SPARKS - Carson High's scheduling has turned out to be a double-edged sword.
The Senators took a while to get started, opening their season nearly a week after most teams had started playing games. With tournaments the past two weeks, quality practice time has been limited.
"We had a lot of practice before we played our first game," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "The noticeable problems don't appear until you play your first game. We haven't had a real hard practice.
"I don't even have a rotation yet. We played a lot of different combinations. A couple of things are clearer. To play like we want to, we can't have any less than eight guys in the rotation and probably nine."
Carson's play was a little up and down against South City, but thanks to 19 points by Adam Houghton and 18 by Jack Jacquet, the Senators grabbed a 74-56 victory at the annual Nugget-Rail City Classic Friday night at Reed High School.
The win evened Carson's record at 3-3 entering its own tournament, which kicks off Wednesday night. Carson opens with Sparks High.
"We experienced a little bit of everything here," Barnes said. "We had a game go overtime, had to experience a huge comeback and then had to hold onto a lead. We weren't very good the second night."
Carson, thanks to a sustained defensive effort, rolled to a 15-6 first-quarter lead, and increased it to 34-22 at the half thanks to a rare five-point play.
A South City player was whistled for a foul and protested too much. Technical. Somebody on the bench mouthed off. Technical. The original player who committed the foul popped off again. Technical and ejection. Houghton, who had 14 in the first half, hit five of the six technical free throws, stretching Carson's lead to double digits.
"We came out with a great effort defensively," Barnes said. "We didn't let them get set offensively."
The pace of the game favored South City, as Eric Moore scored nine of his 11 third-quarter points in the early part of the third quarter. Treys by Bobby Patch and Drew King trimmed the lead to 45-37 . A three-point play by Ron Delarame made it 51-44, as the Senators seemed unable to get a stop defensively.
"We had the lead and started getting sloppy," Barnes said. "One bad shot isn't going to hurt you, but it leads to two bad shots and another. All of a sudden they went on a mini-run and we had to slow them down."
Jack Jacquet, who scored 15 of his 18 after intermission, carried the Senators offensively most of the fourth quarter.
After a 3-pointer chopped the lead to 56-47, Jacquet hit a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw for a 59-47 lead.
King drilled one from beyond the arc and was fouled. He hit the free throw for a four-point play. Alex McInnley hit one of two from the charity stripe to make it 59-52 with 6:07 left.
Jacquet scored seven straight for Carson, as the Senators went on a 13-2 run to build the lead to 72-55 with less than 30 seconds to play.
"They were a little shorter," Barnes said. "We thought we had a mismatch, and we were able to take advantage of it with Jack inside."
Notes: The Senators got some nice play from reserve guard Brooks Greenlee, who finished with eight points, including back-to-back baskets to give the Senators a 38-22 lead early in the second half. He also scored the Senators' last two baskets of the game ... King led South City with 18 and Moore added 13 ... Steve Mandoki added eight for the Senators, who had 11 players score in the game ... Kevin Brush had all six of his points in the first half, complementing Houghton's efforts.