Carey boys have
a tough act to follow
New basketball season debuts tonight
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
Expectations were high for last winter’s
Carey School boys’ varsity basketball team—and the Panthers pretty much
fulfilled all the hype, setting a handful of school records.
Carey (22-3) boasted an 18-game winning
streak, limited opponents to a school-record 46.4 ppg and set all-time Panther
marks for most wins (22) and best winning percentage (.880).
The Panthers won the Northside and Fourth
District championships then went 3-1 at the State 1A tournament in Caldwell for
It was a memorable season for coach Dick
Simpson’s Carey program. Fittingly, Simpson earned the accolade of Northside
Conference "Coach of the Year," for his efforts.
But it was also a winter in which Carey
said a final goodbye to nine seniors, including top offensive player Shawn
Hennefer (15.6 ppg, career 765 points) and the team’s leading defensive player,
Fortunately coach Simpson, seeking to
build upon Carey’s 217-99 record in 13 seasons since 1991, has two returning
starters to build around for the 2003-04 campaign. And they are good ones in 6-3
post Blake Surerus and 6-2 wing/post Ty Simmons.
Surerus (7.0 ppg, 49 blocked shots) is one
of the best rebounders in the state of Idaho. Last winter Surerus and senior
John Saili terrorized opponents on the boards, pulling down nearly identical
totals of rebounds, 160/158.
When one of the two got into foul trouble,
coach Simpson alternated Saili and Surerus so one was on the floor at all times.
This year, with just nine players on varsity and many untested in varsity
battles, the coach won’t have the same luxury of depth.
But Simmons, a deadly 3-pointer shooter,
is a valuable player as well. Few will forget his 26-point performance including
five 3-pointers that helped Carey hold off the Sho-Ban Chiefs 78-67 at state
last March 6.
Simmons (11.7 ppg, 13.8 ppg at state) was
Carey’s second-leading scorer and the All-Northside second-team selection also
pulled down 131 rebounds for his Panther season.
Although Carey probably won’t be averaging
59.7 ppg on offense for the coming season, or out-shooting opponents 240-185 at
the stripe, the Panthers will definitely score points with Surerus and Simmons
leading the way.
"We had so much speed last year," said
coach Simpson. "We’re not as fast this year, but we’ll try to run a little."
Three other seniors are 5-8 point guard
K.C. Rivera, 6-2 post MaKay Neilson and 5-11 forward Bryson Ellsworth. Rivera
ranked behind only Destry Simpson and Hennefer on the Carey steals and assists
list last winter.
The only junior on varsity is 5-8
guard/forward Max Adamson.
Coach Simpson expects big things from
three sophomores, but he also knows that it might take a while. They are 6-2
post/wing Tadd Green, 5-7 shooting guard/wing Tyler Cook and 5-8 point
guard/wing Devin Simpson.
"The big thing is these kids can’t get
into foul trouble. We don’t have the depth. But these seniors, when they were
sophomores, went 18-3 and won the conference. So they have the potential," said
coach Simpson, who added that many of the varsity players had a good summer
Carey ran the table in the Northside
Conference last winter, going 12-0 in the season then adding two wins in the
Northside tournament including a 45-41 decision over The Community School in the
It was Carey’s first Northside title since
1999. The Panthers went on to capture only their second Fourth District title in
school annals, 54-42 over Hagerman, and made their eighth state tournament trip
in 11 years.
This winter, coach Simpson expects a close
He said, "There is more parity in the
conference than we’ve had in some time. It’s one of those years when if you
don’t play up to your potential, you’re gonna get beat.
"Ketchum will be tough. (Jim) Fairchild is
so tough inside. Larry (Messick) always has something at Shoshone. Dietrich has
a pile of seniors." And Camas County won the Northside JV championship in 2003.
The combined Northside and Magic Valley
conferences were limited to a total four State 1A berths last winter, which
penalized an outstanding Community School team. This winter, the conferences
Carey’s nine-player junior varsity is
coached for the first year by 1999 Panther graduate Danny Simpson.
Team members are sophomores Brian Adamson,
Bryan Hill, Luke Harmon, Ben Neilson and Nathan Foster. The freshmen are Cody
Baird, Brad Hunt, Allen Peck and James Carlson.
Carey Holiday Tournament
After kicking off its 18-game
regular-season schedule tonight with home non-conference games against Oakley,
the Carey boys move into the four-school Carey Holiday Tournament.
The boys’ and girls’ tournament opens
Friday, Dec. 5 in both Carey gyms. The Panther varsity plays Challis Friday at 8
p.m. in the new gym while the Carey JV goes against Challis at 6:30 p.m. in the
Consolation and championship games begin
Saturday at 5 p.m. Last year Carey nipped Challis 59-57 in the first round and
then lost 49-47 to Mackay in the Carey Holiday Tournament championship game.