposed to be doing.
“We started the second half with five turnovers (and the two missed shots). This was a game we were capable of winning.”
Manogue, which improved to 3-0 in league play, outscored Carson 35-14 in the final two periods. Holt scored 17 of her game-high 33 in the final two periods. Simply put, she was a one-person show, and the Senators had no answer for her defensively.
Conversely, the Miners had an answer for Savannah Smith, whose 15 points carried Carson to a 33-28 halftime edge. Smith and Lindy Lehman combined for 23 of Carson’s 33 first-half points.
Manogue started the second half by double-teaming Smith to limit her touches. The Carson star added just one basket before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Carson missed its first two shots to start the second half, then turned the ball over on its next five possessions and concluded five-minute drought by missing three straight shots. It was an ugly span to be sure, and the Miners made CHS pay with seven straight points en route to a 35-33 lead with 3:38 left in the third quarter. Madison Lewis started the surge with a putback and finished it with a layup.
Smith tied the game at 35 with her only bucket of the second half, and Holt drained two free throws to make it 37-35. Gina Peacock (8 points) re-tied the game at 37 with a putback. Holt then scored the game’s next seven points for a 44-37 lead after three quarters. Holt got to the basket at will, and if she had room, drained outside shots.
“Our game plan was to stop Savannah,” said Manogue coach Craig Holt. “My team doesn’t know how to play hard coming out of the gate. Savannah had a great first half, and we didn’t play well. I thought we controlled her the second half. We denied the ball. She is their best player, and their offense runs through her. I don’t like to do that. I would have rather stayed man-to-man instead, but we didn’t execute in the first half.”
Tolbert was disappointed with the execution his team showed in the final 16 minutes, both in handling Manogue’s defense and stopping Brianna Holt.
“We worked on that (executing versus the double-team) in practice,” Tolbert said. “We went 6-on-5. We knew what they were going to do; we knew it was coming. We started to play too careful and stopped attacking in the second half. We know what to do. We execute it in practice, but it doesn’t carry over to the game.
“We worked on defensive rotation. It comes down to execution. We didn’t do what we needed to do.”
Manogue used two 3-pointers by Hannah Santos (11 points) and two driving layups by Holt for a quick 11-6 lead. However, Carson scored 14 of the next 17 points for a 20-14 first-quarter lead. Lehman had six of her eight in that surge while Smith added two buckets.
Smith got hot in the second quarter, scoring nine of Carson’s 13 points as Carson led by as few as two and by as many as eight in the second period. Lehman capped the half with her final basket of the game to make it 33-28.
“Lindy scored all last week,” Tolbert said. “She’s getting more time definitely.”
Carson hosts McQueen on Tuesday.