KENNEWICK -- With power comes responsibility, but it's not always a package deal.
Some folks forget to factor in the greater good.
When Kamiakin senior Case Rada was named CBBN 3A boys basketball player of the year, some people wondered how a player who averaged 13.1 points a game could be the MVP.
After all, six CBBN 3A players had better scoring averages, and Rada's season high of 23 points was eclipsed 20 times by nine different players.
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Here's why: Rada has enough star power to give himself a banner headline every night, but instead he chooses to make his teammates better.
That way, they can all enjoy the ride.
Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Rada earned a spot on the CBBN 3A all-defensive team, too.
"After a game, the kids in school all want to know two things: Did you win and how many points did you score?," Braves coach Brian Meneely said. "We've had success because nobody cares who gets the credit. They just want to win."
Rada was the victim of a rather unforgiving rim at this time last season. He had three shots from close range with just seconds left in a winner-to-state 4A regional matchup against Mead, but none of them dropped.
"I kind of took it as whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger," said Rada, who bounced back with his best season yet. "It feels good to get MVP, but I couldn't do it without my teammates."
The 6-foot-2 guard has been a focal point, for sure, but he is one part of a dedicated core of Kamiakin seniors -- Garrett Anderson, Shad Fletcher, Riley Hayfield, Tyler Holle and Rada -- who have paved the way to what, so far, has been a dream season. Kamiakin (21-1) swept the CBBN 3A league and district titles and reached state for the first time since 2000.
The Braves will play North Central (10-11) at 8:30 p.m. today at Spokane Falls Community College for spot in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Most of the seniors have been starters since their sophomore season, and Hayfield has been the league's best 3-point threat for at least the last two seasons.
"We've played together forever. We've had the same chemistry since third grade," said Hayfield, who has averaged 7.1 points as Kamiakin's sixth man. "Back then, me and Shad used to think it would be so easy to win state. Obviously, it's not like that.
"The main thing is taking it one step at a time."
Each player has his role. Tyler Holle (13.0 points per game) provides scoring along with Rada, Fletcher is a shutdown defender and Anderson takes the most pride in setting the stage for other players with his physical play and rebounding.
Heading into Friday's game, Anderson needs 28 rebounds to become Kamiakin's all-time leading rebounder. Mike Borsheim is currently No. 1 with 578.
"My favorite thing to do has been to set high screens against (Eastmont guard) Trea Thomas," Anderson said. "He'll go up to get Case. Then Case will run off and I'll lay him out."
Fletcher has shown flashes of scoring prowess -- he had a career-high 25 in a win over Richland as a sophomore -- but as a senior emerged as the league's defensive MVP. He said it wasn't easy taking the emphasis off scoring, but found that once Meneely's team concept took hold, the team found it's rhythm.
"Every single night, it could be somebody new," said Fletcher, who along with Holle was a standout football player during Kamiakin's memorable run to the 3A state championship game against Bellevue.
Holle had a blast in football, but as a rule, football is more specialized and doesn't offer the camaraderie of a 12-man basketball team.
"In football, you get to know guys at your position. You don't get to spend a lot of time as a team," said Holle, an all-CBBN receiver. "Everybody on the (basketball) team works together really well."
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org