What the Carson girls basketball team was able to do Friday night in beating the Douglas Tigers 58-34, it had to do in pieces.
Those pieces, though, added up to a complete focused effort -- just the kind that Senator coach Nathan Tolbert had been looking for out of his team all season.
"It was the first time this year where I thought we were stringing together multiple quarters of strong play," Tolbert said. "We've had games with one, two great quarters, but we hadn't really gotten a full game. It took us about a half of a quarter to get going tonight, but once we did, it was good."
Carson trailed 5-2 early on, but the Senators answered with a 13-2 run to close out the first quarter.
Douglas closed the score back down to 15-9 with a 4-0 run to open the second, but Carson came back with a 10-0 run. The Tigers got no closer than 10 points from there.
"I'm very happy that we were able to put a game like that together heading in to the playoffs," Tolbert said. "We've been in a bit of a slump mentally. We've been winning, but we haven't been consistent.
"It doesn't take much extra for either team to get pumped up for this rivalry, but the girls came in ready and focused tonight."
Carson junior Savannah Smith carried the offensive load for the Senators, finishing with a game-high 24 points.
She scored the Senators' first six points in the game, digging Carson out from its only deficit of the game.
"We've been leaning on her a lot," Tolbert said. "She's good enough to generate her own offense if she needs to and she was able to do that at some points tonight."
For Douglas, the Tigers struggled adjusting both to the Senators' full-court press as well as their half-court defense.
"It was a tough night," Douglas coach Werner Christen said. "I didn't recognize our team tonight. It was very uncharacteristic. That's the perfect word. They were out of rhythm and we just weren't making great decisions on offense."
Aiding in disrupting Douglas' offensive rhythm was a series of new wrinkles Carson installed on defense this week.
"Both Werner and (Douglas assistant) Dave Pfaffenberger are very academic in what they do," Tolbert said. "They are two of the most prepared coaches out there. I knew they'd have a good scout on us and I wanted to change some things up.
"We added a couple stunts on defense. Hopefully being a little different would give us an added boost. I think there were times we saw success with that tonight."
Carson was able to put the game away on a series of key runs -- 14-2 through the end of the second and the start of the third, 6-0 in the middle of the third and 10-0 over the final minute.
"There were spots where Carson just punched us in the mouth and we were not able to respond," Christen said. "They executed their game plan better than us and we have to figure out a way to fix what we saw tonight."
Elena Thurman had nine points for Carson, Natali Salas had eight, Maddi Saarem and Madison Dreston each had four points. Abigail Greene (2) and Carly Bachman (1) rounded out the Senators' scoring.
Desiree Cage led the Tigers with 11 points, Diana Regalado had nine and Ericka Munoz had four in the loss.