Trailing by as many as nine points on "Senior Night," the Carey High School boys' varsity basketball team turned to its seniors Tuesday—and the seniors came through, big time.
Seniors D.J. Simpson, Tyler Parke and Kade Peterson saved scoring bursts for the second half as 1A Carey (17-3, 10-2 league) wrapped up a 10-1 home season with a come-from-behind 69-62 victory over 2A Valley (11-9) from Hazelton.
Leading scorer Simpson (15.2 ppg) scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, Parke (9.6 ppg) tallied 12 of his season-best 18 points after intermission and Peterson (8.3 ppg) had 10 of his 14 points after the half.
Sophomore Trevor Peck added 10 points as #4-ranked 1A Carey put four players in double figures for the first time all season. The 69 Carey points, second best of the season, came in the middle of a string of five Panther games in eight nights.
The weariness after Monday's 52-36 make-up victory over 3A Gooding might have accounted for Carey's sluggish start against a Valley team that had beaten Carey 56-52 in overtime in Hazelton Dec. 19.
But Carey, relying on man-to-man defense, finished strong against a quick Valley squad.
Carey coach Dick Simpson said, "The seniors stepped up when we needed them. It was a good comeback. And it's good to go into the tournament with a win. We played well at home all year. Our varsity and JV won 18 of 20 games at home."
Trailing 40-31 midway through the third, Carey went ahead 42-40 with an 11-0 run ignited by a 3-pointer by D.J. Simpson. Parke scored twice, once on a putback and the second on a nice move to the basket after a Simpson pass. Peterson finished the run with a transition basket, from Parke.
Carey, shooting 16-for-24 from the field (67%) in the second half, could never really stop Valley's penetrating senior guard Antonio Juarez (26 points, 6-for-6 free throws).
Panther contributors were Simpson (10 rebounds, 4 steals, 7 assists, two 3s), Parke (9 boards, 3 assists), Peterson (3 rebounds), Peck (two 3-pointers, 2 boards, 2 steals), Blake Whitby (4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals), Heith Adamson and Tyler Wilde (2 points).
Carey opened the seven-team Northside 1A Sub-District tournament Thursday at Shoshone High School gym against #7-seeded Camas County (2-18, 1-11 league).
A win in that game would have likely matched Carey against #3 Community School Cutthroats (12-5, 7-5) today, Friday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The Cutthroats played #6-seeded Bliss (1-15, 1-11) Thursday.
Fourth-seeded Shoshone (10-10, 6-6) played #5 Dietrich (8-12, 5-7) Thursday, the winner meeting unbeaten Richfield (20-0, 12-0) today at 5 p.m. Championship game is Monday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and the second-place game Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Richfield won last year's Northside tournament after placing second to Carey in the regular season. The two teams have been in the league title game for four straight years, Carey winning in 2006 and 2004, and Richfield in 2007 and 2005.
Both teams competed at the 2007 State 1A tournament, Richfield (20-7) going two-and-out and Carey (22-6) winning two of four state games.
Check the Feb. 20 Local Life section for a "Senior Night" photo of the Carey players and parents from Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, fifth-year Carey junior varsity coach Danny Simpson is taking his top-seeded Panthers into the four-team Northside single elimination tournament at Shoshone.
Carey's JV (19-3, 12-0 league) finished its season Tuesday with a 52-39 win over Valley. The Panthers are on a mission after last February, when Dietrich ended Carey's three-year reign as Northside tournament champs with a 54-45 victory on the Shoshone floor.
Carey's first-round tournament game was Thursday against #4-seeded Dietrich. The winner will play the winner of #2-Richfield vs. #3 Shoshone Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4:30 p.m.