Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mushers end Cutthroat season 47-42

In Northside boys' basketball

Turnovers and personal fouls were the bane of The Community School's existence Monday at Shoshone in a loser-out game of the Northside Conference boys' basketball tournament.

And the Camas County Mushers capitalized with a 47-42 triumph that sent the Cutthroats home for the season. The Mushers had 17 steals, and the Cutthroats made 25 turnovers.

The #3-seeded Mushers (15-5) swept the season series with the #4-seeded Cutthroats (11-9), although the 5-point margin was much closer than their earlier 13- and 11-point wins.

Camas County advanced to Tuesday night's second-place game against the Carey Panthers, also at Shoshone.

Musher senior Kyle Menck (5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals) tied it 42-42 with a minute left on a driving layup then Menck tallied the eventual winner on a spinner after a Michael Blodgett steal on the press. Menck's steal with 14 seconds left iced the win.

In a close game where five points was the biggest lead, the underdog Cutthroats saw their game-long lead slip away in the fourth when senior starters Andrew Durtschi and A.J. Beesley fouled out—limiting coach Mike Wade's ballhandling options.

Leading scorer Durtschi (12.5 ppg) finished with a game-high 15 points plus 7 rebounds and Beesley (10.9 ppg), the hottest Cutthroat scorer down the season's homestretch, sat down with 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Shaky charity shooting (5-for-11 in the fourth, 9-for-19 game) prevented the Cutthroats from adding to their lead in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Mushers led by Tony Gonsales (5-for-8 in the fourth) made 10 of their 15 free throws in the fourth, 16-for-27 overall.

Gonsales topped the Mushers with 14 points and 5 steals. Travis Van Gelder added 8 points before fouling out. Senior post Mark Wilson had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Blodgett 4 points, 4 boards, 3 steals and 4 assists, and Chase Lee 5 points with 4 boards.

Playing his final Cutthroat game, captain Connor Wade scored 6 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. Hunter Smith added 11 points and 5 boards, Kevin Wade 4 boards and 4 assists.

The #4-seeded Cutthroats won a couple of close contests against lower-seeded teams and dropped a tight game to top-ranked Richfield in their three preliminary tournament affairs.

On Thursday against #5-seeded Dietrich (7-15), the Cutthroats pulled away from a 42-42 third-quarter tie and survived the Blue Devil upset bid 56-50. Dietrich had earlier lost to the Cutthroats by 33 and 18 points.

Connor Wade (18 points) nailed a couple of clutch 3-pointers at the beginning of the fourth period sending the Cutthroats on their way. Beesley added a game-high 20 points, Smith 12, Durtschi 4 and Brendan Nelson 2.

Friday, Richfield came to the party with a 18-2 overall record and 12 Northside league wins by an average margin of 29.0 ppg. But the Cutthroats grabbed a stunning 33-20 halftime lead and seemed on their way to the biggest upset of the tournament.

But, with Richfield superstar Victor Vasquez scoring 15 of his game-high 34 points during a 22-6 third-quarter surge fueled by steals and fast break baskets, the Tigers escaped with a 58-47 victory. They outscored the Cutthroats 38-14 in the second half.

Beesley had 14 points, Durtschi 12, Smith 9, Connor Wade 9 and Kevin Wade 3 for Sun Valley.

Saturday, the Cutthroats withstood Shoshone's slowdown tactics and the visitors fought back from a game-long deficit to beat #6-seeded Shoshone (3-20) by a score of 42-37. Kevin Wade's 3-point play in the final minute assured Sun Valley's three-game season sweep over upset-minded Shoshone.

Leading scorers were Smith 13, Durtschi 10, Beesley 5, Kevin Wade 5, Nelson 5 and Connor Wade 4.

For the season the Cutthroats had four double-digit scorers—Durtschi 12.5 ppg, Connor Wade 11.2 ppg with 37 3-pointers, Beesley 10.9 ppg and Smith 10.7 ppg. Kevin Wade added 67 points and Christian Cairncross 57. The Cutthroats averaged 50.8 ppg on offense, 48.1 ppg defense.

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