Running on fumes after playing four games in four nights, the Carey School girls' basketball team saved some energy for the second half and beat the defending State 1A Division 2 champ Richfield Tigers 42-40 Thursday, at Carey.
Sophomore Micaela Adamson scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter of a tight game and Carey (17-6, 12-2 home) held off the Tigers (20-4) by a bucket in the second-place game of the six-team Northside Conference tournament.
With the victory, its third straight, Carey earned a berth in the eight-team 2010 State 1A Division 2 tournament starting Thursday, Feb. 18 at Nampa High School. Carey plays Boise-area champion Meadows Valley (14-4) Thursday at 8 p.m.
To earn the school's sixth state tournament berth and avoid a state play-in game, Carey had to win the season rubber match with Richfield Thursday. And the Panthers did it despite 21 turnovers and with a powerful inside game that out-rebounded the perimeter-oriented Tigers 30-18.
Carey coach Lane Durtschi said, "I think the difference in the game was our post play with Micaela and Amy (Ellsworth). Micaela just went for it and had no fear. She took the shots that needed to be taken. I'm proud of her."
Adamson (8.1 ppg) scored the last four Carey points including a 15-foot pull-up jumper with 73 seconds left and a close-range basket off an Amy Ellsworth pass for the game winner with 21 seconds left.
Two more factors in Carey's victory were the defense of senior Jessica Parke and freshman Angela Ellsworth on Richfield's dangerous outside shooters Teenie Kent and Sasha Kent.
Jessica Parke played tough, in-your-face man-to-man all game against Teenie Kent and limited the sharpshooter to just 12 points. A fourth-quarter defensive switch put Angela Ellsworth on Sasha Kent (15 points), who had five 3-pointers including four after the half.
Fourth-year coach Durtschi agreed Richfield's vaunted 3-point shooting attack went cold in the second half, in part due to Carey's defense. The challenge of playing four games in four nights accounted for some of Carey's turnovers, he said, but Carey's girls "want to fight through things like that."
He said, "Richfield is never that cold with its shooting for very long. I thought Jessica played Teenie well all night. She always gets her points, but Jessica made it hard for her."
Amy Ellsworth (8.3 ppg) enjoyed one of her best games, with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
Jessica Parke was the third Panther in doubles with 13 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. Also playing big roles were Nicky Gomez (2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), Candace Hennefer (4 rebounds) and Jaide Parke (3 boards, 2 steals). Adamson added 3 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists.
Richfield earned its state berth with a 58-39 state play-in triumph over Garden Valley Saturday at Glenns Ferry.
In other state match-ups, Richfield plays Clark Fork (15-5) at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Northside champion Dietrich (18-4) goes against Rockland (9-12) at 3 p.m. and North Gem (17-4) meets Summit Academy (16-5) at 6:15 p.m. If Carey wins Thursday night, the Panthers play the North Gem-Summit winner Friday at 3 p.m.