KENNEWICK -- Redemption.
That's what Case Rada wanted for the Kamiakin boys basketball team in 2011.
After barely missing out on state in 2010, the 6-foot-3 senior guard wanted nothing more than a taste of the Tacoma Dome at tourney time.
Rada, the Tri-City Herald All-Area MVP, got that and more this season.
Along the way, Rada -- who led the team in points (13.7), assists and steals this year -- led the Braves to a sweep of the CBBN 3A league and district championships before earning league MVP honors. But the moment he had waited for the last four years came on March 3, when Kamiakin faced Seattle Prep in Tacoma in the 3A quarterfinals.
"I just wanted to get to the Dome once, but once we got there and played our first game, we saw we saw we could play with anybody in the state," said Rada, who earned first-team all-tournament honors after five state playoff games.
The Braves beat Prep but lost a heartbreaker in overtime to eventual state champion Lakes.
"It hurts. In a way, it's kind of nice losing to the team that won state," he said. "But we want that one back. I think we could have beat them."
Now that he has a break from basketball, Rada has some decisions to make about his future. He is undecided about where he will play in college, but he is confident it will be at the Division I level.
"I don't really know yet. My parents know the money situation," the three-year starter said. "I'm leaning towards D-I."
For now, though, he couldn't be happier playing golf for Kamiakin with fellow guard Riley Hayfield, who earned a trip to the 4A state golf championships in 2010.
"It's a lot more relaxing," Rada said. "I haven't been golfing for very long. Just a couple years."
But his recent round at the Hanford Invite at Tri-City Country Club last Thursday had Braves' basketball coach Brian Meneely in an uproar.
"That punk shot a 74! I was so mad. I had to call him in my room to yell at him," said Meneely, who earned Herald coach of the year honors. "He just doesn't know any better."
Meneely, who starred for Kennewick before moving on to play at Lewis-Clark State College, shares some common traits with Rada. Both were all-league guards for multiple years and both have a high competitive drive.
But Meneely couldn't have been more impressed by Rada. More than just the big shots he hit, it was the consistency of his senior captain that blew him away.
"He always got us into the offense every time down. When it's not there it's obvious, but he was always able to get us into what we were trying to do," Meneely said. "He sacrificed so much as far as scoring. If he only played the 2 or 3, the numbers he could have put up would have been staggering."
Meneely, a fifth-year coach, had the good fortune of guiding a core of seniors -- Garrett Anderson, Shad Fletcher, Hayfield, Tyler Holle and Rada -- that had played together for several seasons even before high school. The result was a talent-rich group that ultimately was driven by chemistry and trust.
"It was very satisfying. All the coaches put in a ton of time, and it's nice to get rewarded for that," Meneely said. "It was so nice to have that experience, because not many teams get to cut down the nets."
Rada and Holle were repeat selections on the All-Area first team. Holle averaged 13.3 points a game, including 25 in the quarterfinals against Seattle Prep.
The three other first-team selections -- Chiawna guard Justin Smith, Richland guard Grant Gallinger and Southridge post Derek Porter -- are making their all-area debut.
Smith earned his first all-area selection after finishing second in the CBBN 4A in scoring at 16.0 points a game and leading the Riverhawks to a share of their first league championship.
Gallinger led Richland in scoring at 14.0 points a game and was a driving force in the Bombers' late-season push into the CBBN 4A district championship game.
Porter finished fourth in the CBBN 3A in scoring at 16.5 points a game and helped the Suns reach state for the first time since 2007.
Coach -- Brian Meneely, Kamiakin
All-Area first team
MVP -- G Case Rada, sr. Kamiakin
G/F -- Grant Gallinger, sr. Richland
G -- Tyler Holle, jr., Kamiakin
C -- Derek Porter, sr., Southridge
G -- Justin Smith, sr., Chiawana
Calvin Douglas., sr., Richland
Matt Mendenhall, jr., Southridge
Bryce Leavitt, sr., Kennewick
Aaron Neary, sr., Hanford
Buddy Walter, sr., Chiawana
Kristian Carrasco, sr., Mabton
Matt Franz, sr., Moses Lake
Israel Manzo, sr., Sunnyside
Daniel Nielson, sr., Grandview
Jake Siefken, sr., Liberty Christian
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org