Carson upends Reno 58-56 | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson upends Reno 58-56

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Reno High basketball coach Kyle Schellin graduated from Carson High and played hoops for former CHS coach Bruce Barnes.

So, it wasn’t really surprising that Schellin agreed to switch the season-opening game from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29 because the Senators were still involved in the regional football playoffs and didn’t have a full team.

Schellin may have been second-guessing his generous and sporting decision after Ty Keefer’s layup with :02 remaining snapped a 56-all tie and gave the Senators a thrilling 58-56 win over the Huskies Thursday night at Morse Burley Gym.

The win was Carson’s first in Northern 4A play, while Reno dropped to 2-2 in 4A play and 5-8 overall.

“Right now I wish we would have played the game when it was scheduled,” said Schellin. “I understood the situation they were in, though.”

CHS coach Carlos Mendeguia obviously was happy to get the month delay. Even though his current team is missing three players, he admits that Reno would have been at a huge advantage had the game been played in November.

“We’re all friends,” Mendeguia said. “I would have extended the same courtesy to Kyle.”

The Senators, who blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, were just happy to escape with a much-needed win.

Reno, led by Connor Bush, went on a 15-2 run in the first six-plus minutes of the final period to tie the game at 54 with 1:04 left on a stickback by Jake Johnson.

Carson’s Bruce McIntosh snapped the tie with a driving lay-up to the basket with 48 seconds remaining.

The Huskies took two timeouts in a span of 12 seconds to set up a game-tying score which Bush delivered with 10 seconds left. Carson moved the ball downcourt and called timeout with :03 left on the clock.

Keefer, who finished with 10 points, made good use of a screen and snuck behind the Reno defense which appeared to be focused on Rafe King and made the lay-up.

“It was set up for Rafe,” Keefer said. “We figured they would be concentrating on him and not worried about me, and I was wide open under the basket.”

“We knew they were going to jump Rafe,” Mendguia said. “Rafe was going to go to the corner, and if he wasn’t open immediately I told Ty to wait a couple of seconds and then go to the opposite block.”

It was a perfectly executed play. Schellin said his team didn’t communicate well.

“They made a great play,” Schellin said. “We were concerned about pressuring the ball. We just didn’t communicate with each other. Anything can happen in a close game with 16 and 17-year-olds playing.

“I’m more concerned about the first 29 minutes. They brought it to us. They were the aggressors. We weren’t being aggressive.”

Carson, which played without Dylan Sawyers (sprained ankle), played probably its best half of the season. The Senators led by nine after the first 4 1/2 minutes and finished the first 16 minutes with a 37-30 lead. Carson shot 53 percent in the first half.

The only negative in the first half was when Carson turned the ball over four straight possessions without getting up a shot. Fortunately the Huskies failed to convert on any of the four.

“We came out ready to play,” Mendeguia said. “We had a good shootaround in the afternoon and we’ve had three days of practice. We felt good coming into the game.”

King, as he has been forced to do because of personnel changes within the team, tallied 19 points in the first 16 minutes, knocking down 6 of 11 from the floor. Three of his field goals were 3-pointers. King, who scored 35 in Las Vegas last week, continues to be the Senators’ go-to guy.

“He’s one of the top shooters (in the area),” Mendeguia said. “He put a lot of hard work in over the summer. He’s had to mature a lot quicker in his first year of varsity.”

King said he shoots a lot before practice and games which has helped him maintain his stroke.

Carson outscored Reno 11-7 in the third quarter for a 48-37 lead, but the Senators went cold. Carson’s first field goal of the fourth quarter came with 2:56 left on a drive to the basket by McIntosh which gave Carson a 54-50 lead. That set the stage for a wild finish.