If there's one thing Carey High School boys have learned through football and basketball this fall, it's that defense wins ball games. Defense is the rock you rely upon when your offense just isn't clicking.
Carey's defense was the big factor in Saturday's 46-36 Panther victory over the Hagerman Pirates Saturday night that gave coach Dick Simpson's Carey varsity only its third championship in the 12 years the two-day, four-team tournament has been held.
The Panthers (4-0) handled Mackay easily 52-32 Friday in the opening round of the boys' tournament.
"Our bright spot was our man-to-man defense," said Simpson about the championship game. "It wasn't one of our better offensive nights. We let them get into the ball game and made some bad choices. We have a ways to go, and I guess nothing is going to be easy for us this season, but we found a way to win."
The title game was a showcase for the top players on each team, Carey 6-3 senior D.J. Simpson and Hagerman 6-2 junior Morgan Knight. They battled head-to-head—the difference being Simpson was ice cold shooting and had to hike up his socks on offense and defense and manufacture plays. He did at crucial times.
Simpson (16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 steals, 2 assists) and Knight (12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists) had comparable statistics. "D.J. and Morgan stepped up and took the challenge," said coach Simpson.
Hagerman (2-3), a 39-36 winner over Challis Friday night, helped Carey by committing 21 turnovers, many of them unforced. Coach Kevin Cato's Pirates sliced Carey's once- 11-point lead to 37-34 with four minutes left. But Carey went on a 9-2 run to end the game, D.J. Simpson making five straight free throws and Kade Peterson two to end the game.
Perhaps the biggest play down the stretch was an inbounds play when Trevor Peck (5 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists) made a clever bounce pass that Tyler Parke turned into the basket giving Carey a 40-34 lead. Parke (12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists) had a big night scoring three buckets in the second.
Carey led at halftime 23-14 and took care of the ball all game, committing only 10 turnovers.
Other Carey contributors were Kade Peterson (7 points, 2 boards), Dillon Simpson (6 points) and Blake Whitby (3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists). Sophomore Dylan Brooks had 10 points for Hagerman, and junior Jake Lagle 5 points and 5 rebounds.
Friday, eight Panthers scored lifting the home team past Mackay 52-32. Trevor Peck (10 points, two 3-pointers) had the hot hand early, scoring 5 points in the first quarter when Carey surged to a 13-6 lead. The Panthers (14-for-21 free throws) built their halftime lead to 28-18.
Other Carey scorers were Kade Peterson 10 points, D.J. Simpson 9, Blake Whitby 6, Dillon Simpson 6, Tyler Parke 5, Heith Adamson 4 and Tyler Wilde 2. Junior Scott Smyer (10 points) topped Mackay. The Miners won the consolation title Saturday 68-49 over Challis behind 17 points by sophomore Kole Krosch.
Carey entertains Camas County (0-5, 0-1 league) Thursday, Dec. 13 for its first Northside Conference clash and goes to #2-ranked The Community School (5-0) for a big league match-up Friday, Dec. 14. The Bliss Bears visit Carey Monday, Dec. 17 and the Panthers take a trip to Dietrich Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Panther JV takes another title
Making its free throws at crunch time enabled coach Danny Simpson's Carey JV boys' basketball team to beat Challis 62-51 for the championship of the Carey Holiday Tournament Saturday afternoon in Carey.
Carey (3-1) avenged its 34-27 loss to Challis in last year's holiday finale.
Leading Panther scorer Brett Adamson (16.3 ppg) scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the second half as the home team erased a 26-24 halftime deficit. Blair Peck made 4-of-6 free throws in the fourth as Carey (15-of-33 free throws game) made 9-of-14 in the final period.
Wacey Barg got Carey off to an early lead with 9 of his 11 points in the first quarter. Other Panther scorers were Jacy Baird 10 points, Tyler Chavez 8, Blair Peck 8, Shane Bingham 7 and Todd Peck 4. For Challis (9-of-22 free throws), Dalton Crane scored 17 points and Matt Helm 13.
Part of the reason for Carey's second-half success outscoring Challis 38-25 was the Panthers went to a man-to-man defense to shut down the Challis perimeter shooters (six 3-pointers), coach Simpson said.
