Basketball: State notebook Day 1

March 6, 2014 

TACOMA — In 1979, Kirk Williamson was the radio broadcaster for KALE, the station that broadcast Richland High football and basketball games.

Williamson had a unique courtside seat for that magical 1979 team that won 26 consecutive games and the last state boys basketball title for the Bombers.

The story that the Herald ran recently about that team spurred some anecdotes that Williamson was gracious enough to share.

• Phil Neill wore big, heavy wing tip shoes, and when he was really frustrated he would stomp the floor. Williamson called it the “foot cannon” on the air, because you could hear it throughout the gymnasium.

• When the Bombers were in trouble before halftime — which was rare in 1979 — they would go to the lockerroom and assistant coach Jim Castleberry would conjure up the “Ghosts of Bombers Past.” Castleberry won a state title in 1957 with the Bombers.

• Brian Kellerman had a fallaway shot that was unstoppable. He would shoot from deep in the right corner and land out of bounds. Defending it was a nightmare. As Williamson said, “Just think what they could have done if that had been a 3-point shot?”

• The Bombers beat Kennewick by 77 points in a district tournament game, and while the score should have made the game dreadful to watch, Williamson said it was great because it was an absolute clinic by Richland.

• At the time, Frank Murray was the voice of Pasco High on KONA. Williamson and Murray used to joke that Bombers fans would listen to Murray and Bulldogs fans to Williamson to make sure there were no slights being said about their favorite teams.

• There were fans in Lynnwood who knew exactly which lightpost to park under in the Safeway parking lot to hear KALE’s signal at night. They would listen and occasionally send notes or call in to Williamson.

STAR IN THE MAKING: Jessie Loera, the younger sister of Oregon star Jordan Loera, made her state tournament debut, leading Moses Lake to a 46-28 victory over Arlington.

Loera was just 1-for-7 from the field for five points, but she had five rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 30 minutes.

She also received high praise from Arlington coach Joe Marsh, who said she ran the game perfectly.

MORE THAN JUST OFFENSE: The top-ranked Rainier Beach boys showed they are more than just a team of offensive stars.

The Vikings held Shadle Park to nine field goals, including just two from inside the arc in a 74-46 victory.

The Highlanders reached the state tournament thanks to a fourth-quarter rally against Kennewick last Friday in a Class 3A regional in Spokane.

Louisville commit ShaqquanAaron had 14 points for the Vikings, while 6-foot-7 post Elijah Foster added 16 points and 13 rebounds.

ICE COLD: Five days after lighting up the Art Dawald Gymnasium nets, the Kentwood girls basketball team made just 5 of 17 3-pointers in a 71-44 loss to Lynnwood to open the state tournament.

Kentwood made eight 3s to stun Chiawana 65-55 in a Class 4A regional at Richland High on Saturday.

MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO: While the Bellevue girls basketball team was winning its first-round state basketball game against Sunnyside, coach Leah Krautter was a bit preoccupied.

Krautter gave birth to Emmett Payne at approximately 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. It was her first child.

Needless to say, she wasn’t at the game. But she was getting text updates from fans, and got a text with the final score from interim coach Noah Wulbert after the Wolverines completed the 66-58 victory.

WARMUPS? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING WARMUPS: Bellevue junior Mandy Steward had heard all about the shooting conditions at the Tacoma Dome and just how bad they were.

So when she struggled during warmups, she was a bit worried.

“It’s pretty brutal,” she said. “When we were warming up, I literally could not hit any shots. Once I hit my first one (in the game), I was like, ‘Wow, this isn’t that bad. I can keep doing it.’ ”

She hit shot after shot after shot, scoring a career-high 32 points.

UPSET CITY: Coming into the Class 4A boys tournament, three teams were on the tip of everyone’s tongues as far as state titles were concerned — Jackson, Garfield and Richland.

Well, someone forgot to tell Issaquah.

The Eagles stunned top-ranked Jackson 56-44 to advance to the semifinals and play rival Garfield at 7:15 p.m. tonight.

THINGS COULD GET UGLY: After Garfield beat Issaquah in the KingCo boys championship game, some unidentified Issaquah students posted photos on Facebook and Twitter of Garfield players and cheerleaders, including using racist language.

Multiple tweets were sent from Issaquah students using the “N” word and other derogatory language.

The unidentified students were disciplined according to a story on, KIRO Radio’s website.

Now, with Issaquah and Garfield set to play in today’s semifinals, things could get awfully tense in the Tacoma Dome.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER: Laura Stockton had a solid start to Gonzaga Prep’s state tournament, scoring 12 points, pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out six assists.

The Bullpups star led the defending champions to a 53-45 victory over Skyview.

STARS OF DAY 1: Inglemoor’s Deja Strother was the high scorer in the 4A girls tournament, pouring in 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. She also pulled down 18 rebounds, including nine offensive.

The Vikings lost 64-57 to Mount Rainier.

On the boys side, Eastside Catholic’s Mandrell Worthy scored 24 points in the Crusaders’ 53-39 victory over University High of Spokane.

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