CARSON CITY — If the Carson City-Crystal Eagles are to win a league title for the second consecutive season, they will need a home win tonight against Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart.
This will be the second matchup between the Mid-State Athletics Conference leaders this season. The two schools met early in the season, with the Irish posting a 37-33 win in just the second game.
Carson City (9-2, 4-1) won the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title last season and also a Class C district title. Both titles were their first ones since the early 1980s.
In the first meeting against the Irish, the Eagles were up late (31-28), but could not finish off the win.
“They finished the game strong. We didn’t rebound real well and we were impatient on the offensive end,” Eagles coach Larry Farmer said. “We’ve really changed a lot of our schemes since that game. That was November and we have been playing pretty well lately.”
Carson City has been playing really well defensively. Since a loss to Portland St. Patrick — ranked 5th in Class D — the Eagles have have won five straight games and have not allowed more the 33 points.
“We have been playing really good defense,” Farmer said. “They (Sacred Heart) are bigger than we are and we will have to do a good job in the interior to be successful.”
Sacred Heart — which is receiving honorable mention points in Class D — was successful inside against the Eagles in the meeting.
“They had 25 of their 37 points in the paint. They did a really good job inside against us,” Farmer said. “We got tested early in the year, on the road against a good team. When it counted we didn’t execute.”
The Eagles have played a tough schedule this year, which includes road wins at Shepherd, Belding and Tri County. All three schools are in Class B. The Eagles are Class C.
“We’ve had three good Class B road victories this year,” Farmer said. “We know we can play a good team and beat them.”
In addition to better defense, Farmer said his team has defined their roles.
“We are defining our roles better. We are understanding what roles we need to play on this team,” Farmer said. “At first it’s sometimes hard to figure that out and it takes time. After the Portland St. Patrick game I knew we had to make some changes defensively. Since, we have been really good defensively.”
Farmer said there are a few things the Eagles will have to do to beat the Irish tonight.
“This is a veteran group and I think they feel like they can be successful no matter who they are playing,” Farmer said. “They understand what they have to do defensively and offensively to be successful. We have to take care of the ball, play sound defense, execute on the offensive end and hit some shots.”
A win would tie the Eagles for first place with four more league games remaining.
“This is a chance to tie for the league title and hopefully we can meet the moment,” Farmer said. “We hope the community comes out and supports the girls. They have worked really hard and put themselves in a position to be successful. I think people want to see that.”
Carson City-Crystal will travel to Saginaw Nouvel on Friday.