Senators stretch win streak to 4
RENO — Carson basketball coach Carlos Mendeguia wants to see his team start fast in both halves. The message apparently got through at the intermission.
The Senators outscored McQueen 16-4 in the first five-plus minutes of the third quarter en route to an easy 52-42 win in the first round of the Rail City Classic Wednesday night at Wooster High School.
The win, Carson’s fourth straight, upped the Senators’ record to 4-1 heading into today’s 3 p.m. match-up against Division 1-A powerhouse Lowry, which was 4-1 heading into Wednesday’s action. McQueen fell to 0-2.
“That’s a big emphasis, coming out at the start of the game and the second half,” Mendeguia said. “We want to start aggressive (at both ends of the floor). I think we hit our first five shots from the floor. What’s been key to keeping us in games is our half-court defense. Rian (Narra) is a tough match-up. You have to know where he is. I thought we did a good job on him.”
Narra finished with nine points, but only had four points in the final 28 minutes of the game after scoring five in the first 3-minutes 57-seconds of the game. Carson rotated between a man and 2-3 zone throughout the game. McQueen shot just 6-for-24 from the floor in the second half, including 2-for-12 in the third period when the Senators took control of the contest.
The score was knotted at 20 at the half, and that’s when Carson got hot and the Lancers couldn’t buy a basket.
Alan Cohen started a 10-0 run with two free throws, and following a McQueen turnover, Cameron Price (12 points) scored on a lay-up. Following a Narra miss, Asa Carter got loose for a lay-up to make it 26-20 with 6:17 left in the period. Narra misfired twice more, and Carson turned the second miss into a basket by Anthony Munoz, who tied Price for scoring honors with 12 points. Following another Lancer turnover, Kyle Steele hit a floater to cap the 10-0 surge. In that span, the Lancers went 0-for-4 and turned the ball over twice.
Patric DeLeon drained a 3-pointer to get the lead back down to seven, but Price scored from the inside to make it 32-23. DeLeon made one of three from the line, but two inside hoops by Ian Schulz and a layup by Price gave Carson a 38-24 lead with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
McQueen got the lead down to 40-30 with 5:55 left in the game, but Carson restored order with an 11-4 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 51-34, with 2:13 left. Munoz started the surge with an outside shot from the left side, Cohen chipped in a basket and free throw, and Kyle Denning, Carter and Price each added a bucket.
McQueen ended the game with a 9-2 garbage-time run, something Mendeguia wasn’t happy with.
“Some guys feel it’s a sense of entitlement to play,” Mendeguia said. “That’s not what I want to see. We need to finish strong.”
The veteran coach was happy with the scoring. Besides Munoz and Price, Steele had eight, Cohen had seven and Carter had six.
“We are well balanced,” Mendeguia said. “All five of our starters can score.”
And he’s been pleased with the play of Munoz, who played freshman and JV ball at Carson before moving to Southern California for his junior year. Munoz scored six points in each half, and for the most part, played error-free basketball.
“He’s coming along,” Mendeguia said. “He wasn’t with us this summer, so he had to learn the system. He’s getting better every game. He gives us a guy who can handle the ball and shoot it. He understands the game.”
“Things are going well,” Munoz said. “I enjoy playing with Kyle (Steele) and the other guys. I’ve been playing ball with Kyle since third grade. I’m out there trying to get everybody involved. I sometimes forget the plays, but Kyle helps me out. I’m feeling more comfortable.”
Steele quickly corrected his buddy, and said the two have played basketball together since first grade.
“He (Munoz) is doing well,” Steele said. “It makes me feel comfortable having him out there.
“I thought we did pretty well (tonight), especially our defense and rebounding. We have to cut down on our turnovers; take better care of the ball.”