Carson girls struggle early, but finish strong |

Carson girls struggle early, but finish strong

Darrell Moody

RENO – Carson High’s girls basketball team won’t get any style points for its road win at Wooster, but the Senators will gladly take their second straight Sierra League win.

“We have problems at this place for some reason,” Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. ” “We struggled here last year.

“They’re better (than they were last year). They are a scrappy bunch.”

That sounded like a coach who needed to come back from a big deficit to win.

This game was actually decided in the first half when Carson went on a 17-2 tear over an eight-minute stretch to wipe out an early seven-point deficit and roll to a 50-36 victory over the Lady Colts at Craig Congdon Gymnasium.

Carson is 2-0 in league and 9-5 overall, while Wooster dropped to 1-2 in league. Carson returns to action at 5:15 p.m. Friday when it hosts Damonte Ranch.

Whitney Nash started the surge when she scored on a putback, and after Wooster missed two shots on its next possession, Nash knocked in a 3-pointer to make it 11-9. Neither team scored on its next two possessions, and that was particularly frustrating for the Colts, who went 0-for-4 in that span.

Elayna Shine drained a 3-pointer after a Wooster turnover and after it misfired on the ensuing possession, Gina Bianchi (16 points) drained a three for a 15-11 lead with 7 minutes, 7 seconds left in the half.

“We had some mental breakdowns,” said Wooster coach Aqueelah LaGrone. “We weren’t closing out on the shooters. That was the mental part. Our offense wasn’t doing much either.”

Ayden Finau, who scored all eight of her points in the first half, ended the 11-0 drought with a basket, but Tiana McAllister-Daggs and Shine combined for six straight points to make it 21-13 with 2:38 left in the half. Wooster scored six straight to close the gap to 21-19, but another bucket by McAllister-Daggs and two free throws by Elayna Shine (11 points) made it 25-19 at the half.

Wooster stayed within striking distance in the third quarter until the final 45 seconds when layups by Lisa Yamamoto and Eliza Matley plus a bucket by Bianchi stretched the Senators’ lead to 39-27 after three.

Wooster hurt itself a lot in the third, turning the ball over seven times and going 3-for-12 from the floor. It was an indicator of what was coming in the final period.

The Colts missed eight of their first nine shots to open the final period. Carson was unable to take advantage, however, scoring just one basket itself in the first 3 1/2 minutes to maintain the 12-point lead.

Three free throws by Bianchi and two by Nash got the lead up to 48-31 with a minute left in the game. Carson took some ill-advised shots and did a poor job on the boards, according to Ackerman.

“We didn’t box out well,” Ackerman said. “We gave them a lot of second shots. We did make free throws late when we needed to. That was big.”

The second half was one LaGrone certainly would like to forget.

“We had our shots. They just didn’t fall,” she said. “We had 16 or 18 steals tonight that we didn’t capitalize on.”