looking tough in
Northside challengers for 2003-04
The Community School boys’ varsity
basketball team has been knocking at the door in the tough Northside Conference
over the past six years.
And this could be the season that the
Cutthroats walk right through the Northside door. Many favor The Community
School for the league title. It won’t be a surprise if they win.
Coach Mike Wade’s Cutthroats have made the
Northside tournament championship game twice since 1998 and earned the school’s
only state tournament berth in 1998.
Setting a school record for scoring last
winter, they were extremely close to making state again. But four-point and
three-point Northside tournament losses to Carey and Shoshone ended their
"We were so close again last year," said
Wade. "This year, we’ve said we want to be one of the top two Northside teams
and qualify for state outright. After that, it’s all gravy."
Coach Wade (62-105 in 10 varsity
campaigns) has coached the Cutthroats for 21 years including the decade from
1988-1997 when the school fielded only a junior varsity.
He is known for his disciplined offensive
approach of taking the ball inside through motion and back-door cuts.
Although the Cutthroats have yet to win
the Northside title, Wade’s last three teams have been remarkably
consistent—averaging 53.8, 53.9 and, last winter, a school-record 57.5 ppg on
the offensive end.
That has translated into Cutthroat
victories (32-33 over three years) including last winter’s 13-9 squad that won
12 of its final 16 games, played remarkably well away from home and was tough on
the boards and at the free throw line.
The Cutthroats have the most players
returning off of last March’s Northside All-Conference team.
They are first-teamer John Hayes and
second-teamers Jim Fairchild and Dylan McIlhenny. They were also the top three
scorers on last year’s Community School squad.
Hayes (15.1 ppg) scored 316 points and led
the way with 38 of the team’s 78 three-pointers. Fairchild (11.7 ppg) was a
powerful presence inside and McIlhenny (10.9 ppg) was strong all over the court,
playing in his first Cutthroat campaign.
Fairchild, a 6-4, 216-pound post, is one
of seven seniors on the 2003-04 Cutthroat squad. The team captain is Hayes, a
6-0, 155-pound wing. McIlhenny is a 6-1, 190-pound wing.
Other seniors are 6-0 wing Luc McCann,
5-11 post John Goldberg, 5-11 wing Logan Koffler and 5-6 wing Finn Brown.
Wade likes his seven seniors.
He said, "Our greatest strength is our
senior leadership. The guys are so motivated to have a great season. They’ve
paid a price during the off-season. Now, they’re so positive and working very
"The second big thing for us is this team
has the best overall speed we’ve had in years. Because of our quickness, we hope
to be more aggressive and pick up the pace to get turnovers to kick-start our
"We’re a decent free throw shooting team.
One of our goals is to shoot more free throws than our opponents."
Depth is another asset for the Cutthroats.
"An 11-man varsity roster is large for us," said Wade. "Our four juniors have no
varsity experience but they’ve been working hard. I feel we’re pretty deep. We
can go out and burn some calories."
The juniors on varsity have good height
and plenty of winning experience playing on last winter’s outstanding Cutthroat
junior varsity team. "It was one of the strongest JV teams we’ve ever had," said
They are 6-1 wing A.J. Beesley, 6-3 post
Andrew Durtschi, 6-2 post Hunter Smith and 5-11 wing Connor Wade.
"Our height is okay with Durtschi and
Smith, but they haven’t played one varsity minute. If they come along, they will
be good, solid back-ups for Jimmy (Fairchild) on the boards," said coach Wade.
Wade said his biggest concern, "the same
as it is every year," is shooting the ball. "Our field goal percentage always
seems to be a notch behind the other teams in the Northside," he said.
The Community School opened its season at
Saturday’s jamboree in Gooding. The Cutthroats played one half against Wood
River High’s varsity (winning 36-32) and one half against Gooding (losing 35-31
to the hot-shooting Senators).
Jim Carkonen returns as second-year coach
of the junior varsity squad. Last year’s JV was 20-2 and earned the top seed in
the Northside JV tourney, but lost to Camas County in the JV championship game.
Besides Hunter Smith and Finn Brown, who
will swing between JV and varsity, the junior varsity players are J.P. McNeal,
Tyler Jackson, Quade Koffler, Brendon Nelson, Bobby Pidgeon, Alden Remington and