SPARKS — It was a grueling task. Six games in four days, including doubleheaders on Thursday and Friday nights.
Carson High’s boys basketball team passed with flying colors winning all six contests, including Saturday’s 70-55 win over Placer in the championship game of the annual Rail City Classic at Sparks High School.
Carson now sits at 7-2 entering the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Carson plays Cathedral Catholic in its opening contest.
“I knew we had the potential to do it, it was just a matter if we executed,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “When you go 6-0, you’re obviously happy. We’ve played 12 games in three days in summer tournaments, so I physically knew we could do it. It’s why I set up the schedule like I did, to challenge the kids mentally and get them ready for the playoffs.
“The Thursday and Friday night (crossover) games were key. That was our mindset. Those are the ones we wanted the most.”
Carson didn’t exactly burn it up against Lovelock (Thursday afternoon) and Hug (Friday night), but played well in beating Silver Stage (Wednesday), Spanish Springs (Thursday night) and Dougherty Valley (Friday afternoon).
The win over Placer was good, but not as good as the wins over Spanish Springs and Dougherty Valley.
The win over Placer wasn’t pretty. The Senators turned the ball over 24 times, but did force 26 Placer mistakes.
“We have to learn to finish games,” Mendeguia said. “We get a lead and get complacent; lazy with the ball. We weren’t protecting the ball in the triple-threat position. We have to clean that up.”
Mendeguia was pleased with his team’s defensive effort. Other than 6-8 Jerry Lillis (21 points), CHS kept the Hillmen in check.
Carson had two big runs during the game — a 10-0 run in the first quarter and an 18-6 surge in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter.
The second one was the most critical, because Placer had trimmed a 44-34 lead to 44-39 after a 3-pointer by Xavier Lovelance and two free throws by Jordan Ferreira.
Tez Allen (16 points) fed tournament MVP Asa Carter (25 points) for a lay-up, and after a Placer turnover, Carter scored again. Placer misfired on its next possession, and Allen scored on a lay-up to make it 50-39 with 6:24 remaining.
Ryan Jenkins, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, made it 50-41 with a lay-up.
Carson was back on the attack, scoring 14 of the next 16 points to make it 64-43.
Placer started to pick Carson up full court, and the Senators found the openings.
Carter was the main beneficiary, sneaking past the Placer defense for three lay-ups. Jared Rooker (10 points) had a basket and two free throws in that stretch.
“Placer started extending its zone and got aggressive coming up (on the press), and that opened up the middle. Asa is good in the open court like that,” Mendeguia said.
“I like to run the floor, and then slide back past the defense,” Carter said.
Mendeguia cleared the bench once, but brought the starters back when the Senators’ reserves couldn’t handle the Placer pressure.
Allen keyed the quick first-quarter run scoring eight in the first quarter.
Lillis, Placer’s 6-8 center, took over in the second quarter, scoring 13 of his team’s 15. Carson used Allen and Ian Schulz on him to no avail.
“Placer is like a mirror image of us,” Mendeguia said. “They have a good inside-out game. We knew Lillis was going to get his points. Asa did a good job on (Derek) Haney.” Carter helped hold Haney without a feld goal and two points total.