Senators tip Tigers in OT |

Senators tip Tigers in OT

by Darrell Moody
AJ Pfaffenberger almost gets a steal against Carson on Tuesday.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

The biggest crowd of the year packed Morse Burley Gym Tuesday night, and they were treated to arguably the best boys game of the season in Northern Nevada.

Carson and rival Douglas battled for 36 minutes on near-even terms before Alan Cohen followed a Cameron Price miss to beat the buzzer and give the first-place Senators a heart-stopping 54-52 overtime victory over the Tigers in a Sierra League showdown.

Carson improved its league-leading record to 7-2 (9-5 overall), while Douglas fell to 5-4 (9-7) and remained fourth in the league standings. Three of the Tigers’ league losses have been decided by a combined total of six points.

This was your typical Carson-Douglas game. It was physical and full of emotion. The biggest lead the entire game was eight points (twice), and it was Douglas on top each time (26-18 and 30-22) in the third quarter.

“That was a pretty good win,” said Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia. “I don’t think I could have taken another overtime. I was getting exhausted.”

Added Douglas coach Corey Thacker: “It was a great atmosphere. It was a great game. The kids played hard. They are a good team and they played well. I knew we were in for a fight. They always play us tough.”

Both teams had a chance to end the game in regulation.

With Carson leading 45-44 and 4.8 seconds left in regulation, Douglas’ Sam Broersma tied the game at 45 by making the first free throw. He missed the second, however. Carson called a timeout with 2.4 left and set a play up for Price, who missed a 15-footer at the end of regulation. Price had given the Senators the one-point lead when he took an out-of-bounds pass from Dilyn Rooker and laid it in with 16.5 left.

Carson grabbed a 52-48 lead in the first 1:52 of overtime, however, a basket by James Herrick and baseline shot by Pat Johnson tied the game at 52 with 1:07 left. Carson worked the clock down to 12.2 and then called timeout. Kyle Steele put up an off-balance shot — defended by A.J. Pfaffenberger and Herrick — that failed to draw iron and the Tigers stopped the clock with 1.8 remaining.

“We were trying to get the ball to Kyle off a double screen,” Mendeguia said.

The Tigers had their opportunity to win, however, a high inbounds pass hit the rafters to give the ball back to Carson with the same 1.8 left. As it turned out, the Senators needed every tenth of that time to win.

Rooker got the ball into Price, whose shot hit the backboard and then the rim. Cohen, who was on the weak side, alertly followed the shot in. A moment later, Carson’s fans stormed the court.

“I just went for it,” Cohen said. “I tried to put it up as fast as I could. I don’t think I’ve had a (varsity) game-winner. It feels really good.”

Thacker said he didn’t have any doubt that the play was good.

“It didn’t come down to the last shot,” he said. “We had a chance to get the rebound and we didn’t block out. Turning the ball over 27 times doesn’t help.”

Carson converted Douglas mistakes into 15 points, which is huge in such a close game.

Steele and Cohen carried the scoring load for the Senators in the second half and overtime. Cohen scored nine of his 11 and Steele had 12 of his game-high 17.

Steele cut Douglas’ lead to 34-32 with four straight points in the middle of the fourth quarter. After Pfaffenberger gave the Tigers a 37-32 lead with his 3-pointer, Kyle Denning answered with a trey to make it 37-35. Steele scored four straight points to give CHS a 39-37 lead, Broersma tied it at 39 with 3:20 left. A three-point play by Herrick gave the Tigers a 42-39 lead with 2:37 left in regulation.