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For the week of March 7 through 13, 2001

Carey earns silver, Miners a third gold

Unheralded Panthers (20-9) make state championship game

Playing its best basketball on Idaho’s grandest prep stage, the Carey School boys’ varsity basketball team (20-9) made it all the way to Saturday’s State A-4 championship game at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

Coach Lee Cook’s Panthers, capping an amazing reversal from last winter’s five-win rebuilding campaign, won three games at the state tournament for the first time in school history—and became the first-ever Carey basketball team to play for all the marbles.

Unfortunately, the rags-to-riches story fell short of the ultimate goal because the Mackay Miners (20-4, 64-8 over three years) just played better, more confident basketball in Saturday’s title game. Shooting 53% from the field, Mackay breezed 73-46 led by senior point guard Kris Krosch.

Starting five seniors, coach Sheldon Rosenkrance’s experienced Mackay squad accomplished a rare three-peat—winning its third straight State A-4 title, all over Fourth District teams, in 1999 over Murtaugh, in 2000 over Richfield and 2001 over Carey.

Mackay got better as the four-day, 16-team tournament rolled on, winning its games by 10, 16, 20 and 27 points. Shocking favored Richfield by 16 points Thursday, the Miners ended up outshooting foes 46% to 30% and out-rebounding opponents by a wide margin.

Krosch (17.8 ppg at state), bound for Idaho State University for football, was virtually unstoppable with the basketball. Against Carey scored 24 points, distributed 8 assists and led the Miners with 8 boards. He was everywhere.

But Carey had plenty of bragging points as well. Coach Cook said the Panthers exceeded all expectations, beating Genesee 55-49, squeaking past Clark Fork 50-47 and playing their best game in the 66-51 semi-final victory over the Oakley Hornets.

"It was a real feather in our cap to make the championship game," said Cook, whose Panthers went 54-84 (64%) at the free throw line compared to 22-44 for its four opponents.

Leading Carey throughout the tournament were seniors Tony Howard (15.3 ppg at state on 53% field goal shooting with 24 rebounds, 15 assists and 11 steals) and Alex Peterson (15.0 ppg, 31 boards, 8 steals). Jonathan Rivera had 10 assists and 11 steals, and John Saili totaled 27 boards—9 offensive.

The biggest win was Friday’s 14-point victory over Oakley which avenged two regular-season Carey losses to the Hornets. "We played an excellent game," said Cook.


Carey 66, Oakley 51

Carey’s pressure defense led to 25 Hornet turnovers—and the Panthers (53% field goal shooting, 14-for-18 at the line) scored 23 points off turnovers. For the game Carey came up with 17 steals led by Peterson 5, Saili 4 and Rivera 4.

Still, it was a fairly close contest until Carey matched its season-high for a single quarter with 26 points in the fourth. Howard (14.4 ppg season) finished with 20 points on 64% shooting, plus 7 assists.

Peterson added 15 points and 7 boards, Rivera 11 points, Lee Jay Cook 5, Trevor Hunt 4 and Shawn Hennefer 2. Carey needed some muscle and Saili (5.7 ppg) supplied it, with 6 rebounds and 9 big points.


Carey 55, Genesee 49

With its speed and fast break clicking in the first half of Wednesday’s opener, Carey built a nine-point second quarter lead. Peterson (20 points, 7 rebounds) tallied 8 points in the first quarter.

Second District champ Genesee (47% from the field) regained the lead in the third quarter, but Saili (9 rebounds, 5 offensive) kept Carey ahead with two straight putback baskets—and the Panther defensive intensity picked up.

The fourth quarter was a nailbiter and the score was tied 46-46 with two minutes left. But Carey had the will to prevail. Coach Cook said, "We’ve hung in there all year and have had real adversity to overcome."

A huge steal by Rivera (6 points, 3 assists, 3 steals) led to two free throws by Howard (13 points, 7 boards), who was 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth. Indeed, Carey (14-for-21) made 12 of 16 free throws in the final eight minutes for the win.


Carey 50, Clark Fork 47

It was an extremely close game, featuring eight ties and 11 lead changes, and no team had a lead of more than three points until Carey’s full-court defensive pressure ignited a 10-0 run at the end of the third.

"We rattled them and got a few turnovers off the press before the end of the third," said Cook, whose offense (33% field goals, 1-for-13 3-pointers) struggled during the game.

Carey’s nine-point lead dissolved when the Panthers went to their "three-game" offensive slowdown and inexplicably made five unforced turnovers. Clark Fork’s 9-0 run tied it 41-41 with three minutes left.

That’s when Howard (a game-high 19 points, 9 boards, 3 steals) made a big-time basket by driving the lane. Peterson (16 points, 10 rebounds including 6 offensive) came up with a big-time steal and converted two charities on a flagrant foul.

Free throws saved the day again.

Carey (15-of-29 for the game) hit 9-of-15 from the line in the fourth. Howard made four of his last five throws. Saili ended up with 8 of Carey’s 33 boards, and Shawn Hennefer (4-for-6 at the line) played a big role with 6 points and 3 steals.

"We were able to score baskets when we needed them and make enough free throws to stay ahead," Cook said. "We’ve played a lot of close games under pressure this season and haven’t buckled under. I was real proud."



Carey’s John Cenarrusa accepted the school’s Sportsmanship Award, a t-shirt, from Idaho High School Activities Association executive director Bill Young….Hagerman’s coach Kevin Cato accepted the A-4 Team Sportsmanship Award for the Pirates….It was Carey’s fifth 20-win season in nine years. Carey has a 184-86 record (68%) in 11 winters since 1991.

A turnaround in free throws contributed to Carey’s success. Last year Carey was outscored at the line 187-142 and outshot 339-244. This year the Panthers outscored foes 294-246 and outshot them 476-450. Having Howard this year, after the youngster played in Twin Falls last winter, played a big role.

Alex Peterson (435 points season. 837 points in two years of varsity) moved into ninth-place on the all-time Carey scoring list—but he’s the only one in the top ten to do it in two years instead of three. His 435 points was the most since Rich Payne tallied 485 (16.7 ppg) for Carey’s 20-9 squad in 1996. Payne was a spectator at state in 2001. Counting JV, Peterson finished with 1,339 points.

Winning close games meant a lot for Carey. Prior to state, Carey was 10-8 in games settled by 10 points or less, and 6-4 in five points or less. Last winter, Carey was 0-10 in games decided by 10 points or less….Krosch, who averaged 17.8 ppg on 49% shooting, 9.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.8 steals at state, has been the man for Mackay in championship games. He scored 14 as a sophomore in Mackay’s 64-54 win over Murtaugh, 20 as a junior in the 70-41 victory over Richfield and 24 Saturday against Carey. Mackay’s three-year records: 21-3, 23-1, 20-4….Mackay started the season 1-3 including a 65-60 OT loss at Carey Dec. 8.

The only other Blaine County team to play in a state basketball championship game was coach Fred Trenkle’s first Wood River squad (19-7), in 1974, which beat Snake River 52-50 and Post Falls 63-49 and then lost 59-52 to Grangeville. Scott Uhrig, now Shoshone’s assistant coach, was a starter.

Carey, Oakley (18-9) and Raft River (17-10) finished 2-3-4 at state, while Fourth District king Richfield (24-4) shot poorly and exited with only one win. Raft River’s 6-6 junior guard Jacob Nelson set an A-4 state tournament record with 108 points in four games, including 39 in his team’s 57-56 fourth-place victory over Council.




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