The Community School boys’ basketball program has a new, homegrown head coach and a solid turnout of 20 players on varsity and junior varsity for the 2012-13 season.
It debuts Thursday, Nov. 29 with home games against the Murtaugh Red Devils at Sun Valley’s Fish Tank gym.
Boys’ JV action begins Thursday at 4:30 p.m. followed by the girls’ JV game at 6 p.m. and the boys’ varsity non-conference contest at 7:30 p.m.
First-year head coach is Mike Payne. Former Wood River High School basketball star Payne averaged 10.9 ppg as the senior co-captain for first-year coach Dick Richel’s 17-5 Wood River squad in 1981-82 that had a 15-game win streak.
He started his coaching career as an assistant for Cutthroat coach Ed Flory during the memorable 2009-10 campaign highlighted by a 13-8 record and crowd-pleasing talents of Senegal’s 6-10 Daniel Gomis.
Payne said, “My first opportunity coaching was in 2009, at TCS. Ed Flory brought me in to help. That’s when I got the coaching fever. Working with an athlete like Daniel Gomis was a rare treat.”
After spending the last two seasons as the head junior varsity coach at Wood River High, Payne is relishing the prospect of working with an enthusiastic group at the Community School—10 of his players returning from last winter.
The coach said, “We do have a solid roster, and a good number of kids excited to play the game. It’s a young team with great potential that is still trying to hit its basketball stride.
“We will have some growing pains to work through. I hope to use every game as a learning experience, to build as the season progresses.”
Last winter, the second for now-departed head coach Erik Olson (8-27), the Cutthroats made great strides with a 7-12 varsity record. It featured the program’s first district tournament win since 2008—a nine-game tourney skid that ended with a 55-50 win over Camas County behind a combined 49 points by seniors Henry Rickbeil and Will Brokaw.
All-Northside Conference honorable mention selections Brokaw (18.6 ppg) and Rickbeil (11.6 ppg, 17.3 ppg district tourney) will be missed. Next-best scorer returning from last year is junior Taylor Adler (8.9 ppg).
Payne said, “One of my key players, Taylor Adler, has had some knee problems and is just starting to get his mobility and fitness back.”
The coach added, “It’s tough to take over a program and build it from scratch. It takes some time. But these boys are catching on quickly.
“It’s a young team. I think we’ll have a few bumps along the way. We have a lot of work to do to catch up with some of the other basketball programs in our conference. But I think we’ll be competitive.”
Being competitive on the court is second nature to Payne, one of the valley’s best Outlaw League players well into his 40s and a leader on several Jivaro Headhunters Rec League champions.
He acknowledges he’s asking a lot of his players, but hopes the discipline will pay off this winter and into the future.
Payne said, “I have a complex offense that is going to take some time to learn, in full. Therefore I’ll be putting in some basic offensive sets and plays until we can learn the motion offense.
“Because of the complexity of this motion offense, I’m reaching out to my JV and middle school teams and coaches to help teach the kids some of the basic movement. So by the time they reach the varsity team, they’ll have the basic movement of the offense down and then I can refine their movements to take advantage of our strengths, and hide our weaknesses.
“Defense is simple. It’s the most important part of the game so we’ll be playing straight up, man-to-man. I’ll put in some zone, but we’ll rely mostly on tenacious defense to get us through tight games.”
After Thursday’s opener, the Cutthroat varsity continues its 17-game schedule Thursday, Dec. 6 at home with Bliss.
The team’s seven Northside Conference league games will begin Jan. 10 and include games against Carey, Camas County, Bliss, Castleford, Murtaugh, Lighthouse Christian and Richfield. The league tournament opens Feb. 11.
Here is the Community School roster:
Head coach, Mike Payne (1st year). Assistant coach, Connor Wade.
Seniors (2): Ken Cheng, 6-0 post; and Colton Sholtis, 6-2 post.
Juniors (7): Taylor Adler, 6-0 forward; Bobby Corker, 6-1 forward; Doug DuFur, 5-8 guard; Nick Krekow, 6-0 post; Reed Roudabush, 6-0 forward; Ben Swift, 5-9 forward; and Nick Wright, 5-11 forward.
Freshmen (1): Gunner Gibson, 5-8 guard.
Head coach, Mike Wade. Assistant coach, Connor Wade.
Sophomores (1): Peter Huo, 5-10 guard/forward.
Freshmen (9): Pierson Carlsen, 5-5 guard; Daniel DuFur, 5-7 guard; Alex Feldman, 6-1 post/forward; Evan Marks, 5-9 guard; Cole Miller, 5-11 post; Garrett Rawlings, 5-11 post/forward; Keegan Whitelaw, 5-7 guard; Colby Wright, 5-10 post; and Todd Yu, 5-7 guard.