On a snowy January night, 15 seniors were on center stage when the Carey School Panthers and Dietrich Blue Devils clashed in a pivotal Northside Conference girls' basketball game Tuesday in Carey.
Six Lady Panthers were honored on "Senior Night," but it was Dietrich's nine seniors who stole the spotlight with a 48-38 league win that virtually assured the Blue Devils a first-round bye in next week's Northside Sub-District 1A tournament at Shoshone.
Defending State 1A champ Shoshone and Dietrich have dominated the Northside loop for 16 years—Shoshone winning 11 league titles including five of the last six, and Dietrich the other five titles.
With a strong senior crew Carey had hoped to break into the top three of Shoshone, Dietrich and Richfield this time around. The Panthers were 1-6 against those teams last winter. And this winter the Carey record hasn't improved much, at 1-4. Carey plays at Richfield Monday, Jan. 23.
Tuesday's game was a golden chance, especially when the Panthers came out firing on the early scoring of Lacey Peterson and Amy Olsen, and the offensive rebounding of Whitney Peck. Carey found players in the paint and followed its shots.
Carey shot well and out-rebounded Dietrich 24-15 in the first half, but the Blue Devils got after it in the second half and took charge. Dietrich (15-4, 7-2 league) outscored Carey 30-15 after intermission and swept the season series with the Panthers (11-6, 4-4 league, 5-4 home).
It was a disappointment for Carey, which couldn't hit the broad side of the barn in the second half (29% field goal shooting for the game, 0-11 from 3-point range).
Carey also made 10 turnovers in the third when Dietrich's pressing man-to-man defense turned a five-point deficit into a six-point lead. The Blue Devils closed out their win by hitting 10-of-15 free throws in the fourth period, 15-for-24 for the game.
Leading the Blue Devils were 5-9 senior Caitlin Dill (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals) and Kasi McCowan (12 points, 5 boards, 4 steals, 2 assists). A quiet but major force was 5-8 senior Denise Anderson (8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals).
Other contributors for Devils coach Acey Shaw were Melanie Perron (5 points, 4 assists), Kellie Whittaker (4 points, 4 boards) and Nicki Miller (4-for-4 at the line).
Carey, which played against Camas County at Fairfield Thursday, got field goals from six different players in the first half. Only Brenna Silva (10 of her team-high 12 points after half) connected from the field after the half. Silva added 9 boards.
Panther contributors for coach Hollis Pincock included Whitney Peck (8 points, 14 rebounds), Jessica Royal (5 steals, 4 assists), Lacey Peterson (6 points, 7 boards), Amy Olsen (5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals), Allison Shaffer (4 points, 6 boards), Emily Olsen (2 points), Cassie Weaver (1 point) and Amanda Hill (4 steals, 2 assists).