Carson boys take care of McQueen

Senator Jace Keema saves the ball from going out of bounds this season at home against the McQueen Lancers.

Senator Jace Keema saves the ball from going out of bounds this season at home against the McQueen Lancers.

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Make no mistake about it, the Carson Senators are the team to beat entering the meaty part of the season.

The Senators won their 11th game of the year and swept the High Desert League portion of their schedule with a surprisingly easy 53-40 win over McQueen Friday night at Morse Burley Gym,

Carson, 6-0 in league play, heads into the Sierra League portion of its schedule Tuesday night with a home game against Damonte Ranch. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

“We have a bullseye on our back,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said after the victory. “The one thing I see is the team gaining confidence. The kids are buying in, and it’s easier to get them to buy in when you’re 6-0.

“Personally I’d rather be the underdog. We beat a good team. McQueen is a playoff team, and they are going to contend with Reno and Spanish Springs for the top seed on the other side.”

It wasn’t a close game after the first quarter, and thanks to the scoring of Jayden DeJoseph (23) and Asa Carter (16), the Senators had a double-digit lead much of the rest of the ballgame.

DeJoseph enjoyed his best game of the season, scoring 13 in the first half and adding 10 more in the second half.

“My teammates got me the ball (in good places), and we executed our offense,” DeJoseph said after the contest. “That’s about it.”

It was more than enough.

“As a coach, I always think you can play better,” Mendeguia said. “I have set such a high ceiling for Jayden, and I always want more. He did a tremendous job tonight.”

DeJoseph had nine of Carson’s first 13 points which set the stage. Most of his baskets were inside 10 feet, though he did knock down one 3-pointer in the first quarter which ended with the Senators holding onto a 16-14 lead.

Carson ran off eight straight points for a 24-14 lead, and the Lancers ended a five-minute scoreless drought with a bucket from 6-10 Octavian Corley which made it 24-16. Carson went into the locker room with a 27-17 lead, as the Lancers managed just three points in the quarter.

Corley, thanks to some solid defense by the Senators, was a non-factor throughout. He finished with a team-leading nine points, well below is team-best 16.6 per contest.

“He was our main focus,” Mendeguia said. “He had been averaging a double-double. We made sure we knew where he was at all the time. I think we did frustrate him a little bit. We were physical, and he doesn’t like that.”

That was evident, and the Lancers played a lot of the fourth quarter without him because he was so ineffective.

Twice McQueen cut the lead to eight in the third period, 29-21 and 31-23, but Carson always seemed to answer with a bucket by Carter or DeJoseph.

DeJoseph had a nice three-point play to make it 34-23. Carter drove the lane and had his shot rejected by Corley, but DeJoseph corraled the ball, dropped it in the hoop and was fouled. He sank the ensuing foul shot to get the double-digit lead. Corley had a slam dunk on the next possession, but two baskets by Carter made it 38-25 with 2:34 remaining. Corley scored on a putback, but DeJoseph answered via a nice pass from Tez Allen to get the lead back to 13. McQueen scored the last three points of the quarter to make it 40-30 after three.

Three points from DeJoseph and a bucket by Allen made it 45-30, and the Lancers never got closer than nine.

Defense was, as usual, critical for the Senators, who rarely win pretty. The Senators are grinders at both ends of the floor. McQueen didn’t have a player in double figures, and the Senators forced the Lancers into 17 turnovers which translated to 20 CHS points.

Despite going undefeated thus far in league play, both DeJoseph or Mendeguia know the road is going to get tougher.

“Our practices (are usually) very intense,” DeJoseph said. “Yeah I think the Sierra League is better right now, but we just have to keep preparing for every game, and we may see McQueen again.”

“I don’t think (tonight) means we have an edge on McQueen,” Mendeguia said. “We have to work on our consistency and make plays. There is a lot of parity in our league, and any team can beat any team.”


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