Senators battle Dons |

Senators battle Dons

Dave Price

So what was the difference for the Carson High School boys basketball team in Wednesday afternoon’s third-place game at the 23rd annual Capital Classic?

Maybe it was Vinnie Reymus coming off the bench to score 17 points, 12 of which came in the pivotal fourth quarter. Perhaps it was the rebounding and interior defense of Kevin Cote, Marc Liveratti and Mike Schreiner. Or just sheer intensity.

Most likely, all of the above together were contributing factors as the Senators rallied for an emotional 68-61 victory against Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) at Morse Burley Gymnasium.

Carson (8-6) broke loose to score 26 points in the fourth quarter to take charge of a contest that was marred by the ejection of five players.

“I was proud of these kids tonight,” Carson coach Tom Andreasen said. “They sucked it up against a very good basketball team.”

Two Carson senior starters – 6-foot-9 Lee Biddlecome and 6-4 forward Matt Leck – were ejected as a result of a third quarter fight, which began as a scuffle on the floor between Biddlecome and Amador Valley’s Taylor Varley. At that point, the Dons led 34-31 with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter.

“When Lee went out, we knew we’d have to step up,” junior guard Cody Longero said. “We had some guys step up; Vinnie shot the ball great as always, and Liveratti gave us a big lift on the boards.”

Cote, Schreiner and Liveratti combined to pull down 18 rebounds in the second half (Cote had eight).

“The three of us, we can handle the boards pretty well,” said Schreiner, who scored all eight of his points in the second half. “We boarded well, but I think our intensity was the difference. We were really fired up … we really wanted to win after that (the fight).”

Schreiner buried a 3-pointer off an assist from Cote, Liveratti scored on a layup and Longero banked a shot off the glass to tie the score at 38.

One factor was a full-court diamond press that Carson employed late in the third quarter.

“We wanted to give them a different look, so we slapped the press in there and I think it caught them by surprise,” Andreasen said.

Schreiner’s putback gave Carson a 44-42 lead 15 seconds into the fourth quarter. Cote scored on another putback, and then Carson’s press forced a turnover in the backcourt that led to a Longero layup, giving the Senators a 48-42 lead with 6:56 remaining. They were in the driver’s seat at that point.

Two technical fouls were then assessed to Amador Valley’s Chris Bartolotti. Reymus promptly knocked down 3 of 4 free throws, then moments later he dished an assist to Longero for a basket that pushed the Carson lead to 55-44 with 5:31 to go.

Reymus shot 10-for-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to finish with his game-high 17. Cote also scored 16 and Longero 12 for the Senators.

Tom Campion led Amador Valley with 14 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter, including a pair of treys that helped the Dons get back in the game.

This was an important win for the Senators, who host Reed in a final tune-up before starting their Northern 4A Division II season with a Jan. 7 contest at Reno.

“I think tonight was a big confidence builder for us,” Longero said. “Amador Valley was favored to win this tournament, so to beat them, this is going to help us going into league. Reno’s going to be a real big game. I know I always look forward to playing those guys, it should be a real good game.”