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Carson boys lose OT thriller

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

RENO – For the second time in 10 days, Carson High gave Damonte Ranch all it could handle.

And for the second time in less than two weeks, the Senators came up short.

O’Keefe Hall knocked down a 3-pointer 14 seconds into overtime to key a 9-0 surge as the Mustangs grabbed a 59-54 Sierra League victory to keep Carson winless in league play.

Carson is 3-5 overall and 0-2 in league.

“I thought we played hard and executed our game plan,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said after a lengthy post-game meeting with his team. “I thought we could match up Dylan (Sawyers) on (John) Carlson and neutralize what he likes to do on the perimeter. Chance (Quilling) did a good job on (Jeff) Turk, too.”

Carlson did finish with 17, but not all came against Sawyers. Turk added 11, eight coming through the first three quarters.

“We were a little sluggish on offense,” Damonte Ranch coach Torrey Sheets said. “I credit Carson for some of that and what they were doing, switching their defenses.”

This was one that Carson, which led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter, had a chance to grab.

Carson rallied from six down in the fourth quarter (45-39) to take a 48-46 lead with 2:04 left to play.

Rafe King (21 points) started the comeback with 5:10 left in the contest with a two-pointer and two free throws to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 45-43 with 3:41 left. After a free throw by Turk made it 46-43, King threw in the fourth of his five treys, tying the game at 46 with 2:49 left.

“He (King) had early foul trouble,” Mendeguia said. “He hit some big shots that got us started in the second half.”

“He hit some tough shots,” Sheets said. “We tried not to give him any clean looks. He convinced me he can shoot the ball.”

Matt Nolan then gave Carson its last lead of the night, 48-46, with 2:04 remaining in regulation.

King turned the ball over on Carson’s next possession, but Damonte was unable to capitalize on the ensuing possession as both Carlson and Turk, under heavy pressure, missed from close range.

After a Carson timeout, King tried to get the ball to Quilling, but it was deflected way.

Damonte held the ball near halfcourt, as Carson stayed in its 2-3 zone defense. Michael Holmes missed about a 10-footer with .5 left on the clock, sending the game to overtime.

“We wanted to attack the middle,” Sheets said.

Hall started the overtime with the aforementioned 3-pointer to make it 51-48.

“He (Hall) just comes up with big plays,” Sheets said.

Carson went 0-for-4 on its next two possessions, and then Carlson scored on a basket and free throw to make it 54-48 with 1:21 left. A free throw by Holmes and two by Nick Solano made it 57-48, capping the 9-0 surge.

Treys by Sage Smith and King cut the lead to 57-54 before Solano’s two free throws iced it with 3.6 remaining.

The momentum belonged to Carson early, and it came from a somewhat surprising source in Sawyers, who had the Senators’ first six and eight of their first 16. A layup by Quilling and two buckets by Ty Keefer gave Carson a 23-15 lead.

“Dylan is getting better,” Mendeguia said. “He is getting more confident. He’s putting the ball on the floor and going to the basket. It’s going to take some time.”

Damonte rallied to tie the game at 26 at the half. King scored Carson’s first 11 points of the third quarter for a 37-31 lead, but Damonte rallied to tie the game at 39 after three.