Pressure defense will be Carson High boys basketball’s M.O.
Last season was a growing year for Carson High boys basketball, but head coach Jordan Glover was quick to point out the work his roster put in over the course of this past offseason.
After a 2-20 campaign in 2018-19, the Senators return four players that played significant minutes last season while coupling them with several new faces, who have risen through the junior varsity ranks.
“Out of the 13 guys on the team, I had about 11 or 12 of them in the weight room and the gym all offseason,” said Glover. “This group really put in a lot of time.”
The Senators will get their first chance to get their feet wet in game action Saturday when they travel to Foresthill High School in Foresthill, California. Opening tip for that contest is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
To the Carson faithful of last season, it won’t be a huge surprise who is expected to be the primary scorers on a night in, night out basis.
Last year, the brunt of the scoring load came from Parsa Hadjighasemi (13.7 points per game), Joseph Summers (11.5 ppg) and Nathan Smothers (8.7 ppg).
All three are back this season and Smothers will serve as a captain for the Senators in his senior campaign. Junior Alex Robinson will also be a team captain this season.
“Those guys will bring a lot of the experience they got from last year. We’re going to be young, but their experience will help the guys who just joined the team follow along,” said Glover.
According to MaxPreps, Hadjighasemi – who will be a sophomore this season – was fourth in the Sierra League in scoring average last year while leading the league in 3-point field goals made (62).
Summers, now a junior, led the team in assists last season, posting an average of 3.8 assists per game while also leading the squad in steals.
“Those three guys need to be in as the focal points of the offensive sets we have,” said Glover.
Alongside those three, Glover is expecting to get contributions from junior big man Will Breeding, who posted 29 points and 34 rebounds last season in 11 games after being promoted from JV. This year, Breeding will be the tallest member of the team at 6-5.
Of the new members of the varsity squad, Glover is anticipating 6-2 sophomore Brandon Graunke and Robinson to quickly make impacts on the floor.
“A lot of them were athletes and became basketball players,” said Glover. “They’re really molding into basketball players.”
Glover and the Senators will run a 4-out, 1-in motion offense with a “handful of continuity offenses and quick hitters.”
With the shooting prowess of a handful of members, Senator fans should see set plays designed to get shooters open while also using plenty of pick-and-rolls with Summers at point to try to let their leading passer from last season create shots for teammates.
However, offensive success will be, in part, determined at the other end of the floor as Glover said Carson will be relying on creating offensive chances on the defensive end.
“We’re going to rely a lot on our defensive pressure to get run-outs and fastbreak points,” Glover said.
Carson’s defensive tasks will be mainly one-on-one as Glover fully expects the Senators to be able to guard man-to-man the length of the floor and for a majority of contests.
Glover admits the team is guard heavy, which gives the Senators options to switch in fresh legs in order to keep a full-court press going.
The Senators will look to wrinkle in zone schemes to keep opposing teams on their toes, ideally giving Carson plenty of ways to create from the defensive half of the floor.
“We’re guard heavy and we have a lot of subs,” said Glover. “We can guard all 94 feet.”
The Sierra League shook out without much parity last year as every team toppled league opponents they were stronger than on paper.
At the top of the league, Glover expects the same two foes that led last year to continue setting the pace.
“The two top teams in our league are going to be (Bishop) Manogue and Galena in my opinion,” said Glover. “I think every game we play is going to be a battle for us.”
The third-year Carson head coach has preached to his guys that a league without parity can quickly turn into one full of it, if the Senators can steal a couple wins from league foes this season.
As of now, Glover feels Carson’s team chemistry has been a big factor in the growth in the offseason.
As the season gets underway, Glover wants the Senators to see the results and recognize the work they put in over the offseason.
“I would love to see, and have them see for themselves, that the time they put in the offseason will show on the floor this year,” said Glover. “To trust themselves and to trust their teammates. We need to be super unselfish. … We have to rely on everybody.”