Carson boys fall to North Valleys
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO-The Carson boys basketball team showed up at North Valleys High School wearing its road blue uniforms, but when it left, it just had a case of the road blues.
Bryan Coursey had a game-high 34 points and Archie Kovich added 26, as the North Valleys Panthers exploded for 50 second-half points Friday to defeat the Senators, 77-65.
“You saw the best and the worst tonight out of North Valleys,” said fifth-year Panthers coach Kyle Cerfoglio. “When we’re on shooting the basketball, we’re as good as anybody. I don’t know if it’s me, but we can play as bad as anybody too.”
The bad to which Cerfoglio was referring was the first quarter, in which Carson got off to a 9-2 run to open the game before escaping the quarter with a 17-14 lead.
Carson’s Adam Houghton scored six of his team-high 14 points in the first quarter.
But the air seemed to escape the Senators on the last play of the first half, when Kovich hit the first of his four 3-pointers to put up the Panthers up 27-25 going into the locker room. North Valleys got another boost to open the third when Coursey, who scored 16 points in the first half, drilled the third of his five treys to push the lead to 30-25.
After Kevin Brush (who scored 12 points) later took a pass from Jake Jeffers to the hoop to draw Carson to within two at 33-31, the Panthers pounced on the Senators, going on a 12-3 run to go up 45-34 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Carson closed the gap to eight at 45-37 on a trio of Zach Weismann free throws, but North Valleys went wild and took its largest lead (22 points) by going on a 19-5 spurt to take command at 64-42 early in the fourth.
“We made a lot of silly mistakes in the first half,” said Carson coach Bruce Barnes. “Early in the game we could’ve been up by double digits, but we missed six free throws in the first half, including three on one-and-ones. We just weren’t good enough to do it.”
With the loss, Carson falls to 8-10 overall and 2-3 in the Sierra League. The Panthers improved to 9-8, 2-3.
Trailing 72-53, the Senators refused to fold and a 3-pointer by guard Brooks Greenlee capped a 6-0 run to bring Carson to within 13.
Greenlee and Bryon Wilson in particular showed a lot of hustle and heart late in the game. With 1:12 remaining, Greenlee dove for a ball and flew over the North Valleys benches and landed hard, face-first into the bleachers. Although the Panthers coaching staff called for help, Greenlee got up quickly and went back into the game.
Wilson hit two 3-pointers in a span of 34 seconds to chop the lead to nine at 74-65 with 25 seconds to go, but the Senators could not draw closer.
“The first group – mainly the seniors – folded on us tonight in the second half,” Barnes said. “Our energy came off the bench. We knew about Kovich and Coursey coming in. Coursey is a senior and we knew he could have a big night if we didn’t stay with him. When they get it going, shooters are hard to cool off.”
Carson is nearly halfway through its conference schedule and at 2-3 still has a shot at one of the four available spots in the Northern regional playoffs.
The Senators will host South Tahoe today at 5 p.m.
“South Tahoe is a different kind of game,” Barnes said. “We wanted to slow down these guys (the Panthers), but we couldn’t do it. South Tahoe has size and a couple of good outside shooters.”
Barnes said the game will depend on what his seniors can bring to the contest.
“We’ll see. It’s all about the guys who have been there before,” Barnes said. “The seniors know they didn’t play well (Friday). We’ll see how good they are (tonight).”