All streaks must end sometime, but the Carey School boys' varsity basketball team is still enjoying its Northside Conference winning streak—now at 30 games over two-and-a-half seasons.
Carey opened its 2004-05 Northside league campaign last week and nailed down huge wins over two teams considered to be among the league elite, the Camas County Mushers and Community School Cutthroats.
Coach Dick Simpson's Panthers (5-3, 2-0 league) got a season-best 22-point performance from junior guard Tyler Cook in Thursday's 56-51 triumph over Camas County in Fairfield. Nine of Cook's points came in the fourth quarter to hold Camas at bay.
"It was a big win for us," said Simpson, aware that he'll see Camas County's senior-laden club at least one more time, at home, and then down the line in the Northside tournament.
Friday, the shorter Panthers withstood The Community School's rebounding advantage and rallied for a 59-52 home victory. Saturday, Carey outscored the Clark County Bobcats 31-9 in the middle quarters and breezed to its fifth straight win 47-36.
Simpson's current Carey team has already established certain things.
One, they're young, with leading scorer Tadd Green (17.8 ppg) and Tyler Cook (15.4 ppg) each averaging about five points over last year—but both, as juniors, learning how to shoulder the responsibility and load. They are Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.
Carey is playing closer games, their margin of victory 8.2 ppg instead of 13.6 ppg at this time last season. They're building the early lead, with sizable half-time leads in six of eight games. Being young, however, they still learning how to close games out.
"We still got to learn how to take care of the ball in the middle of the games," said Simpson. "Really, every game we play, we learn."
Carey got a little lucky against The Community School Friday, but the Panthers still had to have the fourth-quarter where-with-all to put it away.
Coach Mike Wade's Cutthroats (2-3, 1-1 league) aren't a team to be taken lightly, not with seniors Andrew Durtschi and Hunter Smith in the post and forward positions, and senior A.J. Beesley roaming opportunistically for overlooked boards and open shots.
In the first quarter, Durtschi and Beesley didn't play at all, and Carey whipped out to a 17-5 lead. "It was a coach's decision," said Wade, not entirely pleased that he had to keep the boys out of the game for eight minutes. "We're not deep, and we need Andrew and A.J. in the game."
When Durtschi and Beesley finally removed their shirts and entered the game, they made an immediate impact. In the second and third periods the Cutthroats dominated the boards 21-15 and outscored Carey 37-23.
Durtschi scored 7 points with 5 rebounds and Smith added 5 points in the third quarter when The Community School went on a 14-2 run. The visitors assumed a 42-40 lead entering the fourth quarter. Their biggest deficit had been 14 points in the second.
The lead would have been larger if Beesley, who averaged 13.5 ppg in the first four Cutthroat games and led the blue-and-white team with his offense, could have hit anything from outside. He was ice cold and finally finished with 2 points, 4 boards and 4 assists.
Meanwhile, coach Simpson had to sit Green in the third quarter with three personal fouls. That decision contributed to the strong Cutthroat comeback but it certainly wasn't the only factor. "The Community School is a good ball club," he said.
Simpson added, "We couldn't keep The Community School off the boards when Tadd was sitting with three in the third. But then Tadd came back and made his presence known," said Simpson.
Carey picked up its intensity in the fourth. Thanks to the scoring of Green and Cook the Panthers embarked on a 13-2 run for a 53-44 lead. Green scored 6 points with 4 boards in the period, and Cook had 7 including a three-pointer and 4-for-4 at the line. Allen Peck added a three-pointer.
Coach Wade saluted the Carey shooters. "Carey made its threes the hard way—they didn't shoot any uncontested threes. Our defensive was excellent and we kept up our intensity. And we had a good rebounding game when all our horses were in the game."
One of the main Cutthroat factors was senior guard Connor Wade.
Connor drilled 3 three-pointers including a downtown job in the final minute that cut Carey's lead to 56-52. Wade finished with a season-best and game-high 19 points plus 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists. His brother Kevin Wade also played well, with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
Durtschi ended with a season-best 17 points and 12 boards. Hunter Smith added 7 points, 5 boards and 3 steals, and Alden Remington had 4 assists for the Cutthroats.
For Carey, Cook's 18 points included 4 three-pointers. He also had 3 assists. Allen Peck finished with 12 points, Green 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals, Brad Hunt 6 points and 3 boards, and Cody Baird 5 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Devin Simpson had 3 points and 4 boards, James Carlson 3 points and 3 rebounds.
Thursday night at Fairfield, Carey (57.8 ppg offense, 55.1 ppg defense) led 32-24 at half-time, with Allen Peck scoring all 9 of his points including a pair of threes in the second stanza. And Green had 6 of his 10 in the first.
But the Mushers stormed back, as coach Simpson knew they would. Cook (4 three-pointers, 28 for the season) had 14 of Carey's 24 points after intermission and he also made good passes to open men. Brad Hunt had 8 points, Simpson 4 and Baird 3.
Carey also went 8-for-8 at the charity stripe in handing Camas County its first loss of the 2004-05 campaign.
For the Mushers (5-1, 3-1 league), Chase Lee (3 threes) led the way with 13 points while Mark Wilson, Kyle Menck and Tony Gonsales ended up with 10 points apiece.
Saturday, Green scored 13 points, Cook 11, Peck 8, Hunt 5, Baird 5, Simpson 3 and Luke Harmon 2 in the 11-point victory over Clark County. The Panthers shot 11-for-15 from the stripe, one of their better efforts.
Carey traveled to Dietrich (2-5, 1-2 league) Tuesday night, then takes off for the holiday. The Panthers pick up again Tuesday, Jan. 4 at Bliss (0-5, 0-2) and then tackle Richfield (8-1, 3-0 league) Friday, Jan. 7, at Richfield.
The Community School entertains Dietrich Jan. 4 and Bliss Jan. 7 in an effort to keep pace with the league leaders in this winter's close race.