Miners coast by Senators to make regional finals
SPARKS – For nearly 12 minutes, Carson High belonged on the same court with Bishop Manogue.
The other 20 minutes? Let’s just say the Senators would like to forget them.
The Miners scored the last 11 points of the first half to take a 17-point lead, and coasted most of the second half en route to an easy 65-40 win over the Senators in the Northern 4A regional semifinals Thursday night at Spanish Springs High School.
The win was Manogue’s 18th straight and sends the Miners into Saturday’s final against McQueen, which knocked off Reno. Carson ends the season with a 19-9 record. The win also clinched an automatic state berth for the Miners, who haven’t lost a game since Dec. 28.
Carson shot just 34 percent from the field, and Manogue’s pressure defense on the perimeter made it tough all night for Carson to get into its offense. The Senators didn’t get a lot of clean looks on the perimeter.
“Manogue is underrated on defense,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. “It’s awful tough. Everybody knows about their offense, but it’s their defense that gives us trouble.”
Carson kept it close when Josh Peacock, Pat Smith (9 points, 8 rebounds) and Andrew Johnson keyed an 8-4 second-quarter run that cut Manogue’s lead to 26-20 with 4 minutes, 18 seconds left.
But it was the Miners’ defense that helped get things rolling before the end of the half.
Carson turnovers on back-to-back possessions resulted in layups by Brennan Hogan and Niles Lujan for a 30-20 lead. After Carson misfired on its next possession, Bobby Hunter (26 points) scored on a putback for a 32-20 lead. Lujan scored on a layup and Patrick John nailed a 3-pointer to make it 37-20 at the intermission.
Another key early was that Brian Barnes managed to get up just four shots in the first 16 minutes and failed to score.
Manogue went 16-for-28 from the floor in the first half, and half of those baskets were inside 5 feet as Carson was unable to stop dribble penetration and gave up some fast-break lay-ups.
“We called a couple of timeouts, and we talked how we weren’t doing a very good job of rebounding and they were getting to the basket,” Manogue coach Bill Ballinger said of his team’s second-quarter burst. “I think we forced three turnovers in a row (actually two).
“I thought Steven (Carlson) did another good job on Brian (Barnes). We pay a lot of attention to both him and Andrew (Johnson).”
Ballinger said the goal is to hold each of them under 10 points. The Miners have done that the last two games with Barnes, but Johnson scored in double digits two of the three meetings this season.
Carson opened the second half with a bucket by Barnes and a 3-pointer by Johnson, who led the Senators with 11 points. That cut the lead to 37-25, but Manogue scored 14 of the next 22 points to build the lead back up to 19 after three periods, 52-33.
Ethan Dillard started the Manogue surge with a 3-pointer and Hunter scored the Miners’ next eight points. He scored on layups, post-ups, 3-pointers and pull-up jump shots. Carson was defenseless to stop him.
“We knew they would post him up,” Barnes said. “He’s a mismatch (for us). He was able to find open guys who hit shots.”
Hunter, who came into the game averaging 23 points, was the difference maker as he has been all year. He even pulled down 10 rebounds.
“He’s been a consistent player all year for us,” Ballinger said. “When I put him in the post he does a good job. He’s pretty strong.”
It only got worse in the fourth quarter for the Senators. Carson went 1-for-11 in the final quarter, and the lone basket, by Trey Jensen (8 points), didn’t come until 48 seconds remained in the contest.
For some reason, Manogue kept up the pressure at both ends of the court even though the game was well in hand. The Miners trapped late in the game and they were shooting 3’s until the end.
Barnes, a close friend of Ballinger’s, admitted he was a little ticked that the Miners were playing a trapping defense so close to the end of the game.
It was a disappointing ending to what was a fine season, Barnes said. Carson tied for second in the Sierra League and won a road playoff game.
“We accomplished more than anybody thought we would and maybe more than the players thought we would,” Barnes said. “We had only two returning starters, and they were in different roles.”
NOTES: Manogue point guard Niles Lujan was under the weather, but played well enough to score 11 points, second-best on the squad …Peacock closed out his season with seven points, six coming in the first half
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