Carson girls overtake Damonte Ranch with fourth-quarter rally
RENO – Carson High saved its best basketball for the final 2 minutes, 39 seconds of the game.
The Senators outscored Damonte Ranch 13-4 in that stretch to record a 55-49 road win in a Sierra League girls basketball game Tuesday night.
Carson improved to 8-3 in league with three games left in the regular season. Carson hosts Galena at 5:15 p.m. Friday.
“Our intensity level was better tonight than it was last Friday (against Wooster),” Carson coach Todd Ackerman. “It’s going to have to be better on Friday. They’re (Damonte Ranch) tough at home. They’re playing well.”
“It’s crazy,” said forward Gina Bianchi. “This league is just one big toss-up. There’s nothing easy.”
The game was tied at 37 after three periods, but the Mustangs surged ahead 45-42 with 5:14 left on a bucket by Emily Byrne, four free throws by Erin Hatch and two free throws by Ciara O’Driscoll.
Hatch scored all 12 of her points in the second half after putting up just three shots the entire first half. She hit two 3-pointers, helping Damonte rebound from an eight-point, third-quarter deficit.
Damonte would score just two buckets the rest of the way, as the Senators turned up the heat defensively, and Bianchi and Kate Schulz made some key offensive plays.
Bianchi, who finished with a game-high 18 points, started the run with two free throws after a Damonte Ranch turnover. After Damonte misfired on its next possession, Natalie Stevens was fouled and hit the free throw, tying the score at 45 with 2:19 left.
After each team failed to score on their next possessions, Bianchi made perhaps the play of the game when she tipped a pass, gathered up the ball and went coast-to-coast for lay-up. She was fouled on the play and drained the ensuing free throw to make it 48-45 with 1:13 remaining.
“We were in a 1-3-1 zone,” Bianchi said. “I realized that they were going to try to pass over the top of me and I went for it.”
“Gina plays hard,” Ackerman said. “If you play hard, good things are going to happen to you.”
Kennedy Hall scored on a putback to cut the lead to 48-47 with 1:06 remaining, and that’s when Schulz made her most important contribution of the season. She drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner with 51 seconds left to make it 51-47.
“That was huge,” Ackerman said of Schulz’s shot. “It probably wasn’t a good shot to take at that time, but it went in.”
Hall scored on another putback to make it 51-49, but McAllister-Daggs scored in the paint and Bianchi added two free throws to hold off the Mustangs.
Whitney Nash played well for Carson, scoring 15 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. McAllister-Daggs added nine points and nine rebounds.