Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New season has Cutthroat boys looking up

Coach Wade starts with solid core of four

Express Staff Writer

If you're a Northside Conference basketball coach wondering what's going to happen in an upcoming season, you usually know two things right off about The Community School boys' basketball team.

First of all, the Cutthroats won't have many players. Most importantly, coach Mike Wade will get the most out of them and have them playing well by tournament time. And he's done it for a quarter century.

Starting his 25th season at the Cutthroat helm, Wade (95-172 in 14 varsity campaigns) will be crossing the century mark in varsity wins at some point during the 16-game regular season that opened Monday night at Lighthouse Christian.

The home season debuts tonight, Wednesday when the Cutthroats entertain Hansen at The Fish Tank in Sun Valley. Junior varsity action starts at 6 p.m. and varsity 7:30 p.m.

Wade's program didn't field a junior varsity team last winter but they've got enough this time, barely, that is—seven on varsity and six on second-year coach Rob Gardner's JV.

Four of the seven on varsity are returning from last winter when the Cutthroats went 8-12, won four Northside Conference games plus one in the tournament, and averaged nearly 50 points per game on offense.

Wade said, "We have four of last year's juniors returning to give us a solid core. Mac (Whittington) was first-team All-Conference and Spencer (Harris) was second-team All-Conference.

"Last year we weren't expected to do that well and we won eight games anyway. And we've got nearly all of those players back. My expectation is we're going to be competitive in a Northside Conference that doesn't have many weak teams and is likely to be more competitive this year."

Whittington, a 6-6 senior post, can draw from back-to-back double-digit per-game scoring seasons including last year's 13.8 ppg finish. He was consistent with 17 of 20 games in double figures. And he's extremely tough on the boards.

Over two seasons Whittington has scored 443 points in 36 games (12.3 ppg) and has a legitimate chance of overtaking Jimmy Fairchild (698 points in 67 games, 10.4 ppg) for second place on the school's all-time scoring list behind John Hayes (901 points in 71 games, 12.7).

Senior 6-0 co-captain Spencer Harris (12.7 ppg) moves well to the ball and to the boards. So does senior 6-2 co-captain Max Harris (6.5 ppg). Together, they can put up a bunch of points in a hurry. Juniors on varsity, both returning, are 5-11 Eddy Albarran and 6-3 Lucas Vorsteveld.

Senior 6-0 wing Ian Ingram (3.4 ppg) does a good job handling the ball. Senior 5-11 wing Travis Stone has never been out for basketball but he brings a wealth of competitive soccer experience to the court.

This year, the Cutthroat junior varsity features 5-10 junior Chet Stephens, 5-8 sophomore Paul Davis plus four freshmen. They are 5-7 Eli Albarran, 5-7 Dane Inman, 5-9 Dylan Prescott and 6-0 Will Weston.

Cutthroat debut with 64-56 road win

Monday night, Whittington (10 field goals) tallied a game-high 20 points and Max Harris added 17 as the Cutthroats (1-0) won their debut on the road in Twin Falls 64-56 over Lighthouse Christian Academy (0-2).

Whittington (12 rebounds, 3 assists) and Max Harris (12 boards, 3 steals, 3 assists) came up big in the second quarter when the Fish scored 26 points to rally from a 13-8 deficit into a 34-22 halftime lead. Max Harris had 10 points and Whittington 8 in the high-scoring stanza.

Spencer Harris (6 assists) added 13 points and Ingram (3 steals, 3 assists) had 11 points as the Sun Valley boys put four players in double figures. In his first game, Stone (5 steals) chipped in with 3 points. Shooting 49% from the field, the Cutthroats committed only 17 turnovers in their first game and had 18 assists as a team.

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