Carson boys basketball earns hard fought victory
The Carson High boys basketball team was like the kid who got all he could handle in a schoolyard fight.
Carson was like the kid who came away with a bloodied nose, a black eye, bruised and battered with his clothes torn to shreds. But then he tells his friends, “Yeah but you should see the other guy.”
And most importantly for the Senators they’re still standing in the Northern 4A playoff race. After South Tahoe came back to take the lead, Caleb Carter hit a clutch three-pointer to regain the advantage for the Senators and provided some clutch all-around play down the stretch in a 55-53 win at Morse Burley Gym on Saturday.
Carson (13-12, 6-6 in the Sierra League) kept pace with North Valleys in the race for the league’s fourth and final playoff spot. If the two teams end up tied they’ll have a playoff game the day before the zone tournament begins at Damonte Ranch to decide who receives the final playoff berth.
The Senators also had play without senior Zach Weismann, who was unable to play due to a previous commitment.
“We’re fighting for our lives,” said Carson coach Bruce Barnes, whose quote was about as appropriate as can be for the Senators right now. “We’re fighting for a playoff spot.”
Paul Cagle scored twice inside to give the Senators a 48-40 lead, but the Vikings kept chipping into the lead. They eventually took a 50-49 lead when K.J. Allister scored on a breakaway layup off of a steal.
But after struggling from the floor for much of the game, Carter responded with his three to make it 52-50. Carter then made a steal and found Will Holbert breaking to the basket and Holbert was fouled. Holbert made two clutch free throws with 38.9 seconds left to give Carson a 54-50 lead.
Carson then put on some stifling defense against the Vikings before committing an ill-advised foul with 14.7 seconds left. The Vikings made the first foul shot, missed the second, but scored on a putback to pull to within 54-53.
Carter was then fouled with 6.8 seconds left. He made the first foul shot, but missed the second. South Tahoe grabbed the rebound, but Rob Valerius was able to deflect a pass, taking precious seconds off the clock and the Vikings’ deseperation shot at the buzzer was well off.
“He’s a streak shooter,” said Barnes about Carter. “We tell him when he’s open he’s got to shoot the ball. I’m proud of him for taking a big shot like that.”
Another big reason why Carson won was the defense of Matt Rutledge on the Vikings’ leading scorer, Allister. With some help from Markus Adams, Allister was held to 10 points. Rutledge was able to shut down Allister along with taking care of much of the ball handling.
“We had to focus on him because he’s their go-to guy,” Barnes said. “He dictated a lot of our attention.
“He (Rutledge) did a great job. He’s our lock guy on everybody we play in the league – and has enough energy to bring it up for us.”
Zach Rispin found Valerius for a basket to give Carson a 9-7 lead to begin an 10-2 run. Holbert and Carter made back-to-back threes to make it 17-9. But after Carson switched to a zone, Allister nailed a three to cut the deficit to 17-15.
Rutledge ended the quarter by stealing the ball from Allister and scoring on a breakaway layup. He was fouled and converted the three-point play to make it 20-15.
Carson could never shake the Vikings never leading by more than eight points when Valerius scored on a drive to make it 42-34 in the third quarter.
Holbert scored 17 points, Cagle had 10 points, Carter and Rutledge each had nine points and Valerius added eight points.
CHS JVS WIN
After Carson (16-6, 8-4) was ahead 47-36 with two minutes, 29 seconds left and a parent was ejected from the gym the officials decided to call the game and credited CHS with the win, Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. Kyle Stone scored 14 points, Mitch Brantingham had seven points, Blake Moreland had six points, Nick Peternell had five points and Jeff Butler added four points.
CHS FROSH 55, SOUTH TAHOE 37
Beau Bickel scored 16 points, Patrick Smith and Ian Gunn each had nine points, Jeff Davies had eight points, Ean Witter had four points and Shayne Mooney, Josh Peacock, Caelen Sanders and Mike Lowes all added two points for Carson (17-3, 10-2).