Wins have been hard to come by for Carson High’s boys basketball team this year.
So when you end your season with two straight wins, including a season-ending victory over your archrival, you can walk away feeling much better about yourself.
The Senators, thanks to double-figure efforts from seniors Derek Barry, Abel Carter and Trent Robison, were all smiles Friday after holding off a late rally by Douglas, 51-46, on Senior Night at Morse Burley Gym.
This one wasn’t pretty, but Douglas-Carson games rarely are. In fact, Carson almost let a six-point lead with 36 seconds left get away.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Carter, who scored 15 points, tying him with Barry for top honors. “Even though we didn’t make the playoffs this year, it’s a satisfying win.”
“It feels really good,” Carson coach Jordan Glover said. “We talked about leaving everything on the floor tonight. An opportunity to play one more game together.”
Carson grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter and never relinquished it even though there were some scary moments in the final period.
Douglas’ Kane Hoyopatubbi dropped in a basket to cut Carson’s lead to 41-37 with 1:40 left in regulation. However, he turned around and committed an intentional foul, giving Carson two free throws and the ball.
Robison made both free throws with 1:04 left to make it 43-37. Carter had a chance to extend the lead on the ensuing possession, but he missed both free throws. Carson got the offensive rebound after the second miss, and Barry was fouled and made one of two at the line to make it 44-37 with 58 seconds left.
A 3-pointer cut Carson’s lead to 44-40. Dawson Lamb was fouled and made both shots, extending the lead to 46-40 with 36.7 left.
Then came the play that enabled Douglas to stay in the game. Robison tried to intercept a pass about 25 feet from the basket. Austin Clutts grabbed it and heaved it toward the basket as Robison crashed into him. The ball banked in for a 3-pointer, and Clutts drained the ensuing free throw to make it 46-44 with 26.7 left.
“He (Clutts) just threw it up,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said after the contest. “The guy was all over him.”
Barry caught the ensuing long inbounds pass, laid the ball in and was fouled by Clutts. Barry knocked in the free throw to make it 49-44.
“We just missed him (Barry),” Thacker said.
Douglas turned the ball over, and Robison flushed it home with authority for a 51-44 lead with 9 seconds left.
What was interesting is that the biggest plays of the game were turned in by Carson’s senior starters — Carter, Barry and Robison. The latter scored 10.
“Senior leadership,” Carter said. “We’ve preached that all year. Guys have to step up and they did tonight.”
Carter had one of his best games of the season with 15 points, 11 coming in the first half when the Senators walked off the floor with a 24-18 lead.
“I played pretty well,” Carter said. “I made some mistakes, but I definitely helped more than I hurt.”
Barry took over in the second half, scoring nine of his 15 in the last 16 minutes.
Still, it almost wasn’t enough to keep the Tigers away from a season sweep. Ian Ozolins and Clutts were key figures for the Tigers, scoring 11 and 10, respectively.
“They outworked us and outhustled us,” Thacker said. “They got after it. We battled the last eight minutes.”
The Tigers’ season continues next week with the playoffs.
“We have to quickly turn the page and get ready for Spanish Springs.”