Carson High’s basketball team completed a first-round sweep of the Sierra League with a narrow 45-41 win over arch-rival Douglas Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson improved to 5-0 in Sierra League play and 9-2 overall heading into Friday’s road battle against co-leader Galena at 7 p.m. Carson beat Galena, 47-43, in the first meeting between the teams.
“It was your typical Carson-Douglas game,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said.
Translation. A physical, but not pretty game. Players get caught up in the emotion of the rivalry, and the result is a disjointed game sans much fluidity.
Two free throws by Tez Allen with 2:50 left and a lay-up by Trent Robison with 28 seconds left enabled CHS to hold off the upset-minded Tigers.
Carson suffered through three lengthy scoring droughts.
The Senators didn’t score in the final 4:17 of the first half, went 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter without a point, and four minutes without a point in the fourth quarter. It’s amazing that the Senators were still able to pull this one out. Mendeguia credited a staunch defensive effort.
“We hang our hat on our defense,” Mendeguia said. “When we’re having trouble scoring, if we’re playing good defense that evens it out, We stopped executing offensively and got complacent (at times).”
The Senators used an 11-5 run at the outset of the second quarter to build a 26-13 lead with 4:17 left. Allen (17 points) scored six straight CHS points and Jayden DeJoseph (18 points) scored the final five.
Carson turned the ball over five straight times without a shot, The saving grace is the Tigers only scored one bucket down the stretch and still walked off the floor staring at a double-digit deficit, 26-15.
“We played good defense (at the end of the half),” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. “It was (big) not being able to cut into the lead.”
“We were up at the half, and I told the team I wasn’t comfortable,” Mendeguia said. “They were down 14 against Galena and went on a 13-1 run and sent the game into overtime.”
The Tigers’ defense continued to shine in the third quarter, holding Carson to just a basket and free throw over the first five minutes of the second half.
Douglas’ offense stated to fire on all cylinders, and it took the Tigers just 3 1/2 minutes to score 12 unanswered points to tie the game at 29.
Ryan Barnes drained two 3-pointers, Tre Jackson scored on a driving lay-up, Josh Meza nailed two free tosses and Dalton Davis scored.
“We did a good job defensively in the third quarter,” Thacker said. “We were able to get some opportunities, and we converted them. We ran our stuff very well.”
Carson got a transition flush from DeJoseph to break the tie, and the Senators went onto grab a 37-34 lead after three despite being outscored 19-11 in the quarter. Taylor Saarem also drained a big 3-pointer from the left corner.
The Tigers wouldn’t go away, however.
Baskets by DeJoseph and Allen gave Carson a 41-34 lead with 6:46 left in the game, but two free throws by Meza and a flush by Jackson made it 41-38 with 5:44 left.
Both teams struggled over the next four minutes, as defenses dominated. Allen sank two free throws to make it 43-38, but Kaden Christensen came back with a 3-ball to make it 43-31.
Each team failed to score on its ensuing possession, and Robison gave the Senators some breathing room, 45-41, with 28 seconds left off a sensational pass by Geraet Rauh.
“That was a very big play,” Mendeguia said.
Jackson turned the ball over on the Tigers’ next possession. Brandon Gagnon was fouled, and when he missed the front end of a 1-and-1,
Douglas was still in business with 17 seconds left. Christensen misfired with about 7 seconds left, and Carson was able to corral the rebound as time ran out.
“Carson is a good team,” Thacker said. “They execute their stuff well.
“We didn’t have that (the ability to come back). That is something that has developed over the last month. The kids are hungry, and they work really hard.”