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Carson boys hoops young this year

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Last season was thought to be somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Carson High boys basketball team. But instead the Senators were actually able to reload.

Despite losing their top three scorers from a team that won the 2002 Sierra League title, last year’s team had nine seniors that were able to step in and repeat as Sierra League champions. Last year’s club even did the team from the year before one better as it advance to the NIAA 4A State Championships and finished with a 19-11 mark.

Carson may be hard pressed to duplicate the success of last season in 2003-2004 as it has lost those nine seniors and doesn’t return a starter from last year’s team. But on the other hand, last year’s team wasn’t expected to reach the state tournament and was able to overachieve.

So while this year’s club won’t be as experienced with only three seniors, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare, either.

“We’re going to be young and pretty inexperienced,” said fourth-year Carson coach Bruce Barnes. “They’re pretty raw right now.”

What hasn’t changed for the Senators is again they’ll almost always be the smallest team on the floor no matter who they play. The tallest impact player is expected to be 6-1 junior Kyle Bacon.

“They’re all guards,” said Barnes when commenting on what positions his players will perform.

On the first day of tryouts when Barnes tried to break up his players, he called for the guards to go to one area and the big men to go to another area. He then had to think and say, “Let me rephrase that.”

Barnes said he hopes for the same pattern to repeat from last year when his team had put it together by the time league play started.

“Hopefully by midway through the season, they’ll kind of jell like they did the last couple of years,” Barnes said. “It’s going to be bumpy at first.”

“They ended up having a great season last year,” said Barnes about last season’s team. “It was a team that played very well together.”

Because of its lack of size, the style of play also won’t change for Carson as it will continue to play up tempo. “We’re a pretty good shooting team,” Barnes said. “We’ll have to play up tempo.”

The three seniors who should lead Carson will be Jeff Hurzel, Rory Wunsch and Jason Alcasas. Hurzel will take over at point guard, Wunsch will be a shooting guard and Alcasas should a swingman-type player. “He’s an athletic kid,” said Barnes about Alcasas.

“He’s looking pretty good, actually,” Barnes also said about Hurzel. “He’s worked hard over the summer and fall. He’s playing point well. He defenses well.”

Others expected to be key players include Brian Welch, who could be the closest player to a power forward that the Senators have. “He’s a perimeter guy,” Barnes said. “He’s tough enough to go inside.”

There’s also sophomore Adam Houghton and junior shooting guard Murph Gardner.

Even though Reno High has lost David Padgett to Kansas, the Huskies return virtually everyone else and should be the team to beat in the Sierra League, Barnes said. He said Reno will go 6-7 across the front line and 6-5 on the wing. “Reno’s got to be the favorite,” he said.

Barnes said Hug and Douglas will also be strong. So on paper, Carson may be looking at playing for the fourth and final spot into the Northern 4A playoffs from the Sierra League. But Barnes isn’t conceding anything.

“I don’t like to send a message to our guys to finish fourth,” he said. “We’ll shoot for No. 1. “It’s not to say we couldn’t beat any of those teams.”

Reed could be the favorite in the High Desert League, Barnes said. Galena, which beat Carson in last year’s zone finals, should be strong again and features one of the north’s top players in Derek Lorenzen.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.