Melissa Larsen wants to make Carson High relevant in girls basketball again.
It’s why she applied for the job when Nathan Tolbert resigned following last year’s 12-15 record.
Larsen was part of two CHS state titles under former coach Alana Williams, and she’d like nothing more than to guide the Senators to a league or regional championship.
Carson has been a yearly entrant in the Division I playoffs, but more often than not, the Senators are first-round losers. Williams wants to change the landscape of the sport at CHS.
“It’s an awesome feeling to come home and get to be a head coach at the same school where I learned so much about the game from coach Williams,” she said before a recent practice. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
“We’re building a program. It’s not going to happen right away. My goal is to get a banner.”
And, like anything new, it will be a process. Larsen is putting her own stamp on things. Expect the Senators to have a new look; to be different.
“We are going to be more disciplined,” Larsen said. “We are going to run a different defense. We are going to be a defensive team. Our defense is going to spur on our offense.”
Past Carson teams tried to play full-court pressure, but never truly had the personnel to do it. No doubt this year’s team will use some pressure, but it also will trap a bit and play some zone, too.
Offensively, the Senators have to find a way to replace Maddie Preston and Michelle Perry, who combined for 21 points a game last season.
Offense, according to Larsen, is the last thing that’s coming around, but that’s not surprising. Defense is about desire, and nothing else.
“On offense, we’re going to work the ball for the best shot,” Larsen said. “We are going to run our offense through, and not just put up a shot. We’re going to be doing a lot of screening and moving without the ball. We’re trying to make the offense a little easier.”
Larsen said the fact she has several soccer players on the roster took away open gym time, hence the reason offense would be the last thing to come around.
Larsen has eight returnees — Andrea Maffei, Melissa Glanzmann, Bri Alvarado, Ivy Pembrooke, Taylor Weddell, Lulu Street and Ari Schmidt.
New to the varsity squad are Molly and Mallory Otto, Sophia and Julia Ruedy and Josie Share. Freshman Haley Garver and junior Lindy Lehman, who played as a freshman and sat out last year, round out the squad.
Glanzmann will start at the point, Lehman will be at center and Maffei will be at off guard. All three will start, leaving the last two spots up for grabs.
“She (Garver) will get some time, but she has to compete,” Larsen said. “She wants to be here. She gives us size (6-footer) in the paint.
“It’s great to have Lindy back. She works hard, and she is physical. Melissa passes the ball well.”