Never mind the Carson Senators took over sole possession of second-place in the Sierra League girls basketball race Tuesday night with a 42-32 win against rival Douglas.
More important to coach Melissa Larsen was the way the Senators won, with a team effort and coming from behind in the second half at Tom Andreasen Court.
“This was a team win,” said Larsen, whose squad is now riding a three-game win streak. “They showed team leadership, and they won as a team. That’s what was important to me.”
Carson (5-6 league, 10-10 overall) scored 15 unanswered points during a span of 6 minutes, 9 seconds bridging the third and fourth quarters to turn a 26-19 deficit into a 34-27 lead. Douglas (4-7, 7-13) never came any closer than four points the rest of the way.
Bella Kordonowy scored a personal season-high 22 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 13 rebounds (five offensive).
The freshman forward shot 5-for-6 from the free throw line inside the final four minutes to help close out the win.
“Bella hit some big free throws at the end,” Larsen said. “That’s how you win games, by hitting your free throws.”
Larsen felt the deciding factor, though, was Carson’s ability to move the ball and take it to the basket.
“We started strong by attacking the basket, moving the ball well and making good passes,” the coach said. “But then we went away from what was working for us.”
Douglas trailed 14-12 at halftime, however, the Tigers stormed back with a 14-2 run of their own in the third quarter. Freshman Taylynn Kizer ignited the surge when she drained a pair of 3-pointers and converted a steal into a breakaway layup. Then Madi Smalley scored on a putback to give the Tigers a 26-19 lead with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Douglas proceeded to turn the ball over on six successive possessions, however, and was unable to capitalize after a technical was called on the Carson bench with 1:17 to go in the third quarter.
After Douglas missed both free throws, Abbey Paulson hit a baseline jumper off an assist from Kordonowy then Alyssa Street took a pass from Haley Garver and drove for a buzzer-beating layup as the Senators pulled within 26-25.
“After the technical, the team came together and decided they were going to take this game,” Larsen said. “They did that themselves. They decided they were going to take care of the ball and get back to doing the things that got them the lead in the first place.”
Lauren Lemburg buried a 3-pointer, assisted by Paulson, to extend Carson’s lead to 34-27 with 4:32 to go. Lemburg finished the night with 11 points, including a pair of second-half 3-pointers.
The Senators also adjusted their 2-1-2 zone defense and moved Paulson outside to shadow Kizer.
Kizer converted one more 3-pointer the rest of the way — a shot assisted by Alexa Moss with 4:14 left — and finished the night with 14 points.
Hannah Carr and Hailey Hughes contributed six points each for the Tigers.