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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — January 30, 2004


Carey holds off Cutthroats 72-69 (OT)

Simmons (39 points) lifts
#1 Panthers on "Senior Night"

Express Staff Writer

With its Northside Conference supremacy and #1 state ranking on the line, the Carey School boys’ varsity basketball team got the ball in the hands of its hot shooter with 3.5 seconds left in overtime against the upset-minded Community School Tuesday.

And Ty Simmons buried it.

Well, not exactly buried it. Simmons usually swishes his outside shots. But his baseline shot from behind the arc, after a pass from K.C. Rivera, was a little questionable. It rattled around the rim and dropped in, turning a 69-68 deficit into a 71-69 Carey lead.

On Carey’s "Senior Night," the clutch shot completed a career night for 6-3 senior Simmons (39 points. 5-for-7 3-pointers, 10 rebounds).

Simmons averages a team-best 18.6 ppg. He started the game with 14 points in the first quarter alone, then helped bring the Panthers back from a six-point halftime deficit with 23 points after intermission and in OT.

"Ty stepped it up for us," said Carey coach Dick Simpson, whose team trailed at half for only the second time this season. "I think he wanted to penetrate on the final play, then he decided to get what was given to him.

"A good shooter sometimes gets the shooter’s roll."

Devin Simpson added a free throw and the #1-ranked Panthers (15-1, 10-0 league) completed a comeback from a four-point overtime deficit to beat The Community School 72-69 in an absolutely thrilling game between two teams that could legitimately contend at the State 1A tournament in March.

Carey’s 13th consecutive win nailed down the regular-season title for the Panthers (24-0 in Northside Conference play over two seasons) and the top seed in the seven-team Northside tournament Feb. 12 in Shoshone. But it was tough as nails all the way.

"I thought they had us in overtime," said coach Simpson. The Cutthroats came to play tonight and came to beat us. But our kids know how to win and somehow find a way to win."

Cutthroat senior Luc McCann, like Carey’s Simmons, had a career game with 20 points (4 3-pointers), 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. The player who has been called "the heart and soul," of the Cutthroats looked like he’d been in a battle afterwards.

"Luc was soaking wet—he gave everything he had," said Cutthroat coach Mike Wade. "I’m really proud of the way we stepped up and played so well against a good team like Carey. We got them into overtime, and I thought we had them in overtime."

McCann agreed. He said afterwards, "A few things at the end didn’t go our way, but everybody on our team wanted it. We know we can beat Carey—we did it in summer league. But I don’t think we’ve played up to our potential yet. We’ll see Carey in the conference championships."

The big difference was Simmons, who almost single-handedly brought the school-record eight-game Cutthroat winning streak to a close. Losing for the first time on the road, The Community School (12-3, 7-2 league) dropped to #9 in the 1A boys’ poll.

Coach Wade said, "We haven’t been able to figure out how to stop Ty. He’s so quick and so smooth. He plays smart and he’s so crafty. But this game was a big confidence booster for us."


Outside shooting showcase

They say the team that lives by the 3-pointer dies by the 3-pointer, and that was the case with the Cutthroats.

Wade’s squad drained a season-high nine 3-pointers in Tuesday’s big game at Carey. The visitors got behind in the early going 13-3—Simmons scoring 11 of those points. Then the Cutthroats started draining their own.

McCann was positively on fire in the second quarter, with 10 of his 20 points. The Cutthroats stormed back for a 38-32 lead at intermission. Another big factor was 6-3 junior Andrew Durtschi, who grabbed 6 rebounds and added 3 assists in the first half.

"Andrew came in off the bench and played his heart out. It’s the best game he’s had," said coach Wade.

In the third quarter the Cutthroat lead grew to nine points, at 43-34. Fueled by 3-pointers by Tyler Cook and Simmons, Carey embarked on a 12-0 run. The streak included a couple of Rivera steals that turned into transition hoops by Simmons and Tadd Green (14 points, 13 rebounds).

"We made too many mistakes in the third quarter and missed too many easy shots in the fourth," Wade said.

Indeed, the Cutthroats had 25 turnovers to Carey’s 18. But in a game of runs, The Community School made a couple of big runs at the Panthers in the fourth. The visitors came back from a 57-51 deficit and tied it 63-63 after regulation play ended.

Leading the charge was senior captain John Hayes (23 points, 4 steals, 4 assists). With his team down by four points with only two minutes left, Hayes found Durtschi for an easy basket, then created a turnover. McCann collected the steal and passed to Hayes for a transition basket, 61-61.

