Thurman sets scoring record, Senators advance
RENO – Alyson Thurman became Carson High School’s career scoring leader on Wednesday morning.
More importantly, Thurman’s 24 points helped the Senators score an impressive 62-40 victory against Cimarron-Memorial in the tipoff game of the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament at Lawlor Events Center.
Thurman, Pam Williams and Meghan Gradert combined to score 54 points – mostly within the paint – and dominated the glass as Carson (29-6) won the 9 a.m. contest and advanced to the state semifinals for the third time in four years.
The Senators play Galena in the semifinals today at 5 p.m. on the Lawlor court.
Part of Carson’s game plan against Cimarron Memorial (16-8) was to get the ball to Thurman, who trailed Jaime Brown by four points as Carson’s career scoring leader. Brown, who went on to play at UCLA, scored 1,669 points for the Senators between 1980 and ’84.
Thurman scored on two putbacks, and then the 6-foot senior forward broke the record when she took an Erin Stieber pass for a layup to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter.
Her layup also capped a 16-0 run over the final four minutes of the first period to give the Senators a 22-3 lead. Williams, Gradert and Thurman accounted for all 22 of Carson’s first-quarter points.
“We knew they like to play a 1-2-2 zone, and we saw on tape that the middle was vulnerable,” Carson coach Paul Croghan said. “They came out in the 1-2-2, so we took it inside because Pam, Meghan and Alyson are tough when they get it in close.”
Williams scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds in the first quarter to help set the tone for the Senators. The 5-foot-11 senior post finished the game with 18 rebounds to go with her 15 points.
“Pam was getting everything out there,” Croghan said.
Gradert also had 15 points and six rebounds. Five of those rebounds came on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, Cimarron-Memorial (16-8) was able to do little against Carson’s tenacious zone defense. Top scoring threat Nikki Richards went scoreless through the first half. Riki McCarter, who hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Tori Ford combined to score 12 of Cimarron-Memorial’s 13 first-half points.
The Senators went to the locker room with a 29-13 lead.
“Those were the three we concentrated on. We knew Richards was the one they like to go to, we knew that No. 25 (Ford) was a good inside player and that No. 21 (McCarter) has great range,” Croghan said.
“Our zone worked pretty well, and I think our press bothered them a little bit. We weren’t getting a lot of steals (from the press), but I think it kept them from finding their rhythm.”
Richards and Ford finished with 13 points each and McCarter had 12 to lead the Spartans offensively. Ford also picked off six steals in the game.
Thurman scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Senators extended their cushion to 49-19.
“Alyson didn’t get off to a great start, but she kept at it,” Croghan said. “One of the things we’ve been able to do in the last four years is to convince her to keep shooting even if she misses three or four in a row.”
Likewise, Williams is winding down toward the end of an illustrious four-year career at Carson.
“Pam is probably going to end up No. 4 on our scoring list and probably No. 2 in rebounds,” Croghan pointed out. “Obviously we’re going to miss both of them after this year, but the nice part is we still have at least one more game to go.”
Another game against Galena, a team the Senators have met three times already this season. Carson has won twice, including a 45-43 overtime triumph against the Grizzlies in the Northern 4A zone semifinals last week.