CHS boys basketball set to begin season
With five players back from last year’s team, Carson High boys basketball coach has a solid foundation to begin the 2008-2009 season.
“It’s a good place to start,” Barnes said. “From there we’re trying to fit the other pieces in.”
But Barnes also knows he’s in for a challenge this season, with only two starters back from last year’s club and really only three players with significant playing experience. But the three players who are coming back will definitely be counted on heavily when making the transition into this season.
Paul Cagle, the only 5-9 power forward around, Matt Rutledge, a four-year varsity player and a three-year starter at point guard, and Brian Barnes, who was Carson’s sixth man as a freshman last year all return. Barnes should again be one of Carson’s if not the Senators’ leading threat from beyond the arc.
Those three will be joined by returning varsity players Kalvin Case and Uriel Duran. At least at the start of the season, Barnes said those five will make up the starting lineup. “We’ll start out with the guys who are returning,” Barnes said.
But Barnes added, “It’s not important to me who starts the game. It’s who finishes the game.”
With that in mind, those five will be joined by eight players, who will all have a chance to make an impact. And again as always seemes to be the case, Carson won’t have much size.
Rutledge, Barnes and the 5-9 Case will all start at guards while the 6-3 Duran will start in the post with Cagle. Duran and Pat Smith, who is also 6-3, are the tallest players on the team.
Barnes said Smith had an outstanding summer and should make his presence felt either at power forward or center. Two other players who could see action in the post are 6-1 Jeff Davies and 6-1 Ean Witter.
So once again, Carson will be heavy at the guard position with 5-8 Michael Lowes, 5-8 Brennan Shaffer, 6-0, 6-0 Josh Peacock, 6-0 Steven Fowzer and 5-11 Ian Gunn.
And Barnes expects this team to be able to better handle the style of play he wants than in past years. “A little bit different from some of th past years,” he said. “I think we’ll be a little bit more athletic at the guard position than we have been.”
It all begins with Cagle and Rutledge. “He’s a very experienced player that understands the game of basketball very well,” said Barnes about Cagle. “He knows how to use his body. He knows how to make it difficult for opponents’ post players.”
“He’s like an extension of the coaching staff on the floor,” Barnes added about Rutledge.
And again, Carson should have some versatility with players like Shaffer and Witter. Barnes said Shaffer can play point, off guard or small forward. “He’s able to play multiple positions,” said Barnes about Witter.
Barnes said the league realignment won’t really affect Carson’s chances of making the Northern 4A playoffs. The Sierra League has exchanged Hug and Reno High for Galena and Manogue.
“I think it was probably tit for tat,” Barnes said. “I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference.”
Something Carson won’t have to deal with that it has had to deal with in the past is the amount of size it’s faced. “There’s not a lot of size on our side this year,” Barnes said.
But finishing among the top four teams in league to make the playoffs looks to be as difficult as ever. Along with traditional powers Galena, Manogue and Douglas, there’s also Damonte Ranch, who Barnes said also looks strong this year.
Carson will open the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Valleys. The Senators will open league at home against South Tahoe on December 16 and then will go to the prestigious St. Andrews Invitational in Florida to be held December 18-23. The Senators will again host the Carson Lions Capital Classic January 1-3.