Senior guard Blair Peck and the rest of the Carey High School boys' basketball team didn't enjoy their poor shooting night that contributed to a 30-point loss to the Butte County Pirates at Arco back on Dec. 18.
The 1A Division 2 Panthers (9-2) came out with a different attitude Tuesday and whipped 2A Butte County (5-3) by a 68-62 score in overtime—top scorer Peck (14.9 ppg) matching his season-high with 24 points plus 5 rebounds, 7 steals, 2 assists.
For Peck, 15 of those points came in the second half. Two other key players were junior Baley Barg (4 boards, 4 steals), who scored all 9 of his points with four personal fouls in the second half, and junior Dillon Cenarrusa (9 points, 5 re-bounds, 3 steals, 2 assists).
Senior Caleb Cenarrusa (8 points, 6 boards, 2 steals, 6 as-sists, 2 blocked shots) had one of his best all-around games.
But it was nearly a com-pletely different ending. The Pirates led by 6-4 senior post Shawn Steenson (23 points, 8 rebounds) almost won it—ral-lying from an 11-point third-quarter deficit and outscoring Carey 22-13 in the final quarter.
Steenson (8 points 4th quar-ter) tied it 54-54 and then stole the ball with nine seconds left, but a potential game-winning shot by senior Zac Hansen (9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) went off target at the buzzer.
Then Carey outscored Butte County 14-8 with a tremendous team effort in overtime.
Eight different Carey play-ers scored points on a night when Butte County's taller squad out-rebounded their hosts 43-28. In the four-minute overtime period when Peck didn't score, there were five Panthers tallying field goals.
Carey coach Dick Simpson said the difference between the two Carey-Butte games this season was simple. "We shot the ball well tonight (45%). We went straight man-to-man on defense instead of the zone we played down there. We tried to double-down on their big guy and got a lot of steals. And we had great help-side defense."
He acknowledged that Butte County didn't have one of its best shooting nights—0-9 from 3-point range, 36% from the field and 12-for-32 from the free throw line. At Arco, the Pirates had six 3-pointers, were 49% from the field, 72% charities.
But Carey did a great job on defense. Simpson said, "Butte County is a good team and they got a little frustrated. And our kids didn't get down when they dodged the bullet in the fourth quarter. It's a big win for us. Castleford in our league is a good team too, but maybe not the same quality as Butte County. Beating the Pirates means we should be able to step up to the plate against anyone."
Carey's eight turnovers in the fourth period helped Butte County rally from a 52-45 defi-cit with 1:51 left. But in the overtime, with 6-1 Dillon Ce-narrusa playing great defense on Steenson, the quicker Pan-thers just took it to the Pirates.
Barg rebounded and hit a 13-footer and Shane Bingham (7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 assists) drove hard to the hoop for a 58-56 Panther lead.
Peck made two outstanding passes on penetration, the first to Barg and then to Dillon Ce-narrusa. Carey led 62-59. The key play with 26 seconds left came after a Peck steal—Jacy Baird (4 points) feeding Chance Chavez (5) for a 66-62 lead.
Carey, still unbeaten at home with seven wins, contin-ued its challenging week with road games at Oakley Thurs-day and at Dietrich today.