Carson boys fall to Reno
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Talk about trying to see the forest through the trees.
Facing a Reno team that resembled a stand of redwoods and which featured 6-foot-7 blue-chip forward J.J. Mulligan, the Carson boys basketball team found itself a little bit in over its head Tuesday, losing 49-37 to the Huskies at Reno High School.
The Carson starters – which average just under 6-foot-2 – found themselves giving up an average of nearly 5 inches against the starting five of the Huskies, who with the victory improved to 5-2 in the Sierra League, 16-4 overall and remained in second place.
Even though Reno’s Kyle Eliot is plenty tall at 6-4, it was the distance of his shot more than his height which ultimately led to the Senators’ demise as he hit four of his five 3-pointers in a 23-10 second quarter.
Eliot led all scorers with 15 points. Mulligan had nine and Austin Morgan and Mike Nelson each added six for the Huskies.
After a Mulligan layup started off the scoring, Carson, which fell to 3-4 in league and 9-12 overall, went on a 9-0 run in which senior guard Adam Houghton had six of his eight points.
Jake Jeffers had a team-high 11 points for the Senators, followed by Houghton’s eight and Bryon Wilson’s six.
“I thought Carson came out well and made it very difficult for us to what we wanted to do,” said first-year Reno coach Kyle Schellin. “They are well-coached and play extremely hard. (Senators coach) Bruce (Barnes) gets a lot out of them.”
Even though the Huskies battled back, it was the Senators who had an 11-6 lead after one quarter and a combination of its own energy and Mulligan’s repeated missed shots had Carson thinking upset.
But a Mulligan layup sandwiched between two Eliot 3-pointers put Reno up 14-11 and began a 10-2 Reno run, which left the Senators playing catch-up the rest of the night as the Huskies took a 29-21 lead into halftime.
“We had the tempo slowed down early,” Barnes said. “But Reno has an awful lot of weapons. They are well-coached and the players have been together forever. And they all shoot the ball very well.”
Although Carson would hold Eliot scoreless in the second half (in which it was outscored 20-16), Schellin gave the senior credit for the Huskies’ win.
“Kyle was able to knock down five shots early for us and kept us in it when we struggled to score early,” Schellin said. “We were trying to emphasize playing hard on the defensive end. It gives us the best opportunity to win ballgames.”
For his part Barnes wasn’t pleased with the Senators’ shooting accuracy.
“We missed some easy buckets around the basket,” Barnes said. “We need to start converting inside the paint or we’re not going to open up the perimeter.”
As with its loss at North Valleys, Barnes said his bench supplied the majority of the team’s spark against Reno and its contribution would be vital down the stretch.
Casey Brown’s trey gave Reno it’s largest lead – 47-30 – with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the game. Wilson’s two 3-pointers down the stretch only served to make the final a bit closer.
Next up for Carson is a road trip on Friday to Minden, where the Senators will have a rematch with the Douglas Tigers. Carson took an exciting 43-42 win Jan. 17 at Morse Burley Gym.
“It’s about the seniors – the team – getting themselves up,” Barnes said of the Senators’ need to once again find its energy following a loss. “They know what’s at stake. I’m confident we’ll bounce back. We just got beaten by a better team tonight.”
The Carson-Douglas game begins at 7 p.m.