Carson girls try harder
RENO-“We try harder.”
A good slogan by the No. 2 car rental company a few years ago, that phrase also summed up the Carson High School girls basketball team’s attitude during its 50-41 win over Galena High on Wednesday during the State Farm Tournament.
Galena had entered the game as the No. 1-ranked 4A team in the state by one media poll, while Carson was ranked No. 2.
Carson (13-3) will now play Florin of Sacramento today at 12:30 p.m. at McQueen High for fifth place in the 16-team tournament. Galena (13-3) will play McQueen at 9:30 a.m. for seventh.
“Carson killed us on the boards,” said Galena coach Karen Friel, pointing toward the fact that the Senators pulled down 23 offensive rebounds alone compared to the Grizzlies’ total of 21. “The game was simply a matter of the fact that they outhustled us – they worked harder than we did.
“I can understand if we give up some points on their first shot. But to give Carson two and three shots per possession – that’ll kill you.”
Senator post player Meghan Gradert, who had nine points and numerous rebounds, said the Galena contest was a game Carson wanted badly, especially after the Grizzlies had defeated Carson 49-46 on Dec. 14 in Carson City.
“I think the difference was we stepped up and really wanted to win against this team,” Gradert said. “We were fired up – it was a game between No. 1 and No. 2, and we wanted to be No. 1.
“I think if we had lost for the second time (to Galena), it would have been a real downer for us. The win’s exciting.”
While the Carson offense still wasn’t producing to its potential on Wednesday, the Senator defense was excellent. Carson held the Grizzlies to just two points in the first quarter and five points in the third while building a 32-23 lead.
“We started the game in a zone defense, and it was very effective,” Senator coach Paul Croghan said. “(Assistant) Coach (Ron) Tamori did a good job figuring out what defenses we should use during the game.”
Galena got out of its scoring slump early in the fourth and cut the Senator lead to to 39-34 with just over three minutes remaining on a jumper by Kirsten Drury.
With time running out, Galena began to send Carson deliberately to the free-throw line. But the Senators were solid from the charity stripe down the stretch, going 7-for-8 from the line in the final minute.
The Senators had balanced scoring during the game. Pam Williams had 15 points for Carson, while Alyson Thurman scored 11, Gradert added nine, and Davina Carter contributed eight. Thurman was 5-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Jayleen Chen was Galena’s leading scorer with 10 points, while Kellie Burton added nine.
Although Croghan said it would be going too far to say that Wednesday’s game might have been a preview of the Northern 4A Zone final, he did say it was satisfying for the Senators to get into the win column against Galena.
“They had beaten us at our place, so for our own psyche it was important,” Croghan said. “They’re definitely one of the better teams.”