Junior guard Nate Adamson, healthy again after a bout with sickness, put Carey on his back and carried the Panthers to a 66-56 victory over the Community School Cutthroats Wednesday night on the Carey hardwoods.
Adamson’s career-best 39 points, 28 coming in the second half, enabled the No. 2-seeded Panthers to rally from a seven-point halftime deficit and avoid an upset to the No. 7-seeded Cutthroats in the opening round of the Northside Conference 1A Division 2 basketball tourney.
The Carey star, who missed four games in the season’s homestretch, played about 30 minutes and finished with a rare triple-double including 13 rebounds and 11 assists. By quarter Adamson scored 2, 9, 13 and 15 points. He sank 13 field goals, shot 9-for-12 at the line, drilled four 3-pointers and made three blocked shots.
Panther coach Dick Simpson said, “Nate worked hard and wanted to win. But give Ketchum credit. They’ve really improved this season and came to play tonight.”
Carey (12-9) had beaten the Cutthroats (5-12) by 30 points in their only previous meeting, but coach Mike Payne’s shorthanded Sun Valley squad showed poise and determination in building first-half leads of nine points.
Senior guard Taylor Adler (15.4 ppg) led the Cutthroats with 20 points including four 3-pointers, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Payne had only six players for the game and all contributed.
After the Cutthroats stretched their lead to 34-25 early in the third quarter, Adamson took matters in his own hands and reeled off 11 points in four minutes with a variety of drives to the basket and back-to-back 3-pointers.
Carey’s first lead of the game, 38-37, came with 2:50 left in the third quarter. The Panthers never trailed again and wore down the Cutthroats. Adamson (18.4 ppg) came within five 3-pointers of Carey’s all-time single-game record of 54 points set by Tim Tingey way back in 1988.
Sophomore Joe Parke (14 points, 10 rebounds) helped Carey to a 42-24 advantage on the boards. Other Panther contributors were Matt Whitworth (6 points, 8 rebounds), Collin Whitby (2 points, 5 boards, 3 assists), Toby Whitworth (3 points), Derrick Baird (2 points) and Luis Garcia (5 steals, 2 assists).
The Cutthroats had three players in double figures including Daniel DuFur (11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists) and Garrett Rawlings (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks). Others were Doug DuFur (8 points, 4 boards), Reed Roudabush (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) and Keegan Whitelaw (4 rebounds).
The Panthers advanced to host No. 3 Richfield (11-10) in the semi-finals of the eight-team tournament Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. Richfield needed triple overtime to defeat No. 6 Murtaugh (3-16) by a 56-46 score Wednesday.
Payne’s Cutthroats travel to Murtaugh Tuesday for a loser-out game at 7 p.m. The Red Devils own 54-52 and 62-56 wins over Sun Valley this season.
Defending Northside Conference champ Dietrich, last year’s State 1A Division 2 consolation king with a 23-3 record, improved its season mark to 18-3 with a 76-43 rout of No. 8 Camas County of Fairfield.
Also Wednesday, No. 4 Castleford (8-11) survived another close contest with No. 5 Lighthouse Christian Academy (12-9) before winning 66-65. Castleford visits Dietrich Tuesday in the other semi-final. The Blue Devils are unbeaten in 20 straight league games.