Zone D key to CHS win
RENO — Carson High brought the 2-3 zone out of the closet, and the move paid major dividends.
The Senators went on a 21-3 run in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to break open a surprisingly close game and beat the Hug Hawks 62-44 in a Division I crossover game Friday night.
It ended another perfect day for the Senators, who reached the finals of the Rail City Classic with a 62-50 win earlier in the day over Dougherty Valley. The two wins leave Carson with a 2-0 league mark and a 5-2 record overall. Carson will play either Galena or Placer today at 2:30 p.m. at Sparks High for the Rail City crown.
Hug gave Carson all it wanted, and trailed just 41-35 after three. Carson came out in a 2-3 zone, and the Hawks came unglued.
The Hawks turned the ball over their first four times down the floor, and Carson made them pay with eight straight points to open up a 49-35 lead. Jayden DeJoseph (10 points) drained two free throws, Tez Allen (10 points), made a lay-up, Asa Carter (16 points) converted two free throws after being fouled on a putback attempt, and Allen knocked down two free throws after an offensive rebound.
After a Hug miss, Carson came down and Carter converted a three-point play to make it 51-35. After a 3-pointer by Zontahan Williams, Carson scored 10 straight to go up 61-38. Carter led the surge with two more baskets.
“It’s not that I’m not a zone guy,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “I’m a win guy. I’ll do whatever needs to be done to win the game. We hadn’t worked on our zone at all. It let our guys relax a little bit.”
Given the Senators had less than an hour break between games and that included driving time, it was surprising Mendeguia didn’t open in a zone to give his tired team a breather.
“We talked about it (going zone at the start),” Mendeguia said. “It sends a bad message. I wanted to get our guys moving and not let them get lazy.”
The Senators weren’t lazy, but they weren’t loose, either.
Carson led just 24-18 at the half, and the Senators had loads of trouble with the energetic Hawks, who pressured from the outset. The Senators shot 61 percent from the floor in the opening 16 minutes, but turned the ball over a whopping 12 times, including four straight times without a shot midway through the second quarter.
The miscues enabled the Hawks to close to 17-14. Two buckets by Malik Youmes cut Carson’s lead to 20-18 before the Senators converted a half-ending four-point play on two technical free throws by Carter and a lay-up by Jace Keema for the six-point lead at the half.
Carson extended its lead to 30-20 with a 6-0 run early in the second half. However, the Hawks clawed their way back into the game, cutting the CHS lead to four points three different times and three once (38-35) before Keema drained a clutch 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Against Dougherty Valley, Carson went on an 18-7 tear to open up a 43-31 lead before the Wildcats scored te last three points of the period to make it 43-34 after three.
DV closed it to 52-46 late in the fourth quarter thanks to a 6-0 run, but DV was forced to foul, and Carson converted six times in a span of 45 seconds to make it 58-46 with 1:03 left in the game. Carter drained three of his four attempts. DeJoseph, who led CHS with 21, started the surge with two free throws. Carter ended up with 17.
“I knew it was going to be a tough, physical game,” Meneguia said. “They play in a tough conference and are battle tested. This was a similar game to what we’ll have in our own league.”