Boys basketball: Richland's best defense is its offense

January 10, 2013 

The Richland boys basketball team has been scoring a lot of points and having fun doing it.

What’s not so fun for Bombers coach Earl Streufert is watching his team take a powder on defense.

“We gave up 75 one night, 92 the other night. I don’t recall ever giving up 167 points on successive nights,” Streufert said. “If we’re making our shots, our best defense is a good offense.

“Spoken like a guy who just gave up 167 points.”

Even though the longtime Bombers coach might groan about points allowed, his team seems to have established an offensive pace with which it is comfortable.

Streufert is more than happy with his players’ willingness to distribute the wealth.

“I’m really pleased with our unselfishness. We’ve got a lot of guys who can score, and they’re trying to find open guys,” Streufert said a night after freshman guard Steven Beo scored a career-high

28 points in a road win at Walla Walla. “Nathan (Streufert) had a breakout game one night, and Payton Radliff scored 26 in that same game. Jacob DeVries starts a lot of games hitting three or four 3s. He’s got to be shooting like 70 percent (from the arc).”

Richland (8-3, 5-1) is averaging 70 points a game, more than six points ahead of Hanford (63.8), and despite giving up more than 62 points a game — the most by any Richland team since Streufert took over in 2000 — the Bombers still lead the Mid-Columbia Conference in point differential at plus-7.46.

Nate Streufert has set the tone for the offense, leading the team in scoring, but Beo, DeVries and Radliff can step up on any given night.

“(Beo) texted me after the Kennewick game (a 97-92 Richland win Jan. 4) and asked me how early the gym would be open Saturday morning,” coach Streufert said. “I told him around 6:30-7 a.m. He told me he wanted to get a bunch of shots up. He came out that night (in Walla Walla) and shot 9-of-14 with 4-of-7 3s.

“The ones he missed were good shots. He was dialed in pretty good.”

MCC point differential

Team Scored Allowed Diff

Richland 70 62.54 +7.46

Walla Walla 55.1 49.6 +5.5

Hanford 63.8 59 +4.8

Kamiakin 49.5 45 +4.5

Southridge 57.9 56.7 +1.2

Kennewick 58.3 62.75 -4.45

Pasco 58.4 66.7 -8.3

Chiawana 48.9 58.36 -9.46

Finding his groove at Southridge: D.J. Traver, who took the reins after Jason DeVere resigned after eight seasons as the Suns’ coach, is finding his rhythm at Southridge. The River View graduate and former Columbia (Burbank) coach won three of his first four games with the Suns.

Southridge hit a cold streak once league play began, losing its first four Mid-Columbia Conference games, but the Suns have won two in a row heading into tonight’s game at Richland (7:30 p.m., Art Dawald Gym).

“I’m enjoying it here. It’s fun to be in a new league,” Traver said. “I’m getting some help from some former players.”

Another bonus is that Traver finally gets to work with his father, Dennis, a former River View assistant under Roger Sonderland.

“He’s been at River View since 1994,” D.J. said. “It’s fun to work with my dad. He’s always been there to support me.”

Sunnyside coach takes leave of absence: Grizzlies coach Ron Rowe will step aside for the remainder of this season after health issues forced a hospital visit Thursday, Jan. 3.

Sunnyside assistant coach Ruben Fernandez will take over as interim head coach. It’s unknown whether Rowe will be able to return next season, and his absence definitely was felt during a 68-21 home loss to Eastmont the day after he was hospitalized.

Sunnyside athletic director Bill Daley chose not to comment on the specific nature of Rowe’s condition, but he said there was a lot of concern from Grizzlies players, coaches and staff.

“I think it was a struggle on Friday. (The news) came down so quickly,” Daley said. “We didn’t play well Friday, which was uncharacteristic of the boys program. But we have very good people leading our kids and our program. They’re going to work hard to keep things moving forward.”

Rowe coached at Sunnyside for five seasons from 1988-92 and returned in 2008.

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