Nolan carries Senators to big road win
RENO – When high-scoring Rafe King got into foul trouble again in the first half, the situation didn’t look great for the Carson Senators.
And then Matt Nolan came to the rescue.
Nolan scored a season-best 31 points to spark Carson to a 54-38 win over the McQueen Lancers Tuesday night in a Division I crossover boys basketball game.
Carson improved to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Both wins have come on the road. The Senators host Damonte Ranch at 7 p.m. Thursday, the last conference game before the Christmas break.
“We have a couple of road wins,” said Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia. “They’re not easy. Anytime you can get a road win it’s huge.
“Obviously our scoring drops off when Rafe isn’t in there. We thought we had a mismatch with whoever they were going to put on Matt. He had a really good game shooting the ball and getting to the glass.”
King, who finished with 11 points in limited playing time, knocked down two free throws with 7 minutes left in the half to cut the deficit to 18-17. In just 34 seconds, he picked up his second and third fouls, forcing him to the bench for the next 10 minutes.
Nolan, who had eight first-quarter points, knew he had to step up from that point on.
“Rafe’s picked up a couple bad fouls in recent games, and when he went out I knew I had to take over his role,” Nolan said. “I was starting to feel it (in my legs) in the fourth quarter. I thought I was better than the guys they had guard me.
“People will probably be surprised that we won tonight, but I’m not even though it was a road game. We have a pretty good squad. A lot of people are basing things on what we did last year. We’re not the same team.”
With King on the bench, Carson went on a nice 10-4 run to grab a 27-22 lead after the first 16 minutes. In essence, Nolan was the only true scorer on the floor in the final six minutes of the half, but the Senators did a nice job of working the clock and running the offense.
After two free throws closed the McQueen lead to 20-19 with 4:03 left, Elijah Claudio made it 22-19, but Nolan knocked down two 3-pointers and Kyle Denning drained two free throws to make it 27-22 at the half.
“Our bench guys have done a great job of running the offense when they are in there,” Mendeguia said. “We ran our sets well tonight when Rafe was on the bench. I knew that we would have to slow down a bit.”
Carson continued its roll in the second half, outscoring the Lancers, 8-3, in a span of 3 minutes and 56 seconds to take a 35-25 lead. Denning scored on a driving layup to ignite the run, and then Nolan scored the next six Carson points. Kody Eckert had a three-point play for the Lancers.
The Senators got the lead to double digits at the end of the third quarter, 39-27, by scoring four points in the last 50 seconds. Chris Lopez scored on a drive from the free-throw line and Nolan knocked in two free throws.
McQueen scored two quick buckets in the first 73 seconds of the fourth quarter to make it 39-31, but Carson stretched it back to 12 with a 6-2 run thanks to two points apiece from King, Nolan and Lopez. At times in the fourth quarter, Mendeguia used King only at the offensive end of the floor whenever possible in an effort to keep him from fouling out.
McQueen did get the deficit down to seven, 45-38 with 2:08 left, but the Lancers failed to score another point.
JV BOYS WIN: Asa Carter scored 21 points to lead the Senators to an easy 69-31 win over McQueen.
Robby Miller and Jared Rooker reached double figures with 11 apiece. Carson improved to 4-4 on the season.