Can the young and sprightly Dietrich Blue Devils, with only one senior and five sophomores, make it all the way back to the State 1A Division 2 girls’ basketball tournament championship game in February?
Will Dietrich (17-1) bring home its first state title since 1999, which would be only the second state crown in the history of a LincolnCounty school with a rich roundball legacy?
Those are questions that won’t be answered until the eight-team state meet opens Thursday, Feb. 17 at NampaHigh School. That’s because coach Acey Shaw’s top-ranked Blue Devils look like a shoo-in to gain one of two automatic Northside Conference berths to the big state meet.
Dietrich, even playing without its best player, 5-9 junior Moriah Dill (concussion), won its 12th consecutive game Tuesday with a resounding 62-41 Northside Conference road win over Carey. The Blue Devils (57.9 ppg offense) exploded with a 21-3 first quarter streak.
The only game Dietrich has lost was 52-37 at unbeaten and second-ranked North Gem of Bancroft (20-0) back on Dec. 11. Shaw’s Devils have an attacking offense and the usual fierce Dietrich defensive pressure.
And Dietrich is hosting the eight-team Northside state-qualifying district tourney starting Saturday, Feb. 5.
Dietrich—third at state last year, second at state in 2009 and 2002, consolation winners in 2000 and 2001 and state champs in 1999—is seeded first and will play either the Community School of Sun Valley (4-9) or Camas County (5-11) Saturday at 3 p.m. in the tourney opener.
It’s likely Dietrich will breeze through two games and clash with two-time defending state champ Richfield (13-5) in the Northside title game Wednesday, Feb. 9. Dietrich swept the season series with Richfield 43-40 and 38-32.
Most likely, Dietrich and Richfield will make state, leaving third-place and the prospect of a playoff for a Nampa state ticket open to challengers Carey and CamasCounty.
Carey (8-9) played its regular-season finale at Camas County Thursday and will open tournament action at Dietrich Saturday against Lighthouse Christian of Twin Falls (4-12) at 4:30 p.m. Carey beat Lighthouse by 33 points Dec. 2.
Other Northside openers Saturday are Richfield against Murtaugh (0-14) at 6 p.m. and CamasCounty or Ketchum against Castleford at 7:30 p.m.
Leading Dietrich at Carey Tuesday were sophs Cheyenne Hubert (14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists) and Charley Bingham (22 points, four 3-pointers, 6 steals, 2 blocked shots), plus senior Shayla Porter (9 points, 8 rebounds) and junior point Ellie Dalton (8 assists).
Carey, on its heels for much of its nine-point first-half malaise, picked up the defensive intensity after intermission and kept pace with Dietrich (16 turnovers after half). The Devils out-pointed Carey only 34-32 after intermission. Jaide Parke (5 steals) scored 11 of her 12 points after half.
Other Carey players were Micaela Adamson (13 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists, 2 blocks), McKayla Mecham (6 points, 5 rebounds), Morgan Parke (6 points), Darby Northcott (2 points, 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks) and Lilly Rivera (2 points).
Also Tuesday, visiting Richfield raced past CommunitySchool 60-17 in Sun Valley. Leading coach Erika Connelly’s Cutthroats were Natalie Goddard (4 points, 8 rebounds), Chelsea Cloud (6 boards), Ella Marks (7 points), Julie Doan (4 points) and Chloe Chrysikopoulos (2 points).