Carson girls fall to Galena
Appeal Sports Writer
The Carson Senators girls basketball team was able to get the Galena Grizzlies down during their Northern 4A regional playoff game on Tuesday. The Senators’ problem, however, was that they just couldn’t keep the Grizzlies there.
Galena rallied from an early deficit and was able to take advantage of Carson’s foul trouble late to score a 51-48 victory at Morse Burley Gym.
Galena, which ended the Senators’ season for the second consecutive year, improved to 20-8 on the season and advanced to the semifinals, where it will play the Reed Raiders on Thursday.
Reed, seeded No. 1 in the High Desert League, defeated North Valleys, 74-41.
Carson, which lost to the Grizzlies, 57-35, in last year’s regional semifinals, finished its season with a 23-6 record.
“That was one of our worst defensive games in a while, I think,” said second-year Carson coach Ric Garcia. “We broke down several times and left our feet a lot. We started reaching and fouling and it progressed from there. When we started trailing, we gave up some easy baskets trying to get back in it.”
Carson didn’t trail until Galena’s Amy Scott followed Langley Iverson’s short pull-up jumper with a free throw to give the Grizzlies a 34-33 lead, with 3 minutes, 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
Carson and Galena would trade the lead seven times from there, but the Senators lost some momentum after sophomore guard Brandi Vega – who finished with 15 points – picked up her fourth foul with 4:11 remaining in the game. Vega fouled out with 59 seconds to go in the game, when Colleen Kern’s pair of free throws gave Galena a 49-48 lead.
After a Carson turnover, Colleen Mullins converted her free throws to give the Grizzlies a 51-48 lead with 31 seconds to go.
Following a Carson timeout, freshman Gina Bianchi missed a game-tying 3-pointer and with 2 seconds to go and senior Kaitlin Burroughs missed a running jumper, which ended the Senators’ comeback bid.
Langley Iverson led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Hayley Jensen added 13 – including three 3-pointers.
Freshman center Danielle Peacon led Carson with 16 points, with an unofficial five rebounds and three blocks. Senior guard Megan Kilty added eight points and a pair of steals.
Galena’s win reversed a 52-46 loss to Carson in the regular season and Grizzlies coach Karen Friel said she was happy the way her team came back.
“Lately we’ve had a problem with that part of the game,” Friel said. “We lose focus. We battled more than we have been.”
Friel also said her team keyed on the 6-foot Peacon.
“I think we limited her touches,” Friel said. “She’s tough. Our goal tonight was if Peacon was touching it in the block, we’d double-team her. If she got it at the free-throw line, we’d try to stop that, but it would be a little easier to defend.
“And their guards are so quick. Somehow we managed to contain them just enough.”
Garcia said a lot of Carson’s wounds were self-inflicted.
“We missed a lot of inside shots – plain and simple,” Garcia said. “We haven’t shot for a high percentage this year. When our defense is playing well, it’s not such a big deal. Tonight, for the first time in a long time, we let them go up into the 50s. We’ve had difficulty getting into the 50s. It was difficult to overcome.”
Garcia said there was also some occasional miscommunication.
“One time they misunderstood me and thought I said to play zone when I didn’t,” Garcia said. “We gave up three, then two. We had three players in zone and a couple in man-to-man and we gave up five points because of that. Unfortunately, we don’t have a second night. It’s one and done.
“I thought they did a great job of faking and getting us up in the air. That’s the most I’ve seen us in the air in a long time. That created their opportunities.”
An 8-0 run, started by Vega’s 3-pointer and capped by a pair of Vega free throws gave Carson its biggest lead, 16-8, with 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Galena went on its own 7-1 run, culminating with an Iverson layup, to close the gap to 17-15, with 6:04 left in the second quarter.
After Galena tied the game at 21 on an Iverson three-point play, Vega responded with a shot from beyond the arc. Galena tied the game at the half on a Lena Armuth layup.
The Senators built a six-point lead – 33-27 – to start the third, but Iverson scored four of Galena’s next six points to tie it again.
“Langley stepped up,” Friel said. “She hasn’t been as aggressive as she needs to be. She really took the ball to the hole tonight.”
Now Friel and her players must find a way to slow down Reed (21-3), which beat Galena in both of their meetings this season.
“They’re so hard to defend,” Friel said of the Raiders. “They have so many shooters and an inside game. You just hope they don’t hit too many outside shots. You have to contain your turnovers. They have you in full-court and half-court press all the time.”
For Carson, it’s time to reflect on an otherwise successful year.
“We had a great season,” Garcia said. “I told the girls that. They’re going to remember that and build from it.”
The Grizzlies-Raiders game begins at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Reed High School.