Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cutthroat boys are building again

On the hardwoods

Express Staff Writer

If you coach high school basketball as long as Mike Wade has, 22 years, and if you're a family man whose boys have always hung around the hardwoods, you're bound to arrive at a point where you're coaching your kids.

That is Wade's situation as the 2004-05 season opens for The Community School boys' basketball team. Coaching his sons Connor and Kevin on the Cutthroat varsity will take some of the edge off what is sure to be a rebuilding season for Wade's squad.

"We lost all five starters, so I'm sure we can't possibly rival last year's team," said Wade (72-137 in 11 varsity campaigns), who has come through the best four-year stretch (53-40) in his 22 years guiding the Cutthroat boys.

Last year's Cutthroats led by second-team All-State guard John Hayes (17.7 ppg), the school's all-time leading scorer, shattered the previous-best school single-season record with a glittering 21-7 season that included two wins at the State 1A tournament.

Placing fifth in their second-ever trip to state, the Cutthroats also set school records for scoring (59.7 ppg) and defensive average (49.5 ppg). Hayes along with second-leading all-time scorer Jimmy Fairchild (12.8 ppg) and Dylan McIlhenny (10.9 ppg) all scored over 300 points last winter.

That's a lot of points to make up, and Wade acknowledges that the Cutthroats will be virtually starting from scratch. He has only four seniors returning from last year's varsity and only one, Andrew Durtschi, with substantial playing time last winter.

What's more, The Community School is going through cyclical changes and has seen an enrollment shift to 60% girls and 40% boys, Wade said. In the whole junior class, for example, there are only eight boys compared to 21 girls, he added.

The situation has led to the lowest turnout in many years for the boys' basketball program. Wade has welcomed only 13 boys to the varsity and junior varsity teams. That compares to 19 two years ago, and 17 last year.

"We're still going to run full varsity and junior varsity schedules, but we could end up canceling out some JV games depending on injuries," he said.

Considering the lack of varsity experience, the Cutthroat leaders will be hard pressed to rival the offensive efficiency put on the board by the last four Community School teams—rising from 53.8, 53.9, 57.5 to 59.7 ppg.

Wade said, "We don't have the offensive power we had last year and we're going to be an average 3-point shooting team. We do have guys who can really come along as scorers. We'll have to focus on quick ball movement and looking for the open man because we'll need to get good shots.

"We're going to emphasize our defense. Our defensive goal will be to hold a team below its scoring average.

"We'll mainly have to lift our defensive game and primarily in half-court defense. We can't be a real pressing team because of our numbers. Our half-court defense will have to be really intense," Wade said.

The five seniors are Connor Wade, A.J. Beesley, Hunter Smith, J.P. McNeal and Durtschi. Kevin Wade is the only junior. Sophomores are Christian Cairncross, Quade Koffler, Brendan Nelson and Alden Remington. Freshmen are Jeff Gaecke, Max Harris and Spencer Harris.

Connor Wade, team captain, is a 5-11 point guard who is the court leader and probably the biggest 3-point threat for the 'Throats. He scored 55 points last year. "Connor has a good outside shot and he's been working hard to penetrate," said coach Wade.

Durtschi, a 6-3 post, scored 134 points last season as primarily a substitute for 6-4 post Fairchild.

Wade said, "Andrew got the most minutes last year and has the most playing experience. He has worked hard on his moves and is ready to be our main go-to guy in the post. And he's a very good shooter. He has the green light to shoot from the outside."

Beesley, a 6-1 wing, is a strong rebounder and has quickness up and down the floor. He's able to penetrate well but can get into foul trouble. Beesley tallied 60 points last year, making him the second highest underclass scorer behind Durtschi.

In the view of coach Wade, 6-2 post Hunter Smith (31 points last year) has done the most to improve his game during the off-season, along with Connor Wade. "Hunter has done good, solid yeoman work in the past. We think he can be a player other teams have to prepare for," said Wade.

