Leading scorer Taylor Adler provided a monster game and a Hollywood finish for the Community School boys’ varsity basketball team Monday thrilling the home fans at the Fish Tank in Sun Valley.
After an inbounds pass from Keegan Whitelaw with four seconds on the clock, Adler drilled home an NBA-style 3-pointer from about 25 feet with less than a second left giving the Cutthroats a 57-55 win over the Jackpot (Nev.) Jaguars.
It was nothing but net.
The shot capped a career-best 36-point game for Adler (16.1 ppg). The senior guard and four-year varsity player finished with four 3-pointers and a double-double with 11 rebounds. He scored 17 points in the first half and 19 after half—making 15 field goals with a variety of drives to the hoop and outside swishes.
His winning shot was also a relief for Cutthroat coach Mike Payne, who was running out of time and available players. Two Cutthroats had fouled out during a hectic fourth period that had seven ties and seven lead changes. For the final 3:40, Payne had the minimum of five players.
Jackpot’s 6-4 senior Darren Hester, who Adler was guarding on defense, had put the Jaguars ahead 55-54 making a tough bank shot in traffic after a Jaguar inbounds pass under the hoop with 12 seconds left.
After a time out, Adler took matters into his own hands, just as he did at the end of the first half when he single-handedly scored eight straight points in the final minute erasing the biggest Jaguar lead of the game—10—and slicing the Cutthroat deficit to 22-20.
Payne, concerned that the Cutthroats were missing easy shots and not playing aggressively in the first half after a 12-day layoff, told his players at halftime that better penetration and better team defense would turn things around after intermission.
The Cutthroats took the advice to heart and provided more help for Adler, who had scored 17 of the team’s 20 points in the first two periods.
Sophomore Garrett Rawlings tallied seven points with three steals in the third quarter and sparked the team defense that yanked down 11 rebounds in the first six minutes of the stanza. Adler’s 17-foot jumper with 3:20 left gave the Cutthroats their first lead of the game at 28-26.
Rawlings (7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block) picked up his fourth personal foul with 13 seconds left in the third quarter. But the 13-7 Cutthroat surge that was kick-started by going hard to the boards eventually gave the home team its biggest lead, 39-33 with 6:53 left in the fourth.
Hester (20 points, 23 rebounds, 2 steals) rallied the Jags with nine points in the fourth and got help from senior Eduardo Flores (15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals), who added 10 points in the final quarter including two 3s.
But Adler was equally determined and buried 15 points in the fourth period alone.
Sophomore Daniel DuFur (4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals) pulled down an offensive rebound and nailed a 15-foot jumper for a 49-49 tie. Adler made an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 52-51 Cutthroat lead. He scored again lifting the Fish to a 54-53 lead at 1:03.
After Hester’s strong inside move put the Jags ahead once again, Adler saved his long-distance heroics for the final moment—a rainbow from a seemingly impossible distance.
Other Cutthroat contributors were Reed Roudabush (5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block), Doug DuFur (3 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists), Alex Feldman (4 boards, 1 assist, 1 block) and Keegan Whitelaw (2 points, 2 boards).
Another Jaguar senior, Jonathan Martinez, finished with 13 points.
With his big scoring effort, Adler moved past Spencer Harris and into fifth place on the all-time Cutthroat scoring list. Adler has 650 points in 63 Cutthroat games (10.3 ppg), while Harris had 640.
Up ahead in school annals as Adler’s senior season winds down are Graham Snyder with 675 points and an 18.8 ppg average (1997-99), Jimmy Fairchild with 698 points in 67 games through 2004, and Mac Whittington with 802 points (14.3 ppg) from 2006-08.
The all-time leading scorer is John Hayes with 901 points in 71 games ending his 2003-04 senior season with the 21-7 Cutthroat squad that placed fifth in the state tournament.
Adler’s previous single-game best was 26 points as a freshman leading the Cutthroats past host Magic Valley Christian 44-33. He scored 23 twice this season. Adler’s 36 was the best by a Cutthroat since senior Will Brokaw (18.6 ppg) buried 39 including 10 3-pointers in a 70-50 win at Riverstone in Boise.
Payne’s Cutthroats wrap up their home season with “Senior Night” today, Wednesday against Richfield’s Tigers (9-9, 5-2 league) at the Fish Tank. The Northside Conference league games begin with a junior varsity contest at 6 p.m. followed by the 7:30 p.m. varsity game.
Host Richfield defeated the Cutthroats 40-20 Jan. 30 in a non-conference game.
The Cutthroats (5-9, 2-5 league) travel to Camas County Friday, Feb. 14 for the regular-season finale in Fairfield. Game times are 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday. That is a non-conference game.
This week’s games will finalize the seedings for the Northside Conference 1A Division 2 tournament starting Tuesday, Feb. 18 with an eighth- and ninth-place play-in game. The Cutthroats are shooting for the sixth or seventh seed in the tournament.
First place will be settled Friday, Feb. 14 when the Carey Panthers (11-8, 7-0 league) host the defending league champion Dietrich Blue Devils 15-3, 7-0) on the Carey floor.
Carey is hoping to have the services of junior guard Nate Adamson for the showdown. Adamson has missed the last four games with sickness including Carey’s 56-48 loss at Hagerman Saturday. Matt Whirtworth scored 23 points and Joe Parke 18 for Carey in that non-conference clash.