Friday night, Carey had 10 players score points in its 60-31 first-round victory over Mackay. Adamson (20 points, four 3-pointers) scored 11 points in the first period. In Saturday's JV consolation game, Hagerman prevailed over Mackay.
Unbeaten Vikings cruise past Carey girls
Undefeated State 2A champions in volleyball earlier this fall, the Challis Vikings are keeping the good times rolling in girls' basketball this winter.
Challis (6-0) started slowly then outscored the Carey Panthers 32-12 in the middle quarters and breezed to a 50-31 win in the girls' varsity championship game of the Carey Holiday Tournament Saturday.
The Vikings of All-Tournament coach Tom McGowan shot 45% from the floor compared to Carey's 22% and made 22 points in the paint offensively with nine blocks on defense. It was Challis' second Carey Holiday Tournament crown in three years.
All-Tournament 6-0 junior Kristen Garlie had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks to go with her 14-point effort in Challis' 57-34 first-round win Friday over another state volleyball champion, 1A Hagerman (7-1). Hagerman crushed Mackay 54-25 for the consolation title.
Both Challis (20-0) and Hagerman (28-0) won their state volleyball titles seven weeks ago in undefeated fashion.
Coach Lane Durtschi's Carey girls (3-3, 1-1 league), winners by a 33-27 score over Mackay Friday, settled for the school's sixth second-place finish in the tourney's 12 years.
Panther contributors were Amy Ellsworth (8 points, 13 rebounds), Jessica Parke (8 points, 2 boards), Kelsey Green (6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals), Jenn Cenarrusa (3 points, 2 steals), Chelsey Hunt (3 points, 2 rebounds), Emilee Butcher (2 points), Kayla Bailey (1 point, 2 rebounds, 2 steals) and Shelby Hansen (3 boards).
Carey had a better result Friday in its 33-27 win over Mackay (2-4), a recent 8-point home winner over Richfield. The Panthers still didn't shoot very well, 23% from the field, but they ripped down 32 boards, had 11 steals and 16 points in the paint.
Sophomore Ellsworth (6 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) had another big night in the paint for Carey and Green was very active (a team-high 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals). Parke was another Panther all-around star (6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals).
Coach Durtschi said, "The girls played pretty well. We need to hit more shots but we are improving. Mackay is a pretty good team that has beaten Richfield and we kept control for most of the game.
"Amy Ellsworth rebounded really well and she keeps working hard all game. Kelsey Green brings a lot off the bench and she is rebounding well."
Other contributors against Mackay were Hansen (4 points, 2 boards), Cenarrusa (4 points), Bailey (2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Ashley Harshbarger (2 points).
Carey's junior varsity beat Mackay and lost to Challis in the JV title game Saturday. The Richfield junior varsity won the JV consolation title.
The Panthers hosted Richfield (6-2, 4-0 league) Tuesday and there wasn't much mystery about the probable outcome, since Richfield has beaten Camas County, Carey, The Community School and Dietrich by 50, 36, 33 and 24.
Better match-ups will be Thursday, Dec. 13 at home against Camas County (5-6, 0-4 league) and Friday, Dec. 14 against The Community School (1-5, 0-3) in Sun Valley.
Morgan Knight, Hagerman junior
D.J. Simpson, Carey senior
Jordan Crane, Challis senior
Kole Krosch, Mackay sophomore
Tyler Parke, Carey senior
Coach: Dick Simpson, Carey
Jenna Hamilton, Challis freshman
Kristen Garlie, Challis junior
Chauncee Axelson, Hagerman senior
Ashley McGowan, Challis junior
Kourtney Krosch, Mackay junior
Coach: Tom McGowan, Challis
Boys' junior varsity
Matt Helm, Challis freshman
Dillon Savage, Challis freshman
Wacey Barg, Carey sophomore
Brett Adamson, Carey sophomore
Zarak Tupper, Hagerman freshman
Coach: Danny Simpson, Carey
Girls' junior varsity
Taylor Twitchell, Richfield sophomore
Lacen Moss, Challis sophomore
Amber Kemmerer, Challis freshman
Alaysha Whitworth, Mackay freshman
Ashley Harshbarger, Carey junior
Coach: Jim Chamberlain, Challis