RENO — What a difference a couple of days makes.
Last week, Carson suffered through a three-point first half and played from behind most of the way in its 29-23 win over McQueen.
On Tuesday, it was a completely different story. Carson only trailed for 1-minute 12-seconds en route to posting a 50-34 victory over host Damonte Ranch in the Sierra League opener for both teams.
Carson improved to 4-3 in league and 9-8 overall heading into Friday’s 5:15 p.m. matchup at home against Wooster.
Damonte led three different times — 2-0, 4-3 and 17-16 — the latter score was at the end of the first quarter. The Mustangs did play without front-line star Morgan Waller, and Carson coach Nathan Tolbert admitted that made his team’s job a little easier.
“Everything they do usually goes through her,” Tolbert said. “Megan (Carlson) stepped up for them. She was a tough player.
“I thought we played a solid game throughout. We didn’t make a lot of huge mistakes. We slowed down a little defensively at the end of the first half, and we really can’t afford to do that. The key to our success is picking up the tempo defensively, and not slapping at balls. We need to get to the (loose) balls.”
It was a bizarre first quarter to say the least.
Carson went on a 13-0 run, eight of those points coming off Damonte’s mistakes. Maddie Preston had seven in that stretch, while Kayla Aikins added a couple of baskets and Michelle Perry knocked down a 3-pointer.
Damonte bounced right back with 13 straight of its own to end the quarter, Kyra Bruesewitz knoecked down two treys to lead the surge.
The teams slowed down offensively in the second quarter. The game was tied at 19 when Carson ripped off nine straight points in the final 4:53 to take a 28-19 lead at the half. Preston scored the first five in the surge, while Melissa Glanzmann and Teresa Boehmer added a bucket apiece. Tolbert was happy to see five different players scored in the first half even though Preston had more than half of the team’s points.
“When the team is scoring, the other team can’t totally focus on Maddie,” Tolbert said. “Kayla came out on fire tonight and so did Michelle. Melissa scored a couple, too.”
Carson stretched its lead to 37-21 with a nice 9-2 run over the first five minutes of the second half. Aikins opened the scoring with a bucket, Preston added five straight points and Perry knocked down two free throws. A basket by Boehmer made it 39-24 after three.
Damonte chopped the lead to 39-30 early in the fourth quarter on back-to-back treys by Bruesewitz. After exchanging turnovers, Carson put the game away with an 8-0 run to make it 47-30 with 2:25 left. Perry had a basket and free throw, Bailey Allen drained two free throws, Preston had a free throw and Lulu Street scored her only basket of the contest.