Reeling from Thursday night’s loss to Kendrick in the second round of the Idaho High School Activities Association 1AD2 Girls Real Dairy Shootout, the Carey Panthers bounced back in Friday's third place game to beat a familiar foe in the Rockland Bulldogs, 48-40.
Scoring 32 points in the game, senior Kylie Wood tied an IHSAA 1AD2 tournament record with 86 points in three days. Wood went 7-for-18 from the field and 15-for-19 at the free throw line. She also had five rebounds for the Panthers, who went 2-1 in tournament play.
The game was never quite in question, despite the close final score. Rockland led, 2-1, but that was the last time the Bulldogs held a lead. It was all Carey from there on out.
The Panthers pressured the Bulldogs and played lighter on their feet; the pressure of playing for the championship was off, and head coach Merilee Sears said her girls played like it. Ending the season on a high note was important for Sears and the Panthers.
“It feels good,” Sears said. “Sometimes this is the best scenario because it feels better than losing in the championship game like we did last year. You’re ending your season with a win, so it feels pretty good.”
The Panthers (11-3) led at halftime, 26-21, then pulled away in the second half.
At the end of three quarters, Carey led 45-27, as Rockland (19-6) was in foul trouble by the end of the third quarter.
Unlike last night’s loss to Kendrick, Carey hit its free throws (18-for-25).
Carey also capitalized on Kendrick’s turnovers. The Panthers had 19 points off turnovers, which was a big difference maker.
Despite not taking home the overall state title, Wood ended her illustrious career with a win.
“We didn’t quite get the goal we wanted, but bringing home a trophy is still an accomplishment,” Wood said.
Wood and the rest of the seniors— Lizbeth Ruiz (two assists), Shaylee Farnworth (two rebounds) and Marcela Del Real (one rebound)—have now won three total trophies.
In 2019, the Panthers won the IHSAA title. In 2020, Carey took home second place. Now, in 2021, they’ll have the third place trophy.
For a full story on this game and the Carey Panthers entire 2020-21 season, pick up Wednesday's edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.