Carey High School senior D.J. Simpson scored a career high 29 points Tuesday to lead the Panthers to a 47-34 basketball road win over the Gooding Senators.
It was a good way to start the Panther season. One down, 19 to go.
But it took more than offense for the 1A Panthers to defeat the 3A senators. Defense was even a larger factor, said Carey coach Dick Simpson.
"They played us really hard, but the boys played really good defense in the second half," he said. "We held them to only 10 points and they were leading by one at half."
Carey was down 24-23 at the halftime buzzer, but outscored the senators 24-10 in the bottom two frames.
A key factor was the takeaway deficit. Carey recorded 14 steals compared to only two for the Senators.
"It was a good win," Simpson said.
Senior D.J. Simpson, the son of coach Simpson, hit better than 50 percent from the field, finding the bucket on 12 of 22 tries—one was a three-pointer—and hitting four of seven from the free throw line. He also led the Panthers in rebounds, pulling down eight, and recorded six of the team's 14 steals.
"He had a pretty good game last night," coach Simpson said.
Other Panther points were recorded by Tyler Parke and Trevor Peck with five apiece. Also contributing were Tyler Wilde with four and Blake Whitby and Kade Peterson with two each.
Gooding was led by Tyler Allred with 11.
Coach Simpson said his basketball squad was a little rusty because of the extended football season (the Panthers were state 1A Division 2 runner-ups) but he's looking forward to a good season.
"I think we'll be all right," Simpson said. "It's early, we haven't had a lot of practice, but I think we'll be in the hunt."
Carey's freshman basketball squad also won its season opener with a 40-27 victory over Gooding. Antonio Gamino led the Panther's with 17 points.
Gooding took the junior varsity game 47-43. Brett Adamson led Carey with 22 points.
The Panthers play next tonight in Oakley. JV action starts at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7.
"It won't be easy in Oakley," coach Simpson said.