McNeal, the fifth senior, will alternate between the varsity and JV. Kevin Wade, a 5-10 junior wing/guard, does well penetrating and pulling up for his shot, the coach said. And 5-8 sophomore Brendan Nelson is a strong defensive player who will see minutes.

Wade thinks the seven-team Northside Conference will be as tough as ever this winter.

Two-time defending Northside Conference tournament champion Carey is 28-0 over two years in league play. Camas County returns four of five starters and will certainly improve upon its 8-9 finish of 2003-04.

The Richfield Tigers, Northside tournament runner-up and state qualifier in 2004, has the best player in the conference in guard Victor Vasquez, the only All-League first-teamer back. Shoshone will be tough, and scrappy Bliss returns four starters, Wade said.

"It's always tough to do any predicting, but we do know that only two teams from the Northside will advance to the district tournament this year, instead of three last year," said Wade.

The Cutthroats open their 2004-05 season Saturday, Nov. 27 at the Gooding Jamboree. The Cutthroats play a half of a game against Gooding High School at 6 p.m. and then go against Glenns Ferry at 7 p.m. Gooding plays Glenns Ferry to round out the night.

Jim Carkonen returns as the third-year coach of the Cutthroat junior varsity squad.

Meanwhile, coach Wade said that Dylan McIlhenny (305 points last season) has made the junior varsity basketball team at Willamette University in Oregon.

2004-05 CommSchool boys Basketball Schedule

A total 16 varsity games on the regular-season slate for the 2004-05 Cutthroat boy cagers; 8 home and 8 away. Of the 16 games, 12 are Northside Conference varsity match-ups (identified with an *). Home varsity games at the Community School gym, Sun Valley are listed in bold type. Also listed are 20 JV games.


Nov. 27, Saturday...Gooding Jamboree (V)...Gooding HS, 6:00

Nov. 30, Tuesday...Magic Valley Christian...Home, 6:00/7:30

Dec. 1, Wednesday...Hansen...Away, 5:00/6:30

Dec. 3, Friday...Glenns Ferry...Away, 5:00/6:30

Dec. 6, Monday...Wood River freshmen (JV)...Home, 5:00

Dec. 10, Friday...Shoshone*...Home, 4:30/7:30

Dec. 17, Friday...Carey*...Away, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 4, Tuesday...Dietrich*...Home, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 7, Friday...Bliss*...Home, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 8, Saturday...Camas County*...Fairfield, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 11, Tuesday...ISDB (JV)...Home, 6:30

Jan. 13, Thursday...Shoshone*...Away, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 15, Saturday...Richfield*...Away, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 18, Tuesday...Camas County*...Home, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 20, Thursday...Twin Falls Christian...Home, 5:00/6:30

Jan. 22, Saturday...Dietrich*...Away, 4:30/7:30

Jan. 24, Monday...Wood River freshmen (JV)...WRHS, Hailey, 6:30

Jan. 25, Tuesday...Carey*...Home, 6:00/7:30

Jan. 27, Thursday...ISDB (JV)...Gooding, 5:00

Feb. 1, Tuesday...Bliss*...Away, 6:00/7:30

Feb. 4, Friday...Richfield* (Sr. Night)...Home, 6:00/7:30

Feb. 10, Thursday...Northside 1A Sub-District (V/JV)...Shoshone

Feb. 14, Monday...Northside 1A finals...Shoshone

Feb. 24, Thursday...Fourth District 1A finals...Shoshone

March 2, Wednesday...State 1A tournament...Caldwell

NOTES—The varsity teams from 4A Wood River High and 3A Gooding High join 1A Community School at the Nov. 27 Gooding Jamboree....The 2005 Northside 1A Sub-District boys' BB tournament is Feb. 10-12 and Feb. 14-15 at Shoshone High School, followed by the state-qualifying Fourth District 1A finals Thursday, Feb. 24 at Shoshone. The combined Northside/Southside gets four berths to state, with the Northside assured of state berths for its top two teams....The 16-team 1A boys' tournament is March 2-5, 2005 at Vallivue (March 2-5) and Caldwell (March 2-3) high schools in Caldwell.

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