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PREP: Carson’s defense comes to play in tournament opener

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

If Carson High can play the type of defense it did for the last 12-plus minutes of Thursday’s game against South Tahoe, it could be a very good year for the Senators.

Carson held its former Sierra League foe to just four points, all free throws, and rolled to a 55-24 decision in the opening round of the 34th annual Capital City Classic/Lions Tournament at Morse Burley Gym.

The win sends Carson into the winner’s bracket at 7:30 p.m. today where it will play Sparks, a 50-39 winner over Wooster.

“Defense was the difference in the game,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. “The second half we started picking up full court and tried to run and jump with them. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to do that this year, but at halftime I thought we had the advantage.

“Our offense was what you would expect for the first game. We were sloppy in the first half. Our guys fell in love with the 3-point line. I don’t mind us shooting 3s, but I want them to shoot them out of our offensive (sets). The 3-pointer was the first thing they were looking for. Even our 4’s and 5’s (pivot men) were looking at shooting 3s.”

A half-ending 8-4 run gave Carson a 24-17 edge at the half. Brian Barnes had 11 and Trey Jensen 7 to lead the Senators’ offense.

A layup by Bobby Perez and a free throw by Wade Norberg chopped Carson’s lead to 26-20 with 4:34 left in the third. South Tahoe wouldn’t score again for nearly eight minutes, and Carson went on a 17-0 run to take a 45-20 lead with about 5:30 minutes remaining.

Tyler Collins started the barrage with two free throws and then Chris Steele netted a pull-up jump shot. Both teams misfired two times, and then Steele converted a three-point play and a bucket in a span of 21 seconds to make it 35-20. South Tahoe went 0-for-3 on its next two possessions, and Barnes drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to make it 38-20 after three.

“We went to a box-and-one on Brian (Barnes),” said South Tahoe coach Chris Proctor. “I think it caught them off-guard a little bit. They took it to us in the second half.”

All Carson did is run Barnes on a wing, which took two defenders with him, and left Carson with a 4-on-3 advantage which the Senators, especially Steele were able to take advantage of. Steele is one of the guys the Senators are counting on to be a complementary scorer.

“He was very good all summer,” coach Barnes said of Steele. “I talked to him five days ago, and told him he had to have the kind of year that he had during the summer. His downfall is that he gets down on himself too much.”

“I had a size advantage in the paint,” Steele said. “They were pretty small. We don’t have a standout player. Everybody has to be ready to step up and score.”

The last 12 1/2 minutes were hard to watch for Proctor, his team and the fans who made the trek down Spooner Summit for the Vikings’ season-opening game.

“We couldn’t get the ball to go in,” Proctor said. “I was happy with the effort, though. That’s all I can ask for.”

DAMONTE RANCH 73, CENTRAL 67

The Mustangs, led by Matt Nuthall, Lane Armstrong and Jeff Turk, came back from a 16-point halftime deficit to stun Central Valley.

The game was tied at 67 with 52.8 left, but four free throws by Turk and two by Nuthall enabled the Mustangs to walk away with an improbable victory.

Nuthall led the Mustangs with 23 points, Turk added 16 and Armstrong added 15.

Carlos Mancasola led Central with 20 points and Christian Spaschak added 15 in the losing effort.

SPARKS 50, WOOSTER 39

The Railroaders outscored Wooster 14-2 in the opening quarter, and coasted to an easy victory.

Martin Jordan led all scorers with 26 points, 16 of those coming in the opening half. Henry Banks added seven.

Eddie Arista led the Colts with 10 points.

LOWRY 58, REED 50

Lowry rode Will Thacker’s 18 points to a victory over Reed, which dropped to 0-2 on the young season.

Reed cut Lowry’s lead to 54-50, but the Buckaroos scored the game’s final four pints to pick up the win. Sterling Snow scored 10 points, including six straight free throws down the stretch. Jesse Studebaker finished with 10 points, all in the second half.

Dylan Raatz and Roberto Velasquez led Reed with 12 points apiece.