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Wednesday, March 3, 2004


Carey opens state quest against Idaho City

Shooting for a trophy

Express Staff Writer

You get the feeling that the Carey School boys’ varsity basketball team (20-1) won’t be satisfied with anything less than a berth in Saturday’s championship game of the 16-team State 1A tournament at The Idaho Center.

After all, Carey hasn’t lost a game this year. The only Panther loss came to Mackay 71-58 in the championship game of the Carey Holiday Tournament way back on Dec. 6, 2003.

Tadd Green (left) and Blake Surerus (#33) of Carey go up to stop Andrew Durtschi’s shot for The Community School during a game in Carey earlier this season. It’s not inconceivable that the Blaine Count teams could meet in this week’s state tournament. Express photo by David N. Seelig

The experience factor plays in Carey’s favor. This is Carey’s ninth state tournament appearance in 12 years.

They’ve been in the state championship game before, in 2001, when Mackay walloped Carey 73-46. Last year, only a 53-52 loss to Nezperce in the semi-final kept Carey out of the championship game, won by Castleford 64-59 over Nezperce.

Summing up, in 2001 Carey finished second and in 2003 the Panthers were third, beating Cascade 61-49 for third place. No need to mention that Carey, despite its 237-100 record in 14 seasons since 1991, has never won the state basketball title.

So the Panthers should be hungry. But are they?

Coach Dick Simpson knows you need to dig deep and salvage everything in your power to succeed at the big tournament, but he’s still a little concerned about his #2-ranked team’s mindset entering the four-day tournament at Caldwell High School.

He said Carey’s players seem to be putting pressure on themselves with their current 18-game winning streak, which equals the school record set by last year’s Panther squad. And some rust has set in. The Panthers have played three games in three weeks.

Although last Thursday’s 72-71 victory over the Hansen Huskies gave Carey its second straight Fourth District title, the Panthers were sometimes playing to win, and sometimes playing not to lose, Simpson said.

"We didn’t rebound as well as we’ve been rebounding," said Simpson, who acknowledged that his team was a little lethargic. "We got caught standing around several times."

One thing is for sure. Carey is well rested and has a favorable draw as it opens its 2004 state quest today, Wednesday with a 1:15 p.m. game against the Idaho City Wildcats (9-13) at Caldwell High School.

"Idaho City is a strong offensive rebounding team. They don’t have a lot of outside shooting, but they have a 6-5 freshman who is decent inside," said Simpson. Last year at state, Idaho City went two-and-out with double-digit losses to Clark Fork and Notus.

Notus, in fact, was the team that Simpson thought Carey would be playing today. Ranked seventh in the Idahosports.com poll, Notus (19-5) had beaten Idaho City by 40 and 11 points during the season, but Idaho City ended Notus’s season 58-56 in Saturday’s Third District play-in game.

Idaho City shouldn’t be much of a challenge to Carey on most nights. The Wildcats started their season 0-6, yielding 64.0 ppg, then beat Cambridge, Rimrock and Notus for the fifth and final state seed from the Third District tournament. The Wildcats (51.0 ppg) don’t score much.

With a win over Idaho City, Carey will play the winner of what should be an excellent game between the high-scoring Sho-Ban Chiefs (17-3, 75.3 ppg) and Third District third-place Council (19-5). The Chiefs, twice losers to Mackay, are averaging 82 ppg in their eight-game win streak. Third-ranked Council likes to run the floor.

Simpson said with a laugh, "We’re hoping it’s a long, hard-fought game between Sho-Ban and Council." Carey would play the winner of that game Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at Caldwell.

In Simpson’s estimation, the Cole Valley Christian Chargers from Boise could very well emerge from the other bracket and make Saturday’s championship game—and, of course, Cole Valley Christian beat Castleford 61-54 for the 2002 state championship.

"Cole Valley plays an up-tempo game and in-your-face defense," said Simpson. The Chargers (19-3, 65.6 ppg) have won 11 straight games including 12-point and 25-point victories over Council and Cascade at district.

At state today, Cole Valley opens up against Richfield (10-13), a surprise 68-60 double overtime winner over Castleford in Thursday’s play-in game.

Regardless, Carey will have to play better defense than the Panthers did in their narrow 72-71 win over Hansen (14-7) last Thursday at Murtaugh. Hansen had a good shooting night and used its depth to keep it close.

Neither team shot over 36% from the field, but Southside Conference king Hansen (49-43 winners over Castleford in the title game) put up more shots in the second half and nearly had enough to upset Carey. Hansen will be making its first state trip.

"After we made four 3-pointers in a row (Ty Simmons 3, Tyler Cook 1), we went up 10 points on Hansen in the fourth, then they came back and went up by six. We got it back to three and made our free throws at the end. But it was close all the way," said Simpson.

Simmons (19.0 ppg) finished with 28 points (8-for-8 free throws) and 8 rebounds. K.C. Rivera had a double-double with a team-high 12 rebounds and 10 assists plus 5 points. Tadd Green added 13 points and Tyler Cook 12 points. Blake Surerus had 9 points, 8 boards and 4 blocked shots.

The win improved Carey’s road mark to 12-0. And the Panthers will carry a 65.6 ppg scoring average to state, higher than last year’s 59.7 ppg.

Carey 72-71 over Hansen: Ty Simmons 28 points, Tadd Green 13, Tyler Cook 12, Blake Surerus 9, K.C. Rivera 5, Allen Peck 3, Devin Simpson2. Rebounds (39)—
Rivera 12, Simmons 8, Surerus 8. Blocked shots—Surerus 4, Green 2. Assists—Rivera 10. Steals—Rivera 2. 3-pointers—Simmons 4, Cook 3, Peck 1. FG—36%. FT—12-19. Opp FT—7-10.

Carey season statistics (21 games): Offense—65.6 ppg. Defense—49.1 ppg. FG—45%. Free throws—Carey 184-324 (57%). Opposition—122-255 (48%). Top season individual scorers—Ty Simmons 19.0 ppg, Tadd Green 11.9, Tyler Cook 11.2, Blake Surerus 10.1, K.C. Rivera 9.2, Devin Simpson 3.4. 3-pointers (113)—Cook 60, Simmons 43, Simpson 6, Rivera 3, Peck 1. Rebounds—Surerus 196, Simmons 163, Green 127. Assists—Rivera 123, Simmons 61. Steals—Rivera 81. Blocked shots—Surerus 62.



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