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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Cutthroat senior captain Zac Koffler (23) battles Mark Telford of Dietrich in a home game earlier this season. Koffler scored a season-high 22 points in a 19-point win over Carey Saturday. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Down to the wire, Cutthroats trim Tigers 51-50

Great games with Richfield are highlight

Let’s just say Community School sophomores Jimmy Fairchild and John Hayes should be attached at the hip until further notice—or as long as their Cutthroat boys’ basketball team keeps playing.

A matched pair, as different in looks as Mutt and Jeff but uncanny in their togetherness at crunch time, Fairchild and Hayes have given the Cutthroats a shot at only the second state basketball berth in 19 years of playing hoops.

Not once, but twice in four days, Fairchild and Hayes teamed up for the winning points in a matched pair of tremendously exciting Cutthroat wins over Richfield at the Northside 1A Sub-District tourney in Shoshone.

Last Thursday, Fairchild pulled down a rebound in a 49-49 tie and without hesitation charged up the floor—finally choosing the perfect time to dish off a pass to Hayes on the wing. Hayes made the layup with two seconds left for a 51-49 win. It was his only basket.

Monday night the #4-seeded Cutthroats (11-9) and #5-seeded Richfield Tigers (5-18) clashed for the fourth time this season. This time it was a Northside loser-out game with plenty at stake, a shot at a state tourney berth the biggest prize.

If last Thursday’s battle was close (seven ties and seven lead changes, the biggest lead seven points), Monday’s clash was even closer—seven ties and 11 lead changes. It came down to a wild shooting flurry in the final three minutes—and to the Fairchild and Hayes tandem.

Defending Northside champ Richfield, playing with pride, unbelievably erased a 12-point deficit in the final three minutes on the 3-point shooting of senior Cade Norman (21 points), who drilled three 3s in 39 seconds. Richfield grabbed a 50-49 lead on a Ben Fuchs basket with 17 seconds left.

That’s when Hayes broke the Richfield press in his own end and rifled a pass ahead to Fairchild, who made no mistake on the layup with 10 seconds left. A steal by Adrian Charbonnet at seven seconds preserved the 51-50 triumph.

Charbonnet (12.6 ppg, 15.8 in his last nine) finished with a 18 points and 9 rebounds including 12 points in the third quarter when coach Mike Wade’s Cutthroats took the initiative with great defense and smart offensive play.

Fairchild added 10 points and 3 assists, Josh Stanek (10.8 ppg) 13 points and 3 steals, Ethan Weston 6 points and 7 rebounds, Drew Detwiler 2 points and 5 assists, Zac Koffler 4 rebounds and Hayes 4 assists.

Wade said, "It’s very hard to beat a team four times, when teams are as closely matched as Richfield and ours. But we did that, starting with our double overtime win at Richfield before the tournament. We hustled, worked hard and just wanted to win."

Richfield led 22-21 at half-time Monday and pretty much shut down The Community Schools’ inside power game.

Wade said, "At half-time we made a couple of adjustments.

"Richfield had done a good job closing off our one-post offense. We went to a two-post offense in the second half and Richfield didn’t adjust, staying in its 2-3 zone. We also kept switching our defenses, from zone to man-to-man, and switched defensive assignments after half-time."

A 3-pointer by Josh Stanek (13 points, 3 steals) put the Cutthroats ahead 48-36 with 2:43 left. Richfield had yet to score in the fourth period. That’s when Norman caught fire. Suddenly it was 48-45, and Richfield’s defensive pressure caused two costly Cutthroat turnovers in the slowdown.

Richfield’s leading scorer Fuchs, playing sick, popped a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left cutting the lead to 49-48, then Fuchs made a steal and hit a two-pointer for Richfield’s first lead since Charbonnet took over the game in the third. Then the Hayes-to-Fairchild show kept the Cutthroats alive.

Wade’s streaking team, winners of seven of their last 10, met #3-seeded Dietrich (12-10) Tuesday in Shoshone—the winner earning an automatic state berth and the loser moving to play the Southside third-place finisher Feb. 21 in Murtaugh for the fifth state berth from the Fourth District.

It’s only the second time in school history that the Cutthroats have advanced this far, Wade said. "We’ve only been thumped twice this year, once by Shoshone and once by Dietrich. We’ll have to lift our game to beat Dietrich."

The Cutthroats lifted their game twice last week.

Against Richfield in the tournament opener Thursday, Charbonnet (9 rebounds) tallied 8 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter but the 3-point shooting of Fuchs (15 points) brought Richfield right back.

Stanek finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals; Fairfield 9 points and 5 boards; Koffler 4 points; Weston 2 points, 4 boards and 4 assists; Hayes 3 steals and 3 assists. The Cutthroats out-rebounded Richfield 31-21.

Friday night, Shoshone’s 29-14 second-quarter explosion guided the top-seeded Indians (16-6) to a 63-44 win over the Cutthroats. Stanek had 13 points and Charbonnet 10. Jackson Uhrig (15) led Shoney.

On Saturday, the Cutthroats enjoyed their second-best shooting night of the season in a 69-50 victory over Carey. "It was one of our best shooting games and we out-rebounded Carey," Wade said.

Senior captain Koffler (7.3 ppg) tallied 12 of his season-high 22 points in the first half and added 6 points in the decisive fourth period, when the Cutthroats outscored Carey 25-11. Stanek added 12 points, Weston 11, Charbonnet 8, Fairfield 6, Hayes 4, Ryan Drew 4 and Detwiler 2.

The Cutthroats ended their regular season with a hard-fought 51-50 loss at Carey Feb. 5. Fairchild tallied 8 of his team-high 13 points in the second and the Cutthroats led 27-21 at half-time but couldn’t hang on. Charbonnet added 12.

CUTTHROAT NOTES—Last Thursday’s last-second win over Richfield was the first time the Cutthroats have ever won their first Northside tournament game. Last year Carey whomped the Cutthroats 64-42 in the opener….The last time the Cutthroats beat Carey was also in the Northside tournament, a 63-52 loser-out victory Feb. 17, 1998 with junior Graham Snyder scoring 35 points. The Cutthroats went on to post their best record, 15-11, and made their only visit to the state basketball tourney. It was one of only six Cutthroat wins over Carey in the 50-game series incorporating varsity (Carey leads 16-4) and JV (Carey leads 28-2).


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