Last week the Carson Senators were guilty of playing down to the level of North Valleys in a 50-41 win, and Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia admitted he was concerned the same thing might happen against Damonte Ranch.
And, thanks to a superior defensive effort that didn’t happen.
Carson held the Mustangs to single digits in three of the four quarters, and Tez Allen scored 20 points to lead the Senators to an easy 61-36 victory Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
Carson stayed unbeaten in league play, improving to 7-0 and 13-5 overall. The Senators take to the road Friday to play Wooster at 7 p.m.
The Senators forced Damonte Ranch into 24 turnovers resulting in 20 points, and the Mustangs shot an awful 29.7 percent from the floor. Defintely two stats that won’t win you any games.
“I thought the defense carried us,” Mendeguia said. “I was scared going into this week because I didn’t know our mental mindset. They know who we’re playing and what the record is, and you try to stress that they have to show up every game and play. We had two or three guys that didn’t have their best games, yet we still won by 25. That’s pretty good.”
Asa Carter had an of night shooting the ball, but still managed 13 points. Even he would tell you it easily could have been 25 if he shot the ball like he normally does. Jayden DeJoseph got in early foul trouble and finished with just four points, and Jace Keema went scoreless after failing to finish several times at the rim.
Fortunately, Allen and point guard Jared Rooker picked up the slack. Rooker finished with 10 points, two buckets in the opening quarter and three buckets in the third.
“We know Jared is capable of scoring,” Mendeguia said. “He is a facilitator on this time, and he embraces that role. Like he showed tonight, he can score when we need him to. Tez worked hard on defense, had a couple of steals that led to baskets. He played well.”
Carson came out in a three-quarter press, and then trapped the ball whenever it could. The Mustangs never knew what hit them. Carson scored 13 straight points on three buckets by Carter, two by Rooker and three Allen free throws.
“We were trying to trap and help,” Allen said. “They didn’t know what to do.”
“I think it bothered them a little bit,” Mendeguia said. “They were doing the same to us. Makes it tougher to get into your offense.”
Another key to the first quarter was the defense Carter played on the high-scoring Brett Cooper. Even when Carson played some zone, Carter was usually on Cooper’s side of the floor.
“Asa did a great job on him,” Allen said.
“Asa didn’t let his shooting detract from his defensive effort,” Mendeguia said. “He made Cooper work for everything.”
Cooper had two 3-pointers and went 6-for-6 at the line. Unofficially, he was 2-for-8 from the floor. There was contact on two or three of his jump shots, but Carson coaches felt Cooper wasn’t going straight up all the time.
Ccoper had nine of his 12 in the second quarter, all nine coming in the last four minutes of the half, which enabled the Mustangs to cut once was a 16-point lead down to nine, 33-24, at the half. “We played really well the first quarter, but it kind of got away from us the second quarter,” Allen said.
Rooker’s two quick buckets in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter made it 37-26, and Carson maintained a double-digit lead, 45-30, after three.
Damonte got a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, but Carson went on an 11-0 run, keyed by two Allen steals to open up a 23-point lead.