Carson boys shut down Damonte |

Carson boys shut down Damonte

Darrell Moody

The book is out on how to beat Damonte Ranch. Keep the ball out of Matt Nuthall’s hands and make the Mustangs play a half-court game.

Brennan Schaffer did a nice job on Nuthall, who managed just three points in the first 28 minutes of the game before finishing with eight. On the offensive end, it was sophomore guard Andrew Johnson, who scored 20 points and did a great job of controlling the game’s tempo.

“As Nuthall goes, so goes Damonte Ranch,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said after the Senators’ 48-38 victory Friday night at Morse Burley Gymnasium. “We talked (before the game) about not wanting to run with them. It’s easier to speed things up than slow them down.”

All game long, Barnes would urge Schaffer and whoever else might be guarding Nuthall or the equally speedy C.J. Santos to stay in front. Nuthall got up just seven shots and made just two.

“It was bigger than that (Nuthall not scoring),” Damonte coach Torrey Sheets said. “The scouting report is out on us. Our strength is our transition game. Carson did a nice job of getting back on defense.”

To control the tempo, you have to be in the lead, and the Senators led for the final 23-plus minutes of the contest, which enabled them to keep the score down and neutralize Nuthall & Co. Also noteworthy was the fact that Pat Smith played less than half the game because of foul trouble, and the Senators won easily despite getting one point and five rebounds from their big man.

Carson took a 19-11 lead midway through the second quarter, as Johnson, who could probably pass for a Seeliger Elementary student, scored six of his 20 points in that stretch. He was consistently able to get to the basket no matter who the Mustangs put on him.

Johnson admitted that people are always questioning his age.

“A lot of people think I’m younger than I am,” he said, “A lot of people think I’m 12 or 13. I just tell them I’m 15. They say “no way”, and I show them my ID.”

He hasn’t looked like elementary student on the basketball court.

“It’s getting easier,” said Johnson, who admitted the game is slowing down some.

“Andrew is good in the open floor,” Barnes said. “He can handle it and obviously he is a good

outside shooter.”

Buckets by Shaffer and Johnson gave Carson a 29-17 midway through the second quarter, and Johnson finished the half with a 3-pointer to make it 33-22. The Senators scored six of the first eight points in the second half to stretch their lead to 39-25, as Trey Jensen scored two buckets and Johnson knocked down two free throws.

Damonte scored seven straight, including a 3-pointer by Nuthall, to cut Carson’s lead to 39-31 with 2:55 left in the game. Two free throws by Johnson and one by Josh Peacock got the lead into double digits at 42-31, and Carson never trailed by less than 10 the rest of the way.

Carson has little time to savor this one, however. Bishop Manogue, with almost its entire team returning from a year ago, visits Carson at 5 p.m.

“Manogue is Manogue,” Barnes said. “They will try to create turnovers and shoot the 3. They are just as good as they were last year.”

And make no mistake, Carson would like nothing more than to keep the game in the 40s again, so don’t expect to see the Senators pushing the ball downcourt at breakneck speed.