Carson girls roll past Damonte
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – If the Carson girls basketball season had a script, it would go something like this: Get on top early. Shut down your opponent with good defense. Pass the ball while looking for an open shot and maybe draw a foul. Wind down the clock.
Oh, and don’t forget the win.
The Lady Senators followed their script closely on Tuesday and took a 44-28 victory over the Lady Mustangs at Damonte Ranch High School.
Senior center Nicole Scott scored a game-high 13 points, senior guard Rosella Nunez added seven and senior forward Sinead McSweeney contributed six in the win.
Carson improved to 8-2 in the Sierra League (12-12 overall) and remained in second place with the victory. The Senators have four conference games to go – two at home (against North Valleys and Reno) and two on the road (against South Tahoe and Wooster).
Damonte Ranch — which got a team-high 12 points from LaCoya McLary, seeing action in her first game of the season – fell to 5-5, 14-9. Colleen Carlson added 10 in the defeat for the Mustangs.
“Our girls didn’t come out and shoot the ball,” Mustangs coach Debby Hellen said. “They looked like they were intimidated by Scott. Courtney Kollasch didn’t score. She’s 16 points a game. It killed our offense. (Carson) put Scott on her the whole game. Scott had a great defensive game.”
So did several other Senators. McSweeney had another aggressive showing on the boards and with blocks, senior Catherine Brekken played solid defensively, and speedy guards Nunez, Megan Kilty and Brandi Vega wreaked havoc on the Mustangs, notching several steals.
“Overall we played good defensively all the way through,” said Carson coach Ric Garcia. “We went into panic mode in the third period and had a hard time hanging onto the ball. We were dribbling way too much and turning the ball over.”
Scott (four points), McSweeney (two) and Kaitlin Burroughs (two) got the Senators off on the right foot and an 8-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. The lead peaked at 11-2 after Kilty drilled a 3-pointer, but by the end of the quarter the Mustangs had cut the lead to 13-6.
Brekken scored all of her four points in a 7-4 run to close the half and Carson had a 30-16 lead. The Senators went 8 minutes, 16 seconds without a basket until sophomore Christy Works hit a long jumper to put Carson up 32-24, with 36 seconds remaining in the third.
The Senators defense held sway in the fourth, limiting Damonte’s offense to only four points and Carson went 6-of-12 from the foul line and scored 12 points in the quarter to take the win.
“We pretty much came out and played the best we could,” Brekken said. “We brought intensity and made sure we played our game. We wanted to press (on defense) the whole game in order to get the opportunity to score, drive to the basket and dish the ball around.”
Brekken said the upcoming playoffs gave Carson an added boost.
“It was on our mind (for Damonte) – it was a must win,” Brekken said. “Friday (at home against North Valleys) we need to win. We have to make sure we stay in second or get first (place).”
“We’re never comfortable (with a win) – Saturday (a close overtime win over Hug) proved that,” Garcia said. “We’re taking them one at a time. A week from (this coming) Friday, we’ll see where we’re at.”
Looking past North Valleys, whom Carson beat 50-39 on the road Jan.10, is definitely not an option, Garcia said.
“I tell the girls that Friday is a big game for us,” Garcia said. “The girls are trying to do a better job and are coming in with motivation. We don’t want to sleepwalk into (games). We want to be ready to dive on the floor for the ball.”
Garcia said the key to shutting down North Valleys is with 6-foot-4 center Anita Burdick, who scored 17 points in the first game.
“The big girl. You have to stop her dead along with everyone else,” Garcia said. “She’s the focus.”
The Carson-North Valleys game begins at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Morse Burley Gym.