Carson braces for Johnson, Hawks |

Carson braces for Johnson, Hawks

Darrell Moody

One player is uppermost in Bruce Barnes’ thoughts as his Carson Senators get ready for tonight’s 4A regional opener against the Hug Hawks.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Hug.

Barnes & Co. will have to find a way to contain 6-foot-7 Tre Johnson, who leads Hug in scoring (19.2 a game), rebounding (10.5), assists (2.0), steals (1.7) and blocked shots (3.3). He is by far the most dominant front-line player.

“Obviously everything runs through him,” Barnes said. “We’ll be doubling him in the post a lot. He’s more confident facing the basket which gives us more time to get to him.

“He (Johnson) makes you become more perimeter oriented. Pat (Smith, Carson center) is pretty good from 15 feet.”

Besides Bishop Manogue, Hug is the hottest team in Northern Nevada. Charles Walkers’ squad went through the entire second half undefeated, thus carrying a seven-game win streak entering tonight’s contest.

“At the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t have envisioned coming this far,” Barnes said. “The rest of the team is playing very well.”

Isa Lotulelei (6.9 ppg), Jaevis Johnson (6.4) and Eddie Ortiz (7.2) complement Johnson offensively. The Hawks’ A.J. Cordero is Hug’s best long-range shooter at 33 percent from beyond the arc.

One change that Barnes has seen in Hug is that the Hawks don’t play baseline to baseline as much as they did in previous years. They played mostly a match-up zone, something that Carson hasn’t seen a lot of this season. The Senators spent a better part of their Monday practice working against it.

‘We’re not really changing a lot,” Barnes said. “Against zones, we can make the gaps as big as we want. Andrew will be able to push the ball and create.”

With Johnson, Brian Barnes and Brennan Shaffer, the Senators have solid 3-point shooting.

NOTES: If Carson wins tonight, it will advance to the semifinals which will be played at Spanish Springs … Carson brought up JV players Matt Nolan and Ty Keefer. Both practiced on Monday with the team.