Carey closes out perfect MAL run

CAREY – When a player eclipses some milestone in a game, the game is stopped, a game ball is awarded and everyone claps.

Pictures are snapped and then the game rolls on.

It would have been presumptuous for that to happen Thursday night at Carey, but it very well could have in the second quarter.

Referees could have whistled a timeout and given the Blue Devils the game ball and presented them with the outright Midland Athletic League girls basketball title. In the midst of a quarter where the Blue Devils made 12 of 13 shots, a presentation like that might have been the only way to stop Carey.

The Blue Devils completed a perfect 10-0 MAL season in the league’s final iteration with a 71-44 blitzing of St. Joe.

The league title was the third in four years for this team’s senior class and the fourth in the six years that Phil Vaughn has won since taking over the helm in the summer of 2008.

“That’s a tough thing to (go undefeated). It’s only the second team to do it here (since we’ve been in the MAL),” Vaughn said. “I think going to New Riegel, going to Mohawk and going to Calvert all in the same year is a tough task and they answered the call.”

Carey (19-2, 10-0) was a team on a mission. In the first half, the Blue Devils were 18 for 24 from the field to build a 45-19 lead.

“Did they miss that many? My God, they didn’t miss,” St. Joe coach Dennis Martin said with a smile. “How do you defend that?”

Makenzie Wentling, who finished with 11 points, said it seemed like they couldn’t miss.

“That’s what it seemed like. It was nice but it’s not always like that,” she said. “We don’t like to share (league titles) here. We came out with a lot of energy and were ready to go.”

When Carey did miss in the first half, only once did it not get the offensive rebound and score.

“We just got out and moved and posted up hard,” said Logan Johnson, who finished with 10 points. “Everything was going in.”

Sydney Wentling finished with 16 points and Shelby Kin tallied nine in the victory.

Brianna Reardon paced St. Joe (4-16, 1-9 MAL) with 11 points.

“I thought our kids played 32 minutes as hard as they could,” Martin said. “That’s a dynamite team. Everyone knows they’re dynamite. They’re going to go deep in tournaments. These seniors have played together forever.”

Vaughn said his success in a short amount of time is a credit to the kids in the jerseys.

“It’s the kids that I have. That’s the key. It’s not just this team,” Vaughn said. “I have good people coaching them in the elementary and junior high. I have a good staff here at the high school. Ultimately it comes down to good kids.”

It’s the second 10-0 MAL mark for Vaughn and his squads, the first coming in his campaign in 2008-2009.

“It’s a huge thing to do. We treat every league game like it’s a league championship game,” Makenzie Wentling said. “So to go out and go 10-0, that’s a big deal to us.”

It also ties Carey with Hopewell-Loudon and St. Joe for second in number of MAL titles won with six. New Riegel will go down in history with the most with 10.

“He’s a great coach and he makes sure in practice that we work on the little things that are weak in our game,” Makenzie Wentling said of Vaughn. “He makes sure everything is top notch and we try to get everything as good as we can so we can beat our opponents.”