Carson girls face Cimarron-Memorial |

Carson girls face Cimarron-Memorial

Staff reports

This time, the Carson High School girls’ basketball team doesn’t enter the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament as an underdog.

After qualifying as a bottom seed in each of the last four years, the Senators now find themselves facing a role reversal as they open state tournament play today with a 9 a.m. contest against Cimarron-Memorial at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

Carson (28-6) is riding the crest of a banner season, even though the Senators came out on the short end of a 49-38 score against Reno in the Northern 4A zone tournament championship game this past Saturday. Carson has won 13 of its 16 games in the new century, with all three of the losses coming to Division II and zone champion Reno.

On the other hand, Cinderella would be an accurate description of the Cimarron-Memorial Spartans, who finished second in the South’s Northwest Division and then advanced all the way to the Sunset Region Tournament finals.

The Spartans earned their state berth by turning a 48-47 upset of Bishop Gorman in the Sunset semifinals last Friday. Last year, Gorman defeated Carson in the state tournament semifinals, then lost to McQueen in the title game.

Nikki Richards, a 5-foot-8 senior guard/forward, will lead the Spartans against a Carson squad that features senior veterans Alyson Thurman, Pam Williams and Davina Carter. Williams and Thurman helped the fourth-seeded Senators capture first-round state tournament victories against Gorman in 1997 and Silverado in 1999.

The winner advances to play in the 5 p.m. semifinal contest Thursday against either Silverado or Galena at Lawlor Events Center. The tournament championship game is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. on Friday.

Galena (26-6) will try to snap a two-game losing streak in its state opener against Sunrise Region champion Silverado. The Grizzlies defeated Silverado 58-46 at the Centennial tournament in December.