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Carson girls lose pair of tight games in Las Vegas tourney

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

Free throw woes plagued the Carson Senators girls basketball team Saturday in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.

Carson went 7-of-20 in losing 38-36 to Mount Zion (S.C.) in the opener and 14-of-31 in a 57-52 double overtime loss to Palo Verde.

Sophomore guard Natalie Stevens converted 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to tie the game with Mount Zion at 36-36 with 10 seconds remaining, but Mount Zion made a bucket to go ahead.

Carson coach Todd Ackerman said Carson got back down the floor, but was unable to get a good shot off in time.

“Neither team shot the ball well,” Ackerman said.

Junior guard Gina Bianchi scored a team-high 15 points for Carson, which was without senior Brandi Vega, who had other commitments.

Elayna Shine scored five points and Blaike King and Yvonne Hollett each added four in the loss.

Bianchi had a team-high 19 points against Palo Verde and got some help from King, who added 11.

Shine chipped in six and Bre Anderson four as Carson drove the length of the floor to tie the game at 48-48 and force the first overtime.

After both teams scored three points apiece in the first OT, it was all Palo Verde in the second overtime.

The Panthers outscored the Senators 6-1 in the final frame.

Carson is now 6-4 on the season.

“We played well for the most part,” Ackerman said. “It was just some mental stuff. There was no boxing out, and we were allowing too many second shots.”

Carson trailed Palo Verde, 29-24, at the half, but outscored the Panthers 13-11 in the third quarter and 11-8 in the fourth to force the first overtime.

Carson will take today off before resuming the tournament with two games on Monday and one more on Tuesday.

“We obviously need to play and play and get some other kids some (time),” Ackerman said of using the out-of-town games to prepare for league games. “We can try some different things, put some kids in different spots and see how they react.”

Ackerman said the tight games the Senators had on Saturday would pay dividends in similar circumstances down the road.

“We may not be winning the close games now, but it will make us better when we play (up North) and get in some close games,” Ackerman said. “We’ll have the experience of going two OTs and everything like that. It’s a learning process.”

As such, Ackerman said the Senators should be motivated for the rest of this tournament.

“This time we came up on the short end. Hopefully we learned something and the next time around we’ll be better and get the win,” he said.

The Senators meet Green Valley (12:30 p.m.) and South Anchorage (Alaska) at 7:10 p.m. in their Monday games.