Community School 6-6 senior post Mac Whittington had his game face Wednesday night when the Cutthroat boys' varsity basketball team hosted the Hansen Huskies in a home debut at The Fish Tank in Sun Valley.
It didn't even bother Big Mac in the pre-game introductions when one of the Cutthroat senior girls borrowed the announcer's microphone and publicly asked him to the school's Winter Formal. Whittington gave her a nonchalant thumbs-up "yes" and went about his business.
His business included 24 points and a single-game school-record 26 rebounds plus four blocked shots leading the unbeaten Cutthroats (2-0) to a 61-41 non-conference home win over visiting Hansen (0-1).
Whittington (22.0 ppg) broke the previous school rebounding record of 24 that was held by Jimmy Fairchild. He had nine points and nine rebounds in the first quarter alone.
Senior co-captain Spencer Harris (15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) and senior guard Ian Ingram (8 points, 3 boards, 3 steals and 3 assists) were the next highest Fish scorers. Senior Travis Stone (7 points, 7 rebounds) and senior co-captain Max Harris (7 points, 6 boards, 2 assists) chipped in.
Coach Mike Wade said it was a great home opening win for his team, which had only two reserves but stayed out of foul trouble.
"Hansen is always tough," he said "We've played them nine times before and only beaten them twice, and we haven't beaten them in several years."
Along with Whittington's fast start, solid man-to-man defense got the Cutthroats off to a 12-4 lead.
Quite a bit shorter physically, Hansen made inroads with its quick guards and motion offense and cut the deficit to 16-10 at the break. Too many turnovers (21 for the game) kept the Cutthroats from breaking away. Their lead was 27-22 at half.
Wade, explaining his reliance on man-to-man defense, said, "We're quicker, stronger and more savvy this year so I hope to get more mileage out of it. It took us a while to see what Hansen was doing but we played better defense in the third."
Holding the Huskies to three widely scattered field goals through the eight minutes, the Cutthroats broke open the game with a 19-6 advantage in the third quarter. With Whittington double-teamed, the Sun Valley boys also turned it around on offense and got others involved in scoring.
"Hansen was doubling Mac in their 2-3 zone and leaving the lane open," said Wade. "We started attacking down the lane and getting lay-ups, and that opened up Mac so we could get a little more post play going. We just knew the double team wasn't going to hold up if we were going to get lay-ups, and it didn't."
Spencer Harris did much of the attacking work in the 19-point third quarter, scoring six points and dishing out three assists. In the fourth period Ingram and Whittington scored six points apiece to keep the Huskies at arm's length.
Senior Nick Urie (18 points, 4 steals) led Hansen.
Junior Lucas Vorsteveld (4 boards, 2 assists) came off the bench for the Fish and did some nice work.
Wade's varsity travels to the Jerome Recreation Center today for a 6:30 p.m. game against Magic Valley Christian (0-1). Next up, the Cutthroats entertain Twin Falls Christian Academy Tuesday, Dec. 4, for 5 p.m. JV and 6:30 p.m. varsity games in Sun Valley.
The Cutthroat junior varsity also had an exciting game Wednesday, losing 30-29 in overtime to Hansen.
A free throw by Cutthroat sophomore guard Paul Davis (14 points) gave the home team a 28-26 lead with 47 seconds left in regulation, but Laton Stanger tied it for the Huskies 28-28 with 34 seconds remaining. In the four-minute overtime, Hansen's Robby Leiser scored the eventual winner with 1:17 left.
Vorsteveld (6 points) and Chet Stephens (6) also scored for the Fish.