Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Carey, Genesee are back to basics at state

Repeat match-up in today?s opening round

Express Staff Writer

Carey School 6-0 junior Tyler Parke goes hard against Murtaugh?s tough 6-2 senior post Bryant Bishoff during Thursday?s state seeding game won by Carey 59-56. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Carey School boys' basketball team should have no trouble getting motivated for its State 1A tournament first-round game today, Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. against the top-ranked Genesee Bulldogs, at Vallivue High in Caldwell.

Favored last March when the two teams clashed in the same first-round State 1A contest at Vallivue, Carey (20-4) will be the underdog this time around against a highly regarded Genesee squad (22-1) that has lost only to Troy by four points in late January.

But when you get to the 16-team State 1A tournament, much of the game is mental—and getting off to a good start.

Genesee did that against Carey in the first round last year, shooting 54% from the field and out-rebounding the stunned Panthers 31-17. Genesee breezed to a 63-38 upset victory that snapped Carey's 14-game winning streak and ended the Panther state dream.

A team's first game at state is pivotal and Genesee might have shot its wad against Carey. The Bulldogs dropped their next game 54-50 to Sho-Ban of Fort Hall and then won twice more, taking fourth place 57-34 over Notus. Carey won two loser-bracket games and lost the consolation final 67-58 to hot-shooting Hagerman.

Carey coach Dick Simpson said, "Genesee shot the ball a lot better than us when we played them last year. They'll be a good team. But the pressure should be in their court like it was for us last year.

"We're not playing as well as we should right now, but if we can shoot well and not make turnovers we can be in the ball game. A lot of it is mental with us. Our defense is still pretty decent, but it seems like we're standing around on offense. We need to move more."

Carey's season hasn't been shabby at all. The Panthers have averaged 60.3 ppg and held opponents to 47.4 and created countless turnovers off their full-court press. They've made 312 steals and forced foes to make 20 turnovers a game.

But Richfield exploited some of Carey's half-court offense weaknesses when the two teams clashed for the Northside championship Feb. 12 in Shoshone.

Richfield put a ton of defensive pressure on the perimeter with its zone defense and prevailed 41-38. In that game Carey elected not to apply much defensive pressure on Richfield, for a reason.

Simpson said, "Richfield gets down the floor so fast. They're a lot like us—if we can run the floor and make a few 3-pointers we can be tough.

"I went to Hagerman when they played Richfield. Hagerman full-courted them and (Shayne) Buckner had 33 points and Richfield won. It's hard to defense the 3-ball on the full-court press. That's why we didn't use it when we played Richfield in our tournament."

That game put question marks in the minds of Carey players. They had many opportunities, but didn't capitalize on them. They couldn't finish.

At Caldwell, Carey will be making its 11th state tournament appearance in 15 years.

But the players will just have to put the past out of their minds and focus on the task at hand. Simpson said, "We'll need to step on the court and make those first two or three shots and go from there."

Carey, squandering a seven-point third-quarter lead and making eight turnovers in the fourth period, nearly lost to the Murtaugh Red Devils last Thursday in a state-seeding game at Shoshone that resulted in Carey gaining its first-round state tournament contest against Genesee.

The Panthers pulled out a close one, 59-56, when senior Allen Peck (19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists) rimmed home his third 3-pointer of the game with 1:18 left giving Carey a 57-56 lead. Peck and senior Cody Baird (7 points, 5 boards, 5 steals, 7 assists) then made two free throws in the final minute.

It was close all the way because Murtaugh (15-9) had two senior-class weapons in penetrating guard Jose Saucedo (15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 6 assists) and 6-2 post Bryant Bishoff (6 points, 14 rebounds).

Still, Murtaugh made 13 turnovers in the first half and Carey's halftime lead was only 32-30. There were four ties and 15 lead changes in the back-and-forth first half.

Coach Simpson said, "Like it was against Richfield, we would steal the ball but we couldn't capitalize and finish."

In the third quarter Carey's offense did a better job, getting points from six players in building leads ranging from three to seven points. The Panther zone defense shut down Bishoff low and closed some holes to keep Saucedo from penetrating. But turnovers killed Carey in the fourth quarter and Murtaugh rallied.

Saucedo's drive and bank gave the Red Devils a 54-52 lead and junior Jesus Cabral (14 points, 6 boards, 3 steals) drilled a field goal, from Saucedo, for a 56-52 advantage with 2:40 left. That's when Brad Hunt (19 points, 4 boards, 4 steals) hit a huge shot, from Peck, and Carey's man-to-man defense clamped down tight.

Other Carey contributors were Tyler Parke (4 points, 2 boards), D.J. Simpson (6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists), James Carlson (2 points, 4 boards, 2 assists) and Kade Peterson (2 points). Leading Murtaugh was junior Taylor Wilson (19 points, 8 rebounds).

In Thursday's Northside/Southside title game, Richfield beat Hagerman 53-37.

Other state match-ups

Eleven of the 16 teams from last year's State 1A tournament are returning this year—including the top eight teams in the final 2006 standings.

In the Vallivue High School bracket are the following teams: Carey (20-4) vs. Genesee (22-1) at 1:15 p.m., Sho-Ban (14-5) vs. Clark Fork (15-7) at 3 p.m., Cascade (21-4) vs. defending state champion Lapwai (14-11) at 6:15 p.m., and Hagerman (19-5) vs. Tri-Valley at 8 p.m.

Second-ranked Cascade beat #3-ranked Notus 53-51 in last week's Third District tournament at Emmett High School, then Cascade won its tournament title 70-49 over Council Saturday. And Notus barely beat Tri-Valley 43-42 to take the Boise-area third seed.

In the Caldwell High School bracket are these teams: Richfield (20-5) vs. Greenleaf Friends (17-5) at 1:15 p.m., Mackay (15-5) vs. Notus (19-3) at 3 p.m., Coeur d'Alene Charter (19-3) vs. Murtaugh (13-9) at 6:15 p.m., and 2006 runner-up Troy (18-5) vs. Council (17-6) at 8 p.m.

State 1A championship game is Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at The Idaho Center in Nampa. The third-place, fourth-place and consolation games are Saturday at 12:30 p.m., 10:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. respectively.

Last year's State 1A champion was Lapwai 58-49 over Troy. Cascade placed third over Sho-Ban, and Hagerman was the 2006 consolation champion 67-58 over Carey. The Panthers ended last season with the best record in school annals at 24-3.

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