By Darrell Moody, The Nevada Appeal
The recipe for Carson High’s 17th straight win against a Northern Nevada Division I opponent was simple – a big run at the end of the first half and great defense in the second half.
Carson used a 7-0 run to gain a nine-point halftime advantage, and then held Reed to 10 second-half points en route to an easy 57-31 win in the opening round of the NIAA Division regional playoffs Wednesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
The win upped Carson’s overall record to 23-5, and sends the Senators into the semifinals against the Galena Grizzlies, who knocked off Spanish Springs, 63-50. The Sierra League rivals will meet at 7:15 p.m. on Friday at Spanish Springs with a state tournament berth at stake. It will be the third meeting of the season.
“I think Reed came out with a lot of energy and intensity,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “They had nothing to lose. The pressure was on us because we’re supposed to win. The run at the end of the first half gave us momentum heading into the second half.”
In the eyes of Reed first-year coach Zach Sanford it was the turning point of the game.
“That was huge,” Sanford said. “That’s the ballgame. They got two transition lay-ups and a transition three and it’s a nine-point game.”
Trailing 23-16 with 3:31 left in the first half, Reed got a lay-up from Lincoln Turner and a trey from Jeremy Ramos (13 points) to make it 23-21 with 2:31 left in the half. Over the next 78 seconds neither team scored. Carson went 0-for-3 with a turnover, while Reed went 0-for-3 with a turnover.
Tez Allen, who scored 11 points, got two straight run-out lay-ups, and after Reed failed to convert on an outside shot and putback on the same possession, Jared Rooker came down and hit a trey from the left side with 32 seconds left to make it 30-21 at the break. Booker finished with seven points, all in the first half.
“It (the run) helped a lot,” Allen said. “I was able to leak out and my teammates found me with the passes.”
“It was very big,” said Jayden DeJoseph. “We didn’t want to come into halftime in a close game. It (the run) got our confidence up a little bit.”
Ramos hit a trey to open the second half, but the Senators closed out the quarter with a 15-4 run and a 45-28 lead after three. Carson had a five-point play and scored the quarter’s final seven points.
The five-point play came when Jace Keema was fouled by Isaac Nieves, who was then whistled for a technical foul. Keema hit one of two at the line and DeJoseph, who led all scorers with 21 points, knocked down the two technical free throws and scored on the ensuing possession.
Ramos didn’t score in the fourth quarter, and Reed’s only fourth-quarter score was a 3-pointer by Jerome Smith with less than a minute left in the contest.
Containing Ramos was key to Carson’s adjustment in the second half. Reed shot 3-for-20 in the second half (12-for-43 overall unofficially).
Carson also did a nice job on Turner, holding him to just four points, well below his 16-point average. Allen was on Turner a lot of the time.
“We executed better in terms of what we wanted to do at the defensively,” Mendeguia said. “We were pressuring too far out on Ramos. We wanted to give him a little room which helped us stay in front of him better. He likes to get into the key and kick the ball out to 3-point shooters. Jace (Keema) did a nice job helping out.”
“The second half they did a better job defensively and executed their offense better,” Sanford said. “We missed shots and turned the ball over. They were 16-0 in league for a reason. That’s a good team.”