"John Hayes is our man. He and Jimmy Fairchild made some big plays for us down the stretch," Wade said.

It looked like Carey had the final say when 6-3 senior Blake Surerus (8 points, 7 rebounds) slashed through the lane, took a pass from Simmons and made a basket for a 63-61 Carey lead with a minute remaining. But Surerus missed the free throw. Carey went 0-4 from the line in the fourth.

"Sometimes your legs go at the end of a tough game," coach Simpson said.

The missed charity gave the Cutthroats life. Then Carey’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker Surerus fouled out of the game—but the Cutthroats missed two free throws. There was a lot on the line for everyone.

With 28 seconds left Hayes left his defender Rivera in the dust and drove past him for the bucket that tied the game 63-63 and sent it into overtime.

In overtime Hayes made a turnaround, from Fairchild, then Simmons scored on the fast break.

With Surerus on the bench, Fairchild went to work on the less experienced Green and scored close to the hoop for a 67-65 Cutthroat lead with 2:10 left in the four-minute overtime. Then Fairchild rebounded, and McCann scored low, on a fine pass from Hayes. The Cutthroats led 69-65.

Carey called time out, as Rivera still shook his head in frustration about letting Hayes get past him for the equalizer at the end of regulation.

Rivera, not having his best game, summoned the energy to penetrate, draw the foul and make the first of two charities for a 69-66 game. He missed the second, but his teammate Green chased down the loose ball and fired it off Dylan McIlhenny’s leg as Green was falling out-of-bounds.

Carey ball.

Then, Rivera took a Tyler Cook pass and scored his only field of the game trimming the Cutthroat lead to 69-68. Various mistakes and missed opportunities filled the final minute of overtime, then Carey sophomore Devin Simpson made a critical steal at mid-court and flipped it to Rivera.

"Hustle plays are what turn the momentum in close games, and we got a few towards the end," said coach Simpson, Devin’s proud father.

Rivera went hard to the hole, but Logan Koffler of The Community School got back quickly and stripped the ball. Unfortunately for Cutthroat fans, Koffler traveled as he stole the ball—and Carey regained possession.

That gave Carey 19 seconds to something together. The Cutthroats played fine defense, with McIlhenny staying close to Simmons, but Simmons slipped away momentarily and Rivera got him the ball on the baseline. Ty thought about driving and popping, then decided to just shoot.

Simmons fired, and got the shooter’s roll, and the Carey grandstand exploded with enthusiasm.

Coach Simpson said, "You know, we got the lead and went to sleep mentally, then the Cutthroats backed off mentally late in the game. We’ll see them again at district—it’s going to be another battle."

Next: Carey travels to Richfield (6-8, 4-5) Feb. 3 and Shoshone (6-10, 4-5) Feb. 6. The Community School played a make-up game at Dietrich (6-10, 4-6) Thursday and then entertains Bliss for its "Senior Night," Tuesday.


Here are stats from Tuesday:

Carey 72-69 (OT) over CSchool: Carey—Ty Simmons 39 (14-2-11-7-5 by period), Tadd Green 14, Blake Surerus 8, K.C. Rivera 5, Tyler Cook 5, Devin Simpson 1. Rebounds (37)—Green 13, Simmons 10, Surerus 7, Rivera 5. Blocked shots—Surerus 4. Steals—Rivera 5, Simpson 3, Cook 2, Green 2. Assists—Rivera 8, Cook 5, Simpson 4, Simmons 3. 3-pointers (6-for-17)—Simmons 5, Cook 1.

CSchool—John Hayes 23, Luc McCann 20, Jimmy Fairchild 10, Dylan McIlhenny 9, Andrew Durtschi 7. Rebounds (33)—Fairchild 11, Durtschi 9, McCann 6. Blocked shots—Fairchild 4, Durtschi 2. Steals—McCann 5, Hayes 4. Assists—Hayes 4, Fairchild 4, McCann 4, McIlhenny 3, Durtschi 3. 3-pointers (9-16)—Hayes 4, McCann 4, McIlhenny 1.




Hayes grabs career scoring lead for the Cutthroats

John Hayes, the 6-0 senior guard and captain of The Community School boys’ basketball team, is the new career scoring leader for coach Mike Wade’s Cutthroat program.

Hayes (18.1 ppg this season, 11.7 ppg career), has increased his 58-game Cutthroat scoring total to 681 points, six better than previous school career scoring leader Graham Snyder (675).

Hayes surpassed Snyder’s record with a fast break basket on a pass from Luc McCann—a hustle play that tied the score 61-61 in Tuesday’s dramatic Northside Conference game at Carey.




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