Carson boys fall just short of upset against Hug
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – The Hug Hawks boys basketball team may remember many things fondly on the way to one if its finest seasons, but playing the Carson Senators won’t be among its favorite memories.
For the second time this season the Senators gave the Hawks fits, before finally succumbing 49-48 Saturday at Hug High School.
Displaying the same intensity that enabled it to give the Hawks a tough game (67-61) on Jan. 6, Carson took its flashier opponent down to the wire. Senior guard Adam Houghton hit a pair of jumpers to tie it 45-45, with 2 minutes, 31 seconds to go in the game.
With possession of the ball and 2:11 remaining on the clock, Carson coach Bruce Barnes had his team pass the ball around on the perimeter, trying to induce Hug to foul. But with 43 seconds left the Hawks forced a turnover and Carson’s Zach Weismann fouled blue-chipper Armon Johnson as the Hawks tried to wind the clock down for the final shot and the lead.
Johnson hit both free throws to give Hug the lead, 47-45.
The 6-foot-2 Johnson, who scored a game-high 24-points and went 5-of-7 from the line, drew another foul when he stole the ball with 6 seconds remaining and once again hit both free throws to put away the game with a 49-45 lead.
Houghton hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left, Barnes was unsuccessful in calling a timeout before time ran out, and first-place Hug had the win and improved to 8-0 in the Sierra League, 18-3 overall.
After the game, Barnes blamed himself for the tough loss, which dropped Carson to 3-6, 9-14.
“It was a big coaching mistake,” Barnes said. “I called ‘X’ – which is our foul. I didn’t realize Hug was in the bonus. It was my fault. The kids played hard and gave themselves a chance.
“We knew Armon would make the last shot and they got it out to him. I yelled ‘X’ and Zach fouled. That’s what he was supposed to do. We played well enough to win, but we came up short. I take responsibility.”
Houghton led all Carson scorers with 15 points, followed by seniors, Kevin Brush (nine) and Jake Jeffers (eight). Weismann, a junior, contributed seven.
Outside a silent Hawks locker room, head coach Brian Voyles didn’t sound like a man with a first-place team.
“We shouldn’t have won that game,” Voyles said. “Carson outplayed us. We got lucky and hit some free throws. Our players weren’t playing hard. This is not a team. We’re in trouble. Take nothing away from Carson. They played hard. We didn’t respond.”
Voyles said the game could have easily gone the other way.
“They didn’t hit some shots and we hit some free throws,” Voyles of the difference. “If they hit a couple of shots, we don’t have that win.”
After trailing 25-22 at halftime, Carson had a strong third quarter, outscoring the Hawks, 19-13, for a 41-38 lead and a chance at an upset.
Brush had all nine of his points in the period – including a 3-pointer to put Carson up 39-36, capping a 13-4 run that was begun by a Weismann trey.
A Johnson free throw later put Hug up 45-41 before Houghton hit his two jumpers.
Next up for Carson is Damonte Ranch, which took a 54-42 win over the Senators at Morse Burley Gym in their first meeting on Jan. 10.
“There’s going to be no getting up (for Damonte Ranch). We’re up for everyone,” Barnes said when asked about his players’ resilience. “We play hard and provide intensity. We should be able to do it night in and night out.”
Carson will be seeking to stay in the playoff hunt and take its first conference win on the road against the Mustangs.
The Senators took an early 5-2 lead when Jeffers stole the ball, got the bucket and hit his foul shot. Hug later took the lead back on a Johnson jumper, but four points from Weismann put the Senators back on top, 11-10.
Eddie Cranford gave Hug the lead, 12-10, at the end of the first quarter before the Senators went on an 8-0 run and took an 18-12 lead with 5:02 left in the half. Carson outscored Hug 10-7 the rest of the way and trailed 25-22 at halftime.
Darryl Feemster scored 12 points for the Hawks, who also got six apiece from Cranford and Gabe Dobbins.