The Carey girls’ basketball team was feeling good on Saturday, displaying a type of play against Dietrich that most would expect from a top tournament seed.
All-time leading scorer and senior leader Kylie Wood continued her brilliant season, lifting the Panthers with 35 points and leading No. 1 Carey to a 55-41 victory over the No. 4 Dietrich Blue Devils during the Idaho High School Activities Association 1AD2 (Sawtooth) Conference Tournament semifinals in Shoshone.
“She looked good,” said Carey head coach Merilee Sears. “She’s just Kylie—she’s always ready to play.”
Wood’s constant scoring has drawn a lot of attention from opposing teams this season. In fact, she has become a center-point in stopping Carey. However, the Panthers proved that Wood is not the only talented player on the squad.
When the game was still relatively close, the Blue Devils tried multiple defensive sets to stop Wood.
None of them worked.
Dietrich tried a box-and-one, which is a hybrid defense mixing zone and man-to-man, but Wood still managed to put up points.
When Dietrich glued two players on Wood, Sears had Wood stay at mid-court while Carey played four-on-three basketball, and Carey still put up points.
“It says a lot about her game,” Sears added. “At that point in the game, it was still close, but it was pretty cool.”
Sophomore Jane Parke added 12 points for Carey, and when the Blue Devils’ focus stayed on Wood, seniors Lizbeth Ruiz and Zowie Quillin played tough defense and did the little things to pull out the victory.
“I try to preach to them that there are things that don’t show up on stats,” Sears said. “I’ve been really impressed with these girls.”
Carey (8-2 overall) finished the regular season undefeated (4-0) in the Sawtooth Conference.
“I thought they played hard, I thought they were ready and prepared,” Sears said. “Our defense was the best I’ve seen all year.”
Dietrich (10-12) saw scoring from sophomore Hailey Astle with 16 points while sophomore Abby Hendricks added 12.
Along with Camas County, which was the No. 2-seed, Carey received a first-round bye in the double-elimination tournament, which began on Friday, Feb. 5.
Dietrich beat Castleford, 44-37, to advance against Carey in the first round.
With the victory, the Panthers will now turn their attention to the No. 3 Richfield Tigers (11-10) in the championship game.
The Tigers upset the No. 2 Camas County Mushers (12-6) in the second round, 29-26, on Saturday.
Junior Victoria Truman led the Tigers with 14 points and junior Alyssa Whittle added eight in a very low scoring affair.
The upset put the Mushers in a loser-out game against the Castleford Wolves (4-13). That game was played on Monday, Feb. 8. Camas beat Castleford 51-24.
Carey, Richfield play for conference championship
The Richfield Tigers did the Carey Panthers a favor by taking out the Camas County Mushers on Saturday.
Carey narrowly beat Camas County, 61-55, on Feb. 2 behind Wood’s 40-point performance.
The celebratory upset for the Tigers, however, will be short-lived as Wood and Co. will set their sights on a Richfield team that Carey had already beaten with ease, 50-32, on Jan. 22 in Richfield.
In that game, Wood scored 27 points and Carey received 12 more from Parke.
“Everyone is going to show up and play,” Sears said about the matchup against Richfield. “You’re going to get the best effort from everybody. Whenever you get the top seed, everyone wants you. I tell my girls that we control our own destiny. We’re in control of ourselves and that’s it.”
Carey and Richfield tip-off at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Shoshone High School.
In other conference tournament scheduling, Hansen and Dietrich played in the first-round of the loser’s bracket on Monday, Feb. 8. Dietrich won 43-37.
Camas County will now face Dietrich, then the winner of that matchup will play the loser of Carey vs. Richfield.
Should Carey lose to Richfield, the Panthers would be forced to play in the second-place game against the winner of the Camas County/Dietrich matchup.
The second-place game will be played on Thursday, Feb. 11, with tip-off at 7 p.m.
Carey Panther Junior Varsity girls lose in championship game
The Carey Panther Junior Varsity team played hard to get to the Sawtooth Conference Junior Varsity Tournament.
The Panthers, however, lost to the Dietrich Blue Devils 28-22.
“My girls worked so hard, and overcame a lot this year and despite not even knowing if we would be playing in the tournaments, we found ourselves in the championship game,” JV head coach Teresa Smith said. “I'm super proud of them. Once we were able to start playing games and could see what we needed to work on, they improved a lot.”
Shayli Smith (eight points), Maddie Bennion (seven points), Brittney Farnworth (four points) and Rylie Quillin (three points) all contributed greatly for the Panthers.