Carson girls fall to Reno
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – What started off as a battle against Reno for first place in the Sierra League ended up being a battle to maintain its composure for the Carson girls basketball team Tuesday.
The Lady Senators got into early foul trouble and struggled to a seven-point second half and lost, 46-33, to the Lady Huskies at Reno High School.
Reno forward Britton Murdock led her team with her game-high 17 points – including 13 in the first half – and Angela Ceccarelli and freshman Samantha Puzey each added seven for the Huskies, who improved to 7-0 in league and 12-7 overall with the win.
Carson was led by senior guard Rosella Nunez – who scored 11 points, Sinead McSweeney, who added seven, and junior Megan Kilty, who chipped in six.
Even though falling to 5-2, 9-12, the Senators remained in second place in league play.
“The difference in the game was the pressure our guards put on their guards,” said first-year Huskies coach Shane Foster. “It looked like (the Senators) were having trouble getting into their offense.”
And the Senators weren’t helped by 26 total fouls (including a third-quarter technical foul on Carson coach Ric Garcia), which prompted some Carson fans to shout their displeasure at the referees, who called 19 total fouls on Reno.
Foster also credited his defense for the win.
“We forced probably 20-25 turnovers, so we were playing good defense,” Foster said. “We didn’t give them many shots.”
McSweeney made the most of her first-quarter shots, taking them right to the hoop. Her three layups and Nicole Scott’s basket put Carson up 8-7 early in the game.
Kilty and senior Briana Dodge later combined for four points to tie the game 12-12, but the Huskies took a 16-12 lead into the second quarter.
Ceccarelli nailed a 3-pointer to cap a 12-1 run and put Reno up 24-13 with 5 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first half, before baskets by Nunez and Scott and a trey from freshman Brandi Vega brought the Senators back within four at 24-20.
After Reno’s 5-0 run, Nunez hit all four of her free throws and drove in a layup for two more points to cut the Huskies’ lead to 29-26, but a bucket by Murdock gave Reno a 31-26 advantage at halftime.
Although Carson would hold Reno to only 15 second-half points, its own seven points proved to be the ultimate back-breaker.
“We had it pretty tough the whole game,” Garcia said. “We were never in the flow. We never showed up. We had a hard time making our shots and had a tough time defensively. It was just one of those games.
“We got in foul trouble again right off the bat and kept on sliding from there. We put them at the line way too much and we had our big people on the bench.”
Although they wouldn’t foul out of the game, Scott (who finished with four points) and McSweeney each had four fouls before the end of the third quarter and had to go to the bench for long stretches of time.
“Reno’s a good team,” Garcia said. “They’re well-coached and came to play. They had a higher energy level than we did. We couldn’t match it.”
In fact, Garcia said he had a bad feeling on the trip to Reno.
“It was a quiet bus ride all the way (to Reno),” Garcia said. “It wasn’t like these girls that I’ve come to know. It worried me. They seemed to be…lifeless. With this group, we need to play with energy.”
Garcia said he wasn’t unnecessarily concerned with the defeat.
“We’re all right. We’re still doing great in conference,” Garcia said. “We have two losses in league. It’s not like the whole world fell apart.”
Carson will next travel to Minden to face Douglas in a rematch. The Lady Tigers took a tough 38-35 win at Morse Burley Gym in the teams’ first encounter Jan. 17.
“We’ve got to go back to the gym right away (today),” Garcia said. “We didn’t practice our offensive sets enough. That was a coaching error. We worked more on our defense than our offense and it showed.”
The Carson-Douglas game begins at 5:15 p.m. on Friday.