Smith powers Senators
December 20, 2013
RENO — Carson High was missing two of its better players, but it didn't matter thanks to a stifling press and the scoring of Savannah Smith.
Smith scored 13 of Carson's first 17 points and finished with 22, as the Senators pounded mistake-prone Galena, 57-28, Thursday night in a Sierra League contest.
The win gives Carson a 2-1 record in Division I play and a 5-2 overall record heading into its holiday tournament in Southern California next week. Carson plays Legacy of Las Vegas on Dec. 27, the first of two games that day. Carson will for sure be without Madison Preston (sprained ankle) for the entire tournament. Coach Nate Tolbert expects Kayla Aikins, who missed the game because of a family trip, to return in time to play in Southern California.
Smith came out on fire with eight straight points in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the contest. Galena turned the ball over five times in that span and made 35 errors in the game. To say that the Grizzlies didn't deal with Carson's pressure very well is an understatement. The Grizzlies looked absolutely lost.
"I knew I had to come out ready to play," Smith said. "I wasn't holding back (in the second and third quarters). I kept trying to make things happen for us.
"We put a lot of pressure on them early and tried to wear them out."
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That seems to be coach Nathan Tolbert's strategy, and it worked well on Thursday. Carson converted the 35 turnovers into 27 points. The only downside in Tolbert's mind was that he wants to see the Senators run their half-court offense better.
"We want our defense to dictate," Tolbert said. "They had problems against the pressure, and we were able to get easy baskets, which is what we want. When we don't run, however, we need to do a better job running our plays.
"Savannah scored 14 of our first 17. They never adjusted. We need everybody else to step up because there are some teams who will double Savannah right away."
The Senators did get 10 points from Carly Bachmann and eight each from Gina Peacock and Michelle Perry. That trio needs to continue scoring at that level while Preston is out.
When you look at this game closer, it's Carson's defense that stood out more than anything.
Galena failed to score a field goal in the final 2:06 of the first quarter, the entire second quarter and the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. In case you aren't up on your math, that's 15-minutes 6-seconds without a basket. In that span, Galena was 0-for-13 and turned the ball over 20 times.
Carson's biggest lead in the first half was 23-4 thanks to a 13-1 run, spanning the final 50 seconds of the first quarter and the first 5:45 of the second quarter.
Carson stretched its lead to 27 points, 38-11, with 1:57 left in the third quarter thanks to a 13-3 run. Bachmann scored five of her points in that surge. Smith got hot again to start the fourth quarter, scoring seven straight points to give CHS its biggest lead of the night, 48-15, with 4:54 remaining. The lead stayed between 28 and 30 the rest of the way.
"We didn't want them to get to 25," Tolbert said. "That was our focus. We'll take the win.
"We're looking forward to playing Legacy. That will be a good test for us."
Carson 39, Galena 29
RENO — Serena Miller scored 24 points to lead the Senators to an easy win over the Grizzlies.
Carson returns to action today at 5:15 at home against Bishop Manogue.