KENNEWICK -- You thought the first two matchups were good?
Check out today's game.
Hanford may be known for its nuclear power, but the energy generated in the main gym at Kamiakin High School could be enough to fuel one Kennewick school -- maybe even both -- deep into the Class 3A state playoffs.
Second-ranked Kamiakin will host to ninth-ranked Kennewick at 7 p.m. today to decide the Class 3A District 5/6 Tournament championship. The winner grabs the No. 1 seed into the regional round of the state tournament, which begins Friday, Feb. 24, at Art Dawald Gym in Richland.
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The loser will host Shadle Park -- the No. 2 seed from District 8 -- on Tuesday for one of three state berths shared by districts 5, 6 and 8.
"You have to enjoy the environment. We want to win, but with the whole week leading up to it, one of the coolest things is the way the city of Kennewick has rallied around these two teams," said Braves coach Brian Meneely, who led his team to a third-place finish at state last season. "At this stage, every next game you play is bigger than the last."
It's the third matchup between the two schools, which split their first two games, putting together impressive efforts in their home gyms.
The Braves won 63-49 on their home court Jan. 7, getting strong play from senior posts Justin Pedley (18 points) and Zach En'Wezoh (19 points,
10 rebounds). However, Kennewick responded with a 63-51 victory at the Lions' Den on Jan. 28, as Bryce Leavitt (17 points) and Domach Domach (18 points) combined for 35.
The Lions' win over the Braves certainly gave them a boost of confidence, but they know Kamiakin is highly ranked for a good reason. And the Braves' fan section is a big part of their success.
"We already know that gym is going to be crazy. There's probably going to be more fans than anyone's every played in front of," said Leavitt, named CBBN 3A MVP after averaging 19.3 points a game. "The biggest factor is focusing and ignoring all the hype, and just playing our game."
A top-notch defensive effort by Kamiakin limited Kennewick during its last visit. Lions coach Bradyn Leyde, the CBBN 3A coach of the year, expects more of the same.
"I'm sure they've looked at the tape and found some things they're going to be taking advantage of in terms of stopping us," Leyde said. "It's going to come down to whatever team makes the most defensive stops. There's really good players on both sides of the court."
(2) Kennewick (18-3) at (1) Kamiakin (20-1)
Last 10: Kamiakin -- 9-1. Kennewick -- 10-0.
Key players: Kamiakin -- P Justin Pedley (19.0), P Zach En'Wezoh (12.5), G Cooper Clyde (10.5), G Javan Williams (7.2). Kennewick -- G Bryce Leavitt (19.3), G Reggie Clinton (15.2), P Domach Domach (11.0), G Luiz Santiago (9.6).
(6) Southridge (8-15) at (4) West Valley (13-8), 7 p.m.
Last 10: Southridge -- 4-6. West Valley -- 7-3.
Key players: Southridge -- P Brad Scott (14.2), G Matt Mendenhall (13.7), G Nick Haberling (5.6). West Valley -- F Austin Strock (16.2), G Jalen Peake (9.4), G Tyler Cluff (9.4), F Jason Dresker (9.4).
Season series: West Valley sweep -- 61-56 on road, 66-57 at home.
Preview: Suns fought hard to get into playoffs and battled even harder to beat No. 3 seed Hanford last week. Mendenhall had averaged 18.6 points in five games before being held to 4 in loss to Kamiakin on Saturday. Rams have good, balanced scoring. Five players scored in double figures in two games against Southridge.
Winner will play No. 1 seed from District 8 on Friday.
(2) Richland (13-8) at (1) Davis (18-2), 7 p.m.
Last 10: Richland -- 7-3. Davis -- 9-1.
Key players: Richland -- G Adam Baker (13.5), G Tyrell Turner (12.1), G Payton Radliff (10.4), P Nathan Streufert (9.4). Davis -- G David Trimble (14.7), G Davonte Luckett (11.4), G Raymond Navarro (9.9), P Lavonte Allen (9.1).
Season series: Davis sweep -- 90-71 at home, 64-61 on road.
Preview: The Pirates hope to defend their District 5/6 tournament championship. The winner earns the top seed into the regional round of the 4A state tournament at Spokane Falls Community College and will face the No. 8 seed out of District 3/4 at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. The loser will play the Chiawana/Walla Walla winner Saturday for the right to play the District 8 No. 2 seed in a state play-in game.
Trimble, the CBBN 4A MVP, is an ever-present factor, scoring, defending or dishing off to teammates, but Allen has been especially effective inside against the Bombers over the last two years. Richland's guard play has been outstanding lately, with Baker and Turner combining for just under 30 points a game over their last 10 contests.
(5) Walla Walla (10-12) at (3) Chiawana (11-11), 5 p.m.
Last 10: Walla Walla -- 6-4. Chiawana -- 5-5.
Key players: Walla Walla -- G Josh Eggers (9.5), G Nick Peasley (9.2), G Tanner Cranor (7.3). Chiawana -- G Miquiyah Zamora (16.3), P Jordan Downing (13.3), G Zach Mendoza (9.8), P Alex Babinchuk (8.3).
Season series: Walla Walla sweep -- 59-56 on road, 76-54 at home.
Preview: Riverhawks have been befuddled by a tough Blue Devils squad led by Eggers and Ferenz. CBBN co-MVP Zamora has averaged 16 points against Wa-Hi over the last two seasons, and Mendoza is averaging 11.6 points over his last 5 games.
Winner will visit the Davis/Richland loser Saturday at 7 p.m.