BASCOM - It wasn't a perfect win, but it kept Carey that way in the league.
The Blue Devils used pressure defense, speed all over and a spread-out zone offense Friday to counter Hopewell-Loudon's inside power for a 57-43 win in a battle of two teams which entered 4-0 in the Midland Athletic League.
"The one thing we know we have to work on is finishing against the bigs and handling the bigs defensively. They do give us problems at times. But we do do a good job spacing the floor," Carey coach C.J. Kin said. "We're fast and quick enough 1 through 5 that we can do that. We hit some shots tonight.
"I thought our defense, we really turned it up in the second half. I thought Bryan [Powers] kept us in it offensively in the first half with his 3's. The second half, he gave Hopewell's guards just fits, three, four possessions in a row," he said. "If we can play that way, we're a tough team to match up with and we give teams a lot of problems."
The Chieftains found that out early.
Carey (9-2) converted five turnovers into seven points in the opening period to forge a 19-12 lead at the first stop, with Powers hitting three of his eventual five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes.
The Blue Devils pushed the lead to 24-12 less than two minutes into the second quarter, but H-L countered by whittling the deficit down to 24-20 on Ryan Lommerse's inside score with 2:33 left in the half.
However, Powers kickstarted a 7-0 run with another trey to help the Blue Devils enter halftime up 31-20.
The lead never dipped to single digits again, but that wasn't always due to H-L turnovers.
While the Chieftains (6-6) had 15 total miscues, they also had many chances to score inside with 6-2 guard Ryan Lommerse driving and 6-3 Tyler Imes posting up.
The trouble came on misses, according to H-L coach Adam Smith.
"For the amount of pressure and speed we were going against, I was very proud of my guards. We've had far more turnovers against far worse competition. I thought they stepped up," he said. "They played well enough for us to win tonight. Where we lost the game was, when we did get in our offense, we went 11 for 30 from two feet [away]. We just could not finish. We had the shots and the opportunities to win, we just couldn't finish.
"We've had games where we haven't had the opportunities," he said. "Our guards, at least, gave us a shot tonight."
Imes did finish with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Lommerse backed him with 12 points, 10 boards and three assists.
But only Ben Bodart, with eight points, added more than two points for the Chieftains, who finished 18 for 48 from the floor and 0 for 9 on 3-pointers.
"We wanted to get the ball inside, we wanted to attack. We felt we could attack their half-court defense," Smith said. "The execution right up to the shots, I thought our kids did really well."
Carey had the execution right through the shots.
Powers led everyone with 21 points, Jared Wentling chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds and Matthew Holsinger scored 11 points. Zach Boes added six points, seven assists and four steals.
About the only thing Kin faulted was his team's slip into complacency, such as the four-minute stretch in the second quarter when the Blue Devils went scoreless and H-L closed the gap.
"Our defense leads to our [offensive] runs, but I still get a little upset with the lulls we'll have. We'll go a minute or two minutes in a lull, give up a couple easy points ... . We need to be able to continue that pressure for 32 minutes," Kin said.
"We know scoring isn't an issue with us, it's making sure we play defense, that we move the ball around," he said. "We have pretty good shooters and it's just about taking care of the ball, which we did a nice job tonight.
"Once we use all five guys against a zone, we're pretty dangerous because we can attack you from the outside or from the inside the baseline to the high post," he said. "I thought we did a really nice job."