Even with a few remaining regular season games to be played, it’s been a historic year for the Carson girls basketball team.
The Senators took down Reno for the first time in at least the last 14 years earlier this season and they’re currently on pace to be the best defensive team Carson has seen since MaxPreps started tracking stats (2006).
This season Carson is allowing an average of 38.7 points per game,which is nearly 2.5 point per contest better than any Senator season since 2006-07.
In six of their 14 wins this season, the Senators have held their opponents under 30 points.
There are plenty of factors behind Carson’s success on the defensive end of the floor, but the team’s attitude toward forcing turnovers largely encapsulates why the Senators have been so good at shutting teams down.
“My favorite thing is getting steals. I love it. I live for it,” said Carson senior forward Camryn Quilling. “My first thought is heck yeah, let’s go we got another one.”
“When Naycy (Alvarez) or Lily (Bouza) gets it, its like ‘oh she got this,’” said junior Abby Golik.
Speed and aggressiveness
Carson hasn’t had many issues this season where the Senators’ speed on the floor has been unable to make up for their lack of height in the post.
In fact, the quickness and athleticism of the Senators is the main reason why Carson thinks it has one of the best defenses in Northern Nevada.
“I think our quickness really fights with other people’s tallness. You can have a team full of tall people, but we’re still going to beat you down the court,” said Golik.
Though not every team inputs stats onto MaxPreps, Senator senior point guard Lily Bouza currently sits third in Class 4A across the state in steals this season with 92.
Her teammates aren’t far behind her pace as Quilling had tallied 78 steals as of Tuesday afternoon, while Bella Kordonowy and Golik had 53 and 52 steals, respectively.
Fellow starter and Carson junior Alvarez has 40 steals to her credit this season.
In total, Carson has poked loose 372 steals this season for an average of 19.5 steals per contest – nearly five more steals per game than a year ago.
All five starters as well as several members of the bench have shown just how important stealing possessions are to the Senators as everyone has gone diving after loose balls on the floor.
Even inside the paint where it looks like Carson has a disadvantage, the speed and strength of the post players have taken over and kept teams at bay.
“I think Bella and I are as strong as any post we’ve been against,” said Quilling. “I think our defense can play with anybody and I feel like we’ve proved that.”
The Senators’ speed is tough to teach, but defensive work ethic has been a staple in practice all year long and head coach Doug Whisler has stated that as Carson has entered its biggest games of the season, practice has shifted heavily to the team’s strongest trait.
Intensity levels get raised in those practices and the Senators have taken notice.
“I think Whisler pushes us more, especially on practices before big game days because he just wants us to do our best,” said Quilling. “I think the subs do a really good job at working. They’re as aggressive as we are at times, so it’s a good competition for us.”
“You can really tell when the intensity in practice is really high. Our coaches expect a lot from us,” added Golik.
This week’s practices have been no different as Carson’s only two league losses have come at the hands of Bishop Manogue and Damonte Ranch, both of whom the Senators will see this week on the hardwood.
Eyeing the future
Several members of the team have admitted that winning a game or two in regionals is the main goal for this season, which follows the suit of the team’s online mantra – #RoadToRegionals.
With a few important Sierra League tilts remaining on the schedule, Carson isn’t getting too ahead of itself.
However, the cautious optimism has dated back to the end of last year when Whisler and assistant coach John Paulson had a feeling this Senator team was going to be different.
“We saw it at the end of last year,” said Whisler. “We thought last year and the end of the year, next year ‘we’re going to do some damage.’”
Though the final tally on that damage dealt is yet to be seen, the Senators know how dominant their defense has been and will continue to be.
“I think that our quickness and our ability to read the ball on the court just really helps on defense because teams don’t even see us coming,” Golik said. “We play some of the best defense in the league, if not the best.”