RENO — McQueen High’s strategy of changing defenses proved no mystery to Carson High Friday night.
Simply put, the Senators carved up the Lancers’ defense like a sacrificial lamb, shooting 64 percent from the field en route to an easy 57-33 win at John Flynn Gymnasium in a Division I crossover game.
Asa Carter led the way with a season-best 20 points, while Ian Schulz added 13 and Kyle Steele and Tez Allen chipped in 10 each.
Carson improves to 4-2 in league and 7-6 overall heading into Tuesday’s Sierra League battle at Damonte Ranch. “I thought we did a good job at both ends of the court,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia. “Coach (John) Franklin does a good job of switching his defenses. We knew we’d see some 1-3-1, an extended 2-3 and a packed in 2-3. We didn’t see much full-court pressure. We were prepared for anything they threw at us. They like to get you out of rhythm, which is why they change defenses so much.”
McQueen had no answer for Carter, who had seven quick points in the first quarter and then tacked on 11 more in the third quarter when Carson opened up a 47-28 lead.
“Asa has been our most consistent player all year,” Mendeguia said. “He had a great football season, and its carried over to basketball. He is playing like an all-league player. He got and made some shots out of the short corner, and that opened up some things underneath for us.”
“I was getting a lot of open looks in the short corner, so I just took them,” Carter said. “Most of the time I’m concentrating on playing good defense and I get points when I can. Tonight I got a lot of open looks.”
Carter and Allen combined for 11 of Carson’s 17 first-quarter points. McQueen stayed close (14 after 1) on the strength of a couple of putbacks and its ability to penetrate Carson’s zone defense.
The Senators’ defense started to execute in the second quarter, holding the Lancers to just a putback by Tyrell Minor with 3:45 left which cut Carson’s lead to 20-16. Carson finished the half on an 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers by Steele and two free throws by Allen. McQueen went 0-for-2 and turned the ball over three times in that span.
The carnage continued in the second half, as Carson scored eight straight in the first 3:17 to open up a 36-16 lead. Allen broke free for two lay-ups, Carter added a putback and Jace Keema converted two free throws. Again, McQueen was hard pressed to penetrate, and when it did, shots didn’t fall.
“The key is to keep them out of the key,” Mendeguia said. “They have some quick guard who like to penetrate and then dish to somebody on the outside for an easy shot. We stopped them from doing that the last three quarters.”
After a 5-0 run that cut the lead to 36-21, Carson went on a 11-5 run to increase its lead to 47-26 with 52.8 left in the third quarter. Carter had nine of his 11 third-quarter points in that span, while Schulz, who has now scored in double figures two straight games, added the other bucket.
A 10-0 run over a 2 1/2-minute stretch of the fourth quarter gave Carson its biggest lead of the night, 57-29. Schulz keyed that spurt with six points.
“Ian is coming around,” Mendeguia said. ”We need our other big guys to start coming around.”