Carson High boys basketball team claims first regional championship since 1995 (video)
Watch more video of Carson’s win here
CARSON 51, RENO 45
Reno: Shaw 10, Rippingham 8, Crom 2, Tsaniff 2, Hicks 1, Goraya 7, Heydon 3, Kyle 12.
Carson: Carter 9, Allen 17, DeJoseph 15, Krebs 2, Keema 6, Azevedo 2.
SPARKS — The last time Carson High won a regional basketball title was 1995.
Bill Clinton was president of the United States, Pope John Paul II visited the country and O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murder by a Los Angeles jury.
Over the next 20-plus years, the Senators had several chances to win a regional title, including last year, but came up short.
Frustrating times to be sure.
The wait is over.
Carson used a 14-3 third-quarter surge to wipe out a five-point halftime deficit and went on to beat the Reno Huskies, 51-45, Saturday night at Spanish Springs to win the Division I championship.
The win upped Carson’s record to 25-5 overall entering Thursday’s state semifinal game against Coronado at 8 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center. The win was Carson’s 17th straight and 23rd straight in games played in Northern Nevada.
“I’m speechless,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said after accepting congratulations from Carson fans and doing a quick radio interview. “I’m so proud of these guys. They have worked so hard.
“Last year (loss to Galena) left a bad taste in our mouths. I told the guys if they didn’t like the taste to go out and do something about it.”
And they did just that, using a combination of gritty defense and an efficient offense. Carson was always calm in the face of adversity, and Saturday was no exception.
As they did in the first meeting back in late December, the Huskies gave Carson problems in the first 16 minutes.
Drew Rippingham tossed in two 3-pointers and scored eight in the second quarter, and Karn Goraya added five points as the Huskies went on a 13-2 run in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the period to take a 27-22 lead at the half.
Then came the fateful third quarter, and after it was over, Reno coach Matt Ochs was probably feeling a little case of déjá vu.
In the December meeting, Reno was held to zero field goals and two points. On Saturday, it was zero field goals and three free throws.
Carson opened the second half with a 12-0 run to take a 34-27 lead midway through the period. Jace Keema started the surge with two free throws, Jayden DeJoseph knocked in a 3-pointer, Tez Allen added a lay-up and DeJoseph drained another howitzer.
“We came out in the first quarter and executed our offense,” Mendeguia said. “We went away from it in the second quarter and started playing too much 1-on-1.
“In the second half we started to spread the ball around. We wanted the ball to get into the high post and attack from there.”
While Carson was scoring, the Huskies went 0-for-4 and turned the ball over twice in that span. Holding a team without a field goal over eight minutes is tough, and Carson always play tough defense. The Senators take pride in making opponents work for every point.
“Jayden hit a couple of 3s,” Ochs said. “He’s a really good player. Tez did a good job inside. We couldn’t get into any rhythm offensively. We couldn’t make a shot and we had some turnovers. Carson is a very good basketball team.”
Reno closed to 34-30 with 2:19 left in the quarter. The Huskies stayed in the zone, and Carson elected to hold the ball, much to the dismay of Reno’s fans. Allen closed out the quarter with a layup to make it 36-30 after three.
Basketball is a game of runs, and each team had one in the fourth quarter.
Carson had a 6-0 run on baskets by DeJoseph and Allen plus two free throws by Asa Carter to make it 42-32 with 5:54 left. Reno, thanks to four points by Mike Heydon, responded with an 8-2 run to close to 44-40 with 2:04 left.
Allen made two free throws to make it 46-40 with 1:33 left. Reno closed to 46-43 with 59.4 remaining on a cutback by Colton Crom and a free throw by Logan Shaw. Allen drained two free throws to make it a two possession game, 48-43, with 56 seconds left.
Allen at one time was barely shooting 50 percent from the free throw line, but he has made great strides in that area of his game.
“It was pretty bad,” Allen said. “I worked at it. I stayed late. Jeremiah (Gray, assistant coach) helped me a lot.”
“I just slowed him down,” Gray said. “I tell the kids to start with their hands high and finish high. Sometimes kids try to do too much.”
Allen added one more free throw to make it 49-45, and Kyle Krebs added the finishing touches with two free throws with 3.8 seconds left.
“When the fourth quarter started we knew we were going to win the game,” DeJoseph said. “Our mindset was that we were going to win.”