Carson boys get a third crack at Manogue |

Carson boys get a third crack at Manogue

Darrell Moody

One big obstacle stands in the way of Carson High making a return trip to the 4A state basketball tournament.

That would be Sierra League regular-season champion Bishop Manogue, which has won 17 straight games, and hasn’t lost since Dec. 28.

The Senators, who gave the Miners one of their closest games of the year back in January (61-50), meet the Miners at 7 p.m. today in the semifinals of the Northern 4A regional boys basketball playoffs at Spanish Springs High School.

The winner of tonight’s game advances to the finals and gets an automatic berth in the state tournament. The top two teams from Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada qualify for state at Lawlor Events Center, which begins Feb. 25.

“Somebody has to beat them sooner or later,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said after his team’s 53-52 win over Hug on Tuesday night. “They play the same way all the time whether they are up by 10 or down by 10. That’s the way Bill (Ballinger) coaches.”

Which means the Senators will see some tough perimeter defense which they didn’t handle well in a 94-62 loss at Bishop Manogue. The Miners shut down Andrew Johnson and Brian Barnes, who combined for just 10 points in the loss.

It also means that the Miners will play an up-tempo offense and shoot a lot of 3-pointers if the Carson defenders give them too much breathing room. If the Carson defenders get too close, guards Niles Lujan and Bobby Hunter will drive by and either pull up for jump shots or dish the ball out to the wings for easy shots.

The Miners eclipsed the 90-point mark six times this season and they scored 116 against Wooster.

Hunter is the only player averaging double figures (23.3), but he gets plenty of support from Sutter Childs (9.5 ppg., 5.6 rpg), Ethan Dillard (9.5 ppg), Patrick John (8.9 ppg), Niles Lujan (6.3 ppg., 6.6 apg. and 5.1 steals), Steven Carlson (6.4 ppg.) and Brennan Hogan (5.8 ppg.)

Barnes said it is imperative to control the tempo which means keeping the scores in the 50s if possible. The faster the tempo, the more the Miners like it.

For Carson to have a chance, it must grind it out like it did in the first meeting of the teams. That means shooting a high percentage and cutting off the Miners’ dribble penetration by Hunter and Lujan.

“There’s not much we don’t know about them,” said Carson center Pat Smith, who scored 19 points in the win over Hug. “We’ll get ready to go out and have as much fun as we did tonight (against Hug). We have to make sure we do a good job on Bobby Hunter.”