Josiah Hutt earned Harlan Carter MVP honors after scoring 21, 22 and 14 while leading Foothill to the tournament title. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)
It might have been a defining moment in his four-year varsity basketball career. Josiah Hutt, the unquestioned on-court leader of the Foothill Cougars, did not start Saturday’s championship game of the Harlan Carter Invitational. He and a teammate were late and for Cougars’ coach Bill Elliott, rules are rules.
But instead of pout or sulk, Hutt accepted his punishment, cheered on his teammates and then made the most of his opportunity once he hit the floor as he delivered a fourth-quarter dagger in Foothill 57-52 win over rival Shasta. His three-game run, in three prime-time games, earned him Harlan Carter MVP honors after scoring 14 in the title game, 22 against Enterprise in the semifinals and 21 in the opener against Washougal.
“He knows he made a mistake and didn’t start, but I watched him in warm ups and he was talking to the kids and that showed me a little maturity,” Elliott said.
Hutt’s always been a younger guy on his varsity teams – from his time at Liberty Christian to last year’s section-finals team with senior leaders like Thurman Knowles and Jonny Cruz – and hasn’t ever been forced into a leadership role. A self-described gym rat, Hutt is a guy who balls for the sheer love of the game.
“He’s a kid that could potentially play at the next level,” Elliott said. “He knows it, everyone knows it and we are going to rely on his floor leadership.”
Along with Hutt, Foothill landed three guys on the all-tournament team in Josiah Palumbo, Beckdoo Lewis and Luke Lindsey. Shasta’s all-tourney selections included JT Beasley, Caden Cushman and Caden Turner. Enterprise’s Khristian Clements earned all-tourney honors along with Vallejo’s Damon Folwer, Newport’s Justin Plechaty and Placer’s Max Petrenko.
But there can only be one tourney MVP and that was Hutt.
In crunch time, not only did the lanky senior pure a fourth-quarter 3-pointer to give the Cougars their first lead since the first half, but he was a monster on the defensive end as well, blocking a pair of Shasta shots that led to Foothill fast breaks.
“When you can execute in the heat of the battle, you gain the respect of your teammates,” Elliott said. “And he made some key blocks and rebounds, so it’s not just on one end.”
For his part, Hutt said the MVP honor is nice and a bit humbling, but “I just like to come out and play. It’s a place where everything else just disappears.”
Harlan Carter All Tournament Team
MVP – Josiah Hutt, Foothill
Beckdoo Lewis, Foothill
Luke Lindsey, Foothill
Josiah Palumbo, Foothill
JT Beasley, Shasta
Caden Cushman, Shasta
Caden Turner, Shasta
Khristian Clements, Enterprise
Damon Fowler, Vallejo
Justin Plechaty, Newport
Max Petrenko, Placer