Carson boys defeat South Tahoe
Appeal Sports Writer
Pick your poison: Clap on, clap off. Jekyl and Hyde. Up and down. Hot and cold.
They would all be a fairly accurate description of the energy the Carson boys basketball team brings on a particular night, but on Saturday the Senators were definitely on top of their game and chopped down South Tahoe, 57-42, at Morse Burley Gym.
Coming off a 77-65 loss to North Valleys on Friday, Carson found whatever element it needed to play an energetic – yet controlled – game against the Vikings, who were coming off a 57-48 victory over Douglas.
“I think they were stronger, more physical and had more energy than we did,” South Tahoe coach Derek Allister said of Carson. “They got into us out of the gate. We struggled throughout. We didn’t play well, but they had a lot to do with that.”
Just as it did in wins against Douglas and Wooster (and in an inspired effort in a loss to Hug), Carson came out fast and took a 10-0 lead courtesy of seniors Steve Mandoki and Kevin Brush. Mandoki had a long jumper and a layup and Brush had a steal, converted a three-point play and then stroked a 3-pointer to give Carson the only lead it would ever need.
The Senators stayed in the Sierra League playoff race and improved to 3-3 in league play and 9-10 overall. South Tahoe slipped to 11-7, 4-2.
“They showed they had character tonight,” said Carson coach Bruce Barnes. “The starting group showed they weren’t happy with their performance (Friday). They played as well and controlled as they can play. They shot the ball well.”
Brush had a team-high 14 points, senior guard Adam Houghton added nine, and Mandoki and senior center Jake Jeffers each had eight for Carson.
South Tahoe’s Jared Wood led all scorers with 20 and 6-foot-8 senior center Joel Keegan contributed 10 for the Vikings.
“Bruce is one of the best coaches around,” Allister said. “He got his kids to play hard. That’s the best I’ve seen them shoot it. We’ve been on a run lately, but you can’t play well every night. We ran into a buzz saw.”
When Keegan drove in to the hoop to cut the Senators’ lead to 13-9, Houghton heated up and scored all nine of his points in a span of 4 minutes and 36 seconds to push the lead to 22-14 early in the second quarter.
“Adam got us going on some breakaways,” Barnes. “Everybody contributed defensively. We were worried about (Vikings senior guard Conner) Freeman going in, but Kevin held him to two points.”
After a Brush layup made it 24-14, the Senators began to slow down their game and emphasize ball control and taking good shots. The strategy resulted in a 26-18 haltime lead, which Brush bumped up to 29-18 with a trey early in the third. A pair of threes – one each by Brush and junior forward Zach Weismann – gave Carson its largest lead (41-21) with 3:43 to go in the third.
The Senators also went up by 20 (54-34) when freshman guard Matt Rutledge converted on a free throw with 1:22 to go in the game.
But by no means was Carson doing all of its work offensively. Senior forward Jack Jacquet – alll 6-foot-2 of him – stuffed the much larger and taller Keegan when the latter tried to muscle in for a layup. Jacquet also scored seven points.
“Jack made a good move when he (Keegan) was coming to the basket,” Barnes said of the stuff. “He’s been sick. They were the first quality minutes he’s had in three games.”
Jeffers also had a big night defensively, outrebounding and outhustling the taller Keegan.
“Jake was giving up 5 or 6 inches in height to the big guy (Keegan),” Barnes said of the 6-foot-3 Jeffers. “That was as well as he’s played against a big guy this year.”
“It was pretty fun. It’s kinda hard playing against guys taller than you,” Jeffers said. “I just played my hardest and hoped for the best.”
Jeffers scored six of his points in the last quarter.
“It was nice. Jack was giving me pass after pass when I had open shots,” Jeffers said.
When asked if there was a secret formula to getting Carson to bring its energy, Jeffers smiled.
“Coach was kinda mad after North Valleys,” Jeffers said. “He needs to be to get us going. We have energy some nights, but other nights we go out there and it’s very hard.”
Carson will have to bring all of its energy Tuesday, when it travels to Reno to play the Huskies. The game begins at 7 p.m.