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Wednesday, March 3, 2004


Cutthroats draw Kootenai in state debut

Enter as #4 seed from Fourth District

They’ve played well against the two teams considered the best in the Idaho 1A ranks—Raft River and Carey—so The Community School Cutthroats are feeling good entering this week’s State 1A tournament in Caldwell.

"We’ve got a great group and we’re feeling good about ourselves," said Cutthroat coach Mike Wade, who knows the correlation of winning your first game in the four-day, 16-team boys’ basketball tournament, and earning a coveted trophy at the state meet.

"If you win your first game, you’re in the championship bracket, where there are four trophies awarded among eight teams. If you lose your first game, there is only one trophy for eight remaining teams, and that goes to the consolation winner," he said.

The Cutthroats have been there before and are still seeking their first state tournament trophy.

In The Community School’s only other state appearance, in 1998, the Cutthroats went 2-2 for sixth place out of 18 teams. That year, they boasted their only first-team All-State player, 6-5 junior post Graham Snyder (18.2 ppg), who led all state tourney scorers with 85 points for a 21.3 ppg average.

At state in 1988, they won their opener 49-37 over Deary, lost to Rockland 65-45, beat Greenleaf Friends 63-42 and went home with a 70-67 overtime loss to Cascade (Snyder 30). Wilder (23-5) won that state championship 60-50 over Hagerman.

This year, the Cutthroats (19-5, 10-3 away from home) own the best record in school history. They’ve won 15 of their last 18 games and are averaging 60.7 points per game. And they’ve got a decent opening-round draw in First District champ Kootenai (8-11).

The Warriors from the northern Idaho town of Harrison started the season 1-5 but have come on strong with district tournament wins over Falls Christian, Lakeside and Mullan. Kootenai plays the Cutthroats today at 6:15 p.m. at Caldwell High School.

Last March, Kootenai went two-and-out at state, losing to Mackay 63-57 in the first round and to Genesee 60-52 in the loser bracket. The Warriors also went 0-2 in 2001 at state.

So the Cutthroats are hoping to beat Kootenai and move on to play the Genesee-Cascade winner Thursday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at Caldwell.

After playing in the bruising Fourth District, the Cutthroats should be ready for anything at state.

Last Thursday, for instance, The Community School lost a hard-fought 79-67 decision to the Raft River Trojans (22-1) during the Fourth District 1A finals at Murtaugh. The decision gave Raft River the third seed to state, and the Cutthroats settled for #4 seed.

"We learned we could play with the best team in the state," said Wade, referring to Raft River’s #1 ranking in the Idahosports.com poll entering this week’s State 1A tournament.

Senior Jimmy Fairchild (13.7 ppg) had a standout game against Raft River with 23 points (11 fourth quarter) plus 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. "Jimmy had one of his best games," said coach Wade.

Team captain John Hayes (17.3 ppg) added 19 points and 6 assists. Dylan McIlhenny, making a strong comeback from an ankle injury, helped out with 14 points.

It was close all the way, 33-33 at half-time, but Raft River’s 6-2 junior Braden Barrett tallied 10 of his game-high 26 points in the 26-12 Trojan third-quarter explosion. "Everybody was hot for Raft River. Position by position, we found it difficult to match up with them—just couldn’t get the right lineup out there," said Wade.

The Cutthroat defensive ace Luc McCann did most of the heavy lifting on Raft River scoring star Alex Nelson, the 6-1 senior who still ended up with 19 after a scoreless first period. Wade said, "Raft River just shot a great percentage in the third quarter.

"We came back to within five points in the fourth quarter, then Nelson made an off-balance 3-pointer with Luc in his face that pretty much wrapped it up for them."

Hayes, entering state with 416 points in 24 games, has a decent chance to overhaul Snyder (453 points in 25 games in 1997-98) and become the Sun Valley independent school’s single-season scoring leader, all time.

Raft River 79-67 over CSchool: Jimmy Fairchild 23 points, John Hayes 19, Dylan McIlhenny 14, Luc McCann 5, Andrew Durtschi 4, A.J. Beesley 2. Rebounds (32)—Fairchild 10, Durtschi 5, McCann 5, Logan Koffler 4, Hayes 4. Blocked shots—Fairchild 4,

Beesley 2. Assists—Hayes 6. Steals—Hayes 2. 3-pointers—Fairchild 3, Hayes 2, McCann 1, McIlhenny 1. FG—44%. FT—12-16. Opp FT—17-23.

CS season statistics (24 games): Offense—60.7 ppg. Defense—48.3 ppg. Free throws—CS 225-364 (62%). Opposition—202-369 (55%). Top season individual scorers—John Hayes 17.3 ppg, Jimmy Fairchild 13.7, Dylan McIlhenny 11.0, Luc McCann 6.5, Andrew Durtschi 5.1. 3-pointers (90)—Hayes 41, McCann 24, McIlhenny 14, Fairchild 7.



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