Carson rebounds from loss to beat Hug
Appeal Sports Writer
The Carson Senators got an early look at Sierra League rival Hug in a non-league matchup Saturday and jumped on the backs of its three starting post players – forwards Rob Valerius, Paul Cagle and David Eller – to notch a 49-39 win in the third-place game of the 31st annual Carson City Host Lions Club Capital Classic at Morse Burley Gym.
The three combined for 26 points – Cagle had a team high 10, Valerius nine and Eller seven – and the Senators defense held the Hawks to 13 first-half points on the way to improving to 6-3 on the season.
“This game doesn’t count as much as the next two (with the Hawks in league play),” Valerius said. “This just shows we can beat them. We need to beat them two more times.”
As usual, the Senators made the most of what they had – especially on defense – to hold the Hawks to 13-of-52 shooting from the floor.
“We hustle. We’re not really a tall team,” said Valerius, who at 6-foot-3 is the squad’s tallest player. “We use style. We’re kinda quick. I just box out and try to get close to the basket. Eller and Cagle did most of the boxing out and opened it up for me to rebound.”
What the 6-foot-1 Eller and the 5-10 Cagle lack in height, they make up for with width and attitude.
“They’re definitely the muscle of the team,” Valerius said with a smile. “They want to take on everybody. Cagle starts it, David finishes it.”
Carson coach Bruce Barnes said the hard-working trio have done a good job against other teams’ post players.
“Rob does a great job on the boards every night,” Barnes said. “He defends his position. His offense is coming along. Cagle and Eller are the wide bodies that take up a lot of space – not horizontally, but vertically.”
Cagle, a junior, said he and Eller – who like Valerius, is a senior – have been playing together since the fifth grade.
“We’re pretty good together,” Cagle said. “This is the first year we’ve been able to play together (on a steady basis for the varsity team). There’s always been seniors ahead of us.”
Cagle said the Senators are playing fairly consistent ball so far.
“When we run our stuff, we’re better this year,” Cagle said. “We’re running our sets better. Every game we’ve held teams to low scoring quarters. When we fall apart (as they did against Reno, Faith Lutheran and Central Valley), we have to slow it down.
“We get a couple of turnovers and try to push it. We need to slow it down and get some good shots out of our sets. We’re looking pretty good. We need to work on a couple more things. We’re working on getting breakdowns out of the way.”
It was the Hawks – now 2-5 – who were doing the breaking down Saturday, committing 18 turnovers, compared to nine for the Senators.
Hug held the lead only one time – 2-0 – before Carson broke out for a 14-1 run, keyed by seven points from senior guard Caleb Carter, a Valerius layup, a three-point play by Cagle and capped by a Zach Rispin layup.
Carson, which connected on 18-of-45 shots from the floor – led 16-5 after one quarter and 27-13 at halftime.
Freshman Brian Barnes found Cagle with a long pass for a layup, and Eller sandwiched 1-of-2 free throws and a driving basket in the lane around a Duke Williams jumper to give the Senators a 34-17 lead with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third.
Courtney Gardner led all Hawks with eight points, followed by Tre Johnson with seven and Williams and Stephan Cramer, each of whom added six.
After a pair of baskets by the Hawks, Eller drained a 12-foot jumper to put Carson back up by 16 at 36-20.
A Valerius layup gave the Senators a 40-24 lead going into the fourth quarter, where Carson would eventually lead by as many as 20 when Cagle and Barnes each scored four points to cap a 10-0 run for the 46-26 lead.
Hug outscored Carson 13-3 over the final 5:31, but by that time the game was firmly the Senators’ hands.
“I’m happy with the win,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. “We wanted to play a bunch of different guys tonight. We ran basic stuff. Unfortunately, we had to play a league opponent, but we played pretty well. (The Hawks) will be a much better team when we see them again (Jan. 8 at Hug).”
Carson will next play in the 16-team Seahawk Classic, beginning Wednesday in Redondo Beach, Calif. The Senators will follow that tournament by traveling to play Manogue Jan. 2.
CENTRAL VALLEY (Shasta Lake, Calif.) 69, SPANISH SPRINGS 57
The Falcons improved to 10-2 by rallying from 11 points down in the second quarter to take a victory over the Cougars in the championship game.
Central Valley’s Luke Cassedy led all scorers with 25 points (he nailed five 3-pointers) and Billy Cassedy added 15 and Paola Mancasola 14 for the Falcons, who trailed 22-11 with 7:07 to go in the first half.
Spanish Springs controlled the offensive boards early, getting three, four and once even five chances at the basket. But the Falcons clamped down, going on a 20-8 run (in which Cassedy had seven points) to trail 31-30 going into the locker room.
The Falcons took over in the third quarter, doubling up the Cougars, 20-10.
Central Valley led by as many as 14 twice (55-41 and 58-44), before Spanish Springs slugged back. The Cougars eventually clawed their way to within six at 63-57, but the Falcons hung tough for the win.
Taelor Marchbanks led all Cougars with 20 points – including six 3-pointers – followed by Kyle Ramond (11) and Danial Lide (10). Spanish Springs is now 7-4.
In other action, Fallon took a 49-40 victory over Fernley in the fifth-place game and McQueen stopped Lowry 55-48 in the seventh-place game.