SHOSHONE — As the members of the Dietrich High School boys basketball team were called out name by name after winning the North Side Conference title, Dietrich head coach Wayne Dill ended the roll call with, “Finally, Kade (Shaw) and Slade (Dill).”
They were the only two players he lumped together in the awards ceremony, and for anyone who’s watched the Blue Devils this season, it’s obvious why. They’re team leaders from game to game, and in the title game Wednesday night, they combined for 38 points in Dietrich’s 65-62 win over Carey.
The game ended up being a thriller, but early on, Dietrich’s dynamic duo made it look to be a runaway.
The first half became a shootaround for Slade Dill and Shaw, as they combined for 27 points (14 for Dill, 13 for Shaw). Carey didn’t have an answer for the Devils’ up-tempo offense, which they held to 31 points in the first half in their last matchup.
This time, the Panthers allowed 41 in the first half, but with a few late 3-pointers and a buzzer-beating jumper, they kept themselves in the game at 41-28 going into halftime.
Though he didn’t record any points in the second half, Shaw provided great offense early on.
“Kade can get to the goal in a hurry,” Wayne Dill said. “He attacks the basket really well.”
But just as quickly as Dietrich opened its lead in the first half, Carey cut it to begin the second half.
The Panthers went on a 10-2 run in the first three minutes, pulling the score to 43-38. But Slade Dill was there to ensure that the Blue Devils kept their lead, scoring nine of his team’s 13 third-quarter points.
He doesn’t want the spotlight for keeping his team ahead, though.
“I can’t take all the credit, because I think part of it was me being in the right spots,” Slade Dill said. “In third quarters, we’ve all just got to pick it up a notch.”
Slade Dill ended the game with 25 points, including three 3-pointers.
His third-quarter points helped Dietrich to a 12-point lead headed into the final quarter of play, but the Panthers once again had a rally waiting for the Blue Devils.
The shots really fell for Carey in the fourth quarter as they scored 21 points. Kaden Koudelka, who scored a team-high 20 points for the Panthers, led the charge to the finish with three field goals, the same total he posted in the second and third quarters, as well.
“Koudelka played a really strong game,” Wayne Dill said. “Just very consistent play, played well in every quarter.”
Even with a 3-pointer by Hayden Wayment in the closing seconds of the game, the margin was too wide for Carey to overcome, and the Blue Devils held the inbound pass through the final two seconds of play to win their third straight district title.
Carey’s offense, despite first-quarter struggles, showed its strength in the game. The title game was the first time Dietrich allowed more than 60 points this season.
The Panthers will face Lighthouse Christian on Friday at 7 p.m. at Shoshone High School to determine the second 1A Division II state tournament seed from District 4. The Lions beat Hansen 54-49 prior to Wednesday’s title game.
Dietrich has secured its spot in the state tournament, but it will have to wait to find out its first-round competition. Three teams are playing this week to determine the second seed from District 5-6.
There are still a couple of things to work on for the Blue Devils to earn revenge from a tight loss to Genesis Prep in the state title game last year. Slade Dill, the double-double machine for the Blue Devils, said the whole team could step up at the boards.
“We did okay, but I think we need to rebound even better than we did tonight,” he said, “and we’ve got to learn to take that pressure and handle the ball better when they’re fouling.”
Wayne Dill is just happy to have the group of players that he has, a squad that he said has worked together and made improvements down the stretch.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” he said. “We have good kids that play a good game.”