Carey brings the thunder to St. Joe

FREMONT – When asked prior to the game if he wanted updates from the Old Fort game, Carey boys basketball coach C.J. Kin gave an emphatic “no.”

His basketball team needed to focus on their game, not worry about what was going on in New Riegel. If his team didn’t win, it had no shot of sharing the final Midland Athletic League crown.

It was pretty clear four minutes into the game that Carey was taking care of its end of the bargain as the Blue Devils raced out to a 17-0 lead against St. Joseph and never looked back.

There was no thunder or lightning in the Thunderdome, just a good old fashion beat down as Carey drilled St. Joe, 81-52.

“They jumped on us early and when they got us down early, I just thought the lead they built up, they took our crowd right out of it right out of the start and they kind of took us out of our game plan and our approach to the game,” St. Joe coach Jonathan Will said. “You dig a hole like that to a team like Carey, it makes it twice as tough to beat a team like that. They’re good enough. You don’t need to spot them (17) in the first quarter and try to fight back. It’s a very good basketball team.”

The win locked Carey (17-4, 9-1 MAL) into second place in the league. Old Fort dumped New Riegel, 85-53, to ensure there was no tie for the final MAL crown thanks to a perfect 10-0 mark.

“My kids knew what was at stake tonight and making sure we got a win, no matter what,” Kin said. “We were really concerned about the size inside and I thought in that first quarter, we took the size out of the equation. When (Jared) Wentling and (Zach) Boes go rebound like that and we get out and run, we’re a really hard team to guard. That was a big key to how we started out.”

Carey went 14 for 23 from the field in just the first quarter, getting some extra shots from three offensive boards and nine St. Joe turnovers to build a 30-7 lead.

“We harped and harped all week, (because) we had a 10-day break before we played tonight, that this was going to be one of the tougher games all year,” Kin said. “My kids took it to heart.”

St. Joe (10-11, 7-3) chipped away at that margin, getting it as close as 14 in the third quarter but a missed St. Joe free throw followed by a Boes 3-pointer with 1:10 to go put the icing on the cake and ended St. Joe’s threat to come back.

“I liked the way we fought after the first quarter,” Will said. “You spend so much energy trying to come back. (I told) the guys if we could get this to 10 or less going into the fourth quarter, we have a fighter’s chance. We’re at the line, down 14, miss the free throw and Boes goes down and hits a 3. So a chance to cut it to 12 with momentum and they push it to 17. From that point on, it pretty much started to sink in that it wasn’t our night tonight.”

Bryan Powers and Jared Wentling each put 24 in the scorebook for the victors while Boes added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Ben Linke led St. Joe with 18 points.

Carey finishes with the most wins in the regular season since the 1994-95 campaign.

But now the focus turns from the regular season to the post season for the Blue Devils. Kin said his team is playing well at the right time.

“I feel really good. We only had four losses and all of our losses were close except our one to Liberty-Benton,” Kin said. “I think we’re peaking at the right time. The kids got their roles. We’re playing hard. We’re shooting pretty well. So I feel good going into next Friday and we’ll see where it goes from there.”