Seven times this season The Community Schools boys' basketball team has been outscored in the third period. And of those seven games, the Cutthroats lost five. In the four games they have had the advantage going into the fourth, they have won three times.
"That third quarter is a significant factor," Cutthroat coach Mike Wade remarked.
You have to come out strong after the break. Tuesday's 51-40 homecourt loss to Camas County drove home the point.
Trailing 26-25 at halftime, the Mushers (10-2, 6-2 league) reeled off a 20-point third, outscoring the Cutthroats 20-5. The Community School came back with a 9-point fourth but the damage had been done.
Both teams started slowly, trading misses in the first quarter, and the Cutthroats did not hit a field goal until Hunter Smith (11 points) tied the game 2-2 at the 4:12 mark.
Smith had the go-ahead hoop on a pass by Andrew Durtschi (13 points) and Camas' talented guard Mike Blodgett (15 points) evened the game 4-4 with a crafty left-handed putback after a block by Durtschi.
Both Smith and Durtschi converted on quick inbound passes by Connor Wade (8 pts.) and the Cutthroats claimed the lead 12-10 at the buzzer after Smith rebounded and stuffed a shot by Kevin Wade.
Camas' Chase Lee (11 pts.) penetrated the Cutthroats zone defense in the second to score and tie the game 12-all, but the Cutthroats ran their advantage to 19-12 on three free throws by the senior Wade, a beautiful turnaround left-handed jumper by Durtschi and an outside shot by Kevin Wade. For a minute it looked like the blue and white was going to carry a considerable lead into halftime.
But in 24 seconds, Blodgett and Lee drained three-pointers to make it 19-18 with 3:43 left.
Smith nailed the net and drew a foul to put the 'Throats up 24-21, but with 2:20 remaining, Camas coach Jon Botz called the play, "one game, Michael" and Blodgett responded with consecutive field goals to put Camas up 25-24.
The Community School was on top at halftime, however. Durtschi buried a bounce pass from Christian Cairncross and Connor Wade, making the score 26-25.
In the third, Camas scored seven points before the Cutthroats managed to sink one -- Durtschi hit a two at the 4:36 mark -- but Camas capitalized after Smith drew his fourth foul and had to sit out. A fingertip roll by Blodgett, a three-point swisher by Travis VanGelder and a steal and layin by Josh Shroyer closed out the third with the Mushers leading 45-31.
"We had good shots. We just could not make them," Wade remarked.
Due to foul trouble, both Camas' big men, Travis Van Gelder and Mark Wilson, were out at the start of the fourth, but Botz put them in at the 5:32 mark after baskets by Kevin Wade (4 pts.) and A.J. Beesley (4 pts.) cut the Musher lead to 10, 45-35.
Buckets by Blodgett, Lee and Wilson offset a field goal by Smith and a trey by Connor Wade and Camas prevailed 51-40.
"I thought some things worked really well for us. We handled their press very well, and we got some good production out of our own press," Wade said.
"We held Camas (55 ppg.) a little below their average, so I can't fault our D, but you have to put up some points. You have to score better than 40 in the Northside Conference or your not going to get it done."
Home to Twin Falls Christian Academy last night, the Cutthroats (5-6, 4-4 league) travel to Dietrich Saturday and host Carey Tuesday.