Carson boys use late run to get past rival Douglas
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – The going story for any Carson-Douglas basketball game is that records, talent and home-court advantage generally go right out the window.
After that, it comes down to whoever can knuckle down in the final quarter and hold on for the win.
Such was the case Friday night as the outsized Carson Senators took a 55-50 victory over Douglas thanks in large part – of all things – to the play of their front court.
“It’s been 10 years since we’ve had any height to work with,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said with a laugh after the game. “But you have to credit our post players tonight. Everybody battled. They (the Tigers) are more athletic than we are inside, and they are a little bigger, but our guys really did a nice job on both ends of the floor.”
Senior center Patrick Smith had his best game of the season, turning in 10 points, but Barnes also noted the play of Matt Cooper and Ean Witter for their quality minutes on offense.
Josh Peacock helped anchor an interior defense that limited Douglas’ primary post players to 15 points on the night.
“They were very active on the help side,” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said. “They took away our game, which is attacking the middle. They controlled the tempo of the game and that was the long and short of it right there.”
It was a strategy Carson spent much of the week preparing to execute.
“We watched a lot of game film,” Barnes said. “We tried to come from different spots double down on them because they are very good at throwing it in and cutting off the post. We tried to come at them from the weak side. It was effective.”
Douglas’ press defense caused Carson trouble through most of the first half while the Tigers ran up a 25-16 lead with a minute and a half left in the second quarter.
Late in the half, though, Carson started having speedy sophomore point guard Andrew Johnson take the ball in, which is about when the Senators started finding solutions for the press.
Not coincidentally, Johnson keyed a 7-0 run over the next 41 seconds, hitting a nice running jumper at the elbow and a big 3-pointer to cut the score to 25-23.
Douglas carried a 27-24 lead into the second half but Carson took a 35-31 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter on a Trey Jensen layup.
“We just weren’t stepping up and making sure we made the stops,” Thacker said.
Douglas later tied the game up at 36 on a putback from Matt Thomas with 19 seconds left in the quarter, but Carson’s Brian Barnes nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Senators up for good.
Another Barnes 3-pointer a minute into the fourth put Carson up 45-37, but Douglas came right back with baskets from Austin Neddenriep and Nick Maestretti to set the score at 45-41 with 5:37 left.
The two defenses clamped down over the following two minutes before Maestretti hit a 3-pointer to cut the Senator lead to one at 45-44.
Smith came back with a layup and Johnson hit another runner to give Carson a 49-44 lead. Chris Downs cut the lead back down to two at 49-47 with a 3-pointer with 1:43 left, but neither team would make another field goal until Jensen clinched the win with a late layup off a Douglas turnover.
Barnes and Johnson tied for the game high with 15 points apiece for Carson. Johnson had 10, Brennan Shaffer had six, Trey Jensen had five and Josh Peacock had four.
Douglas was led by Austin Neddenriep had 13 and Matt Thomas had 11. Downs and Maestretti each had six, Jorey Scott had four, Theo Denson had four, Garrett Getty and Brett Anderson each had three and Jeremy Burkhart had one.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won at Douglas,” Barnes said. “Usually it seems they beat us here and we beat them in Carson. No matter how good either team is that season, we almost always have a great game.
“We keep stressing to the kids it’s just one game, though. It’s a good league win and it feels awfully good to get it. But we have to move on and prepare for our next game.”
Thacker had similar sentiments in the Douglas locker room.
“We have to understand it’s just one loss and we have to move on,” Thacker said. “We have to go out on the road tomorrow (Fallon) and try to take care of business there.
“That’s what we’re focused on is bouncing back. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you don’t show up to play on the road, someone is going to get you.”