Bench depth, balanced scoring and pressure defense gave the fifth-ranked Carey High School boys' varsity basketball team a 69-52 Northside Conference victory over The Community School Cutthroats Tuesday night at The Fish Tank in Sun Valley.
Senior Allen Peck (19 points, 3 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists) led the defending Northside Conference champions from Carey, who made 19 steals off their relentless pressure defense and put eight players into the scoring.
In capturing their fifth consecutive win, coach Dick Simpson's Panthers (14-2, 8-1 league) were a little tight in the early going and spotted the Cutthroats a 12-11 lead at the break. But Peck drilled three of his four 3-pointers during a 14-2 Panther tear that sent Carey on its way.
Carey outscored The Community School 45-26 in the middle periods.
On the boards the taller Cutthroats had a 19-11 rebound advantage in the first half. But led by the fresh legs of junior Tyler Parke (13 points, 8 boards), Carey turned that around after intermission and out-rebounded the increasingly weary home team 21-20. Overall, the Cutthroats won the boards 39-31, but lost the battle.
Community School coach Mike Wade acknowledged that his short-benched squad was fortunate to be trailing only 38-30 at halftime because the Cutthroats made 23 turnovers in the first half alone and 33 overall.
"It was a miracle we were that close," he said. "We had a good first half and a very good first quarter."
Top Cutthroat scorer Mac Whittington (14.1 ppg) scored 11 of his season-high 22 points in the second quarter to keep his team close. Whittington (16 rebounds) was a huge factor on the offensive glass but he couldn't get too much of a rest because of Wade's shortage of players.
Other Cutthroat contributors included Spencer Harris (10 points, 7 boards, 8 assists), Max Harris (9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists), Christian Cairncross (9 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, three 3-pointers) and Casper Brun (2 points, 2 rebounds).
Other Carey scorers besides Peck and Parke included Cody Baird (10 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 assists), D.J. Simpson (8 points, 9 boards, 5 assists), James Carlson (8 points, 3 assists), Blake Whitby (5 points, 2 steals), Tyler Wilde (4 points), Brad Hunt (2 points, 3 boards, 2 steals) and Kade Peterson (2 rebounds, 2 steals).
Sixteen games into the campaign, Simpson said he liked the progress of his Panthers and appreciated having three more road games to burnish Carey's resolve for the Northside 1A Sub-District tournament starting Feb. 8 in Shoshone.
Carey visits Dietrich (7-8, 5-5 league) tonight and travels to Richfield Tuesday, Jan. 30, for a rematch with the Tigers (12-3, 8-1) that will determine the Northside regular-season title. Richfield won the first meeting in Carey 37-28.
The Community School (7-8, 4-6) is idle until a key tournament-seeding game at Bliss (7-7, 4-5) Tuesday night.