Carson girls defeat Douglas
Appeal Sports Writer
MINDEN – Carson girls basketball coach Ric Garcia may have thought he was in a tomb the last time he took a bus ride with his team on the way to a 46-33 loss to Reno on Tuesday.
There was no such silence this time on the way to Douglas High School.
“There was a lot of talking going on in the bus,” Garcia said. “I let them go (on talking) all the way to the school. I wasn’t going to let them go through another sleepwalk of a game. They said, ‘Let us be us.’ I said, ‘Be you. Just be ready to play.'”
And they were.
The Lady Senators took a 35-26 win over the Lady Tigers and improved to 10-12 overall and 6-2 in the Sierra League, where they remained in a second-place tie with North Valleys.
Senior Sinead McSweeney not only led Carson with 13 points, she brought intense energy on both sides of the ball. Whether it was jumping up for and ripping away a rebound, rolling on the floor for a loose ball, taking it to the hoop, or just plain being tough, McSweeney brought it all on Friday.
“Sinead came ready to play. That was nice,” Garcia said. “She’s our key. Then they can’t key on (center) Nicole (Scott). Nicole was our decoy today. When (Douglas) swarmed in the middle and clogged it up, we tried to play high and move to our four-corner formation. I was preaching patience, patience, patience.”
Call it a controlled fury then. The 5-foot-10 McSweeney looked anything but patient as she played a rough-and-tumble game with abandon, yet she still managed to stay cool enough to go 5-of-8 from the free-throw line – including 3-of-4 in the fourth quarter.
“On the way down here we were stoked up – and now we beat them,” said an animated McSweeney, who still looked pretty stoked up as the Senators celebrated outside their dressing room. “We beat them and now we’re ready to go.”
McSweeney scored the first four points for Carson and junior Megan Kilty put the Senators up 7-2 with a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter.
Freshman guard Brandi Vega opened up the second quarter with her own trey and was matched by junior Kaitlin Burroughs, who also nailed a three. Senior Rosella Nunez then found Scott for a basket and the Senators were up 18-6, with just over 4 minutes left in the first half.
A McSweeney putback and a Nunez steal and layup to the end the half gave Carson its largest lead to that point at 22-10.
“I try to be the enforcer – I’m one of five seniors on the team,” McSweeney said. “We all try to get pumped up and lead the team. I thought I needed to do it and get everybody pumped up.”
McSweeney said Carson was ready to play because of its uncharacteristically sedate play against Reno, because it wanted to keep rolling in the league, and because Douglas was its rival.
“McSweeney played real well for them tonight,” said Werner Christen, in his ninth year as the Lady Tigers’ coach. “We held Nicole down to seven points and Nunez to six, but their other kids stepped up. They played a hard game. They’re playing real well right now.”
Douglas outscored Carson 16-13 in the second half, but it could not dig itself completely from under the hole the Senators put them in. Yet another McSweeney layup gave Carson its biggest lead of the night, 28-16, at 4:29 of the third.
The Tigers chipped away at the lead, but could never get closer than seven twice in the fourth. They fell to 4-4 in conference and 8-13 overall. Monica Knight led Douglas with 10 points and Bridget Maestretti added eight.
“I think we did a good job on the foul line and spread it out enough,” Garcia said. “We started Megan (along with other ‘smalls,’ Nunez and Vega) to see if we could get quickness. We felt like if we could pressure their guards with three smaller players, we’d be quicker and the advantage would be ours.”
Carson will travel to Reno today to face the Hug Hawks, whom it defeated 63-21 at Morse Burley Gym in their first meeting.
The game will begin at 3:15 p.m.