SHOSHONE — The theme of the first round of the 1A Division II District 4 tournament was those who start strong, finish strong.
All four teams that built the early lead went on to secure victories. Here’s how the games played out on the opening day of North Side Conference tournament action:
Carey 46, Castleford 30
The top-seeded Panthers held the Wolves to two points in the first quarter and kept a commanding lead for three quarter of play to move into the winner’s bracket.
Despite a tough night for the Carey offense as a whole, Shantell Chavez netted 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Kodi Green commanded the post for the Panthers, scoring 11 points in the paint and at the free-throw line combined.
Aubrey Mahannah led No. 8 Castleford with nine points, followed by Alondra Rivera and Sydney Schoth with eight points each.
Carey advanced to play Murtaugh in the semifinals on Saturday, while Castleford will face Hansen in a loser-out game the same day.
Murtaugh 57, Hansen 52
The Red Devils started the game red hot, but had to fend off a second-half charge by Hansen to win their first district tournament game in 12 years.
The fifth-seeded Devils opened with a 22-8 lead in just over four minutes, fueled by a tight full-court press. Though the No. 4 Huskies found their shot soon after, Murtaugh held a 23-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.
“We brought a lot of energy,” Murtaugh head coach Todd Jensen said. “They tried to pack it in on us, and we kept really good pressure on them.”
Hansen had trouble passing to the inside, but when it was successful, Yolanda Alaniz was there to provide consistent offense for the Huskies. She scored more than half of Hansen’s 23 first-half points with 14, helping keep the score within reach at 37-23.
Jenna Benites had 17 points in the first half for the Devils, including four 3-pointers, but she sustained leg injury late in the third quarter as Hansen pulled within three points of Murtaugh.
“We knew that we had to step up after that,” Jensen said, “and we stepped up when we needed it.”
Lisa Ambriz led the charge, hitting a 3-pointer seconds after Benites went off, then opening the fourth quarter with another long ball.
Hansen won the fourth quarter 13-12, but left a lot of opportunities to take a lead lost in transition, where Jensen said his defense stepped up well.
“We attacked their pressure well late in the game,” he said. “We made it hard for them to get easy buckets.”
With the win, Murtaugh advanced to the semifinals to face the No. 1 seed, Carey, on Saturday. Hansen will play Castleford in a loser-out game.
Dietrich 48, Richfield 28
The Blue Devils had trouble shooting for much of the game, but their defense contained the Tigers to earn an opening-round win.
No. 3 Dietrich swarmed No. 6 Richfield defensively early in the game as it opened up a 9-2 lead, using turnovers for scoring chances.
“We defended well up front,” Dietrich assistant coach John Howard said. “A couple players gave us problems at times, but I thought we did well.”
One of those couple players was Shelby Buckner, who at 5-foot-11 stood tallest on the court. But Dietrich forced her into foul trouble, as she earned two quick fouls in the opening minutes of the third quarter to sit at three fouls and spend time on the bench. Buckner finished with a team-high nine points.
Dietrich forced foul trouble throughout the Tigers lineup, shooting 30 free throws on the night (18 made).
With a 13-4 fourth quarter, the Blue Devils closed out any hope for a Richfield comeback.
The Dietrich offense was fairly well spread out in terms of scoring, with Kaylee Hendrix leading the way with 10 points. Howard said that’s the way the entire season has gone.
“We don’t have any big scorer that we look to every game,” he said. “It’s really a team effort every day.”
The key to the Blue Devils’ next game, versus Lighthouse Christian in the semifinals Saturday, will be picking up the pace on offense, according to head coach Acey Shaw.
“We need to start making our shots,” he said. “We can’t miss our shots like we did tonight.”
Richfield will play Camas County in the loser’s bracket.
Lighthouse Christian 46, Camas County 22
The Lions offense has been its strong suit this season, but its defense did the early work in the first-round win against Camas County.
On the boards, Haylee Grossman grabbed rebound after rebound, allowing few second-chance points for the Mushers. She also scored a game-leading 14 from the post.
After building a 21-10 lead at halftime, the No. 2-seeded Lions found their shot, outscoring No. 7 Camas County 16-4 in the third quarter en route to the win.
Samantha McFadyen scored eight points to lead the Mushers, who will play Camas County in a loser-out game Saturday. Lighthouse Christian advanced to face Dietrich in the semifinals the same day.