When the Kamiakin boys basketball team plays Southridge at 7:30 p.m. today, there’s little doubt that senior guards Kylle Robertson and Daniel Getchell will play a major role in the outcome.
Robertson, a 6-foot-1 senior guard for the Braves, is fifth in the Mid-Columbia Conference in scoring with 16.3 points a game and has a penchant for keeping his team in games on both ends of the court.
“He’s such a great competitor and a huge motivator,” Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely said. “He’s had some games where he didn’t score a lot but we’ve still been able to feed off his competitive nature.”
Getchell, the Suns’ 5-11 senior guard, is sixth in the MCC in scoring at 15.9 points a game. A former defensive stopper, Getchell has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the league for his ability to score from anywhere on the court.
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Meneely and Southridge coach D.J. Traver couldn’t be more thrilled with their leading scorers. However, they wouldn’t be disappointed to see someone else step up for a change.
“We need to make sure not just Getchell is scoring. We have to get others involved,” Traver said.
With 228 points in 14 games this season, Robertson has accounted for a whopping 31.1 percent of Kamiakin’s scoring. Getchell, with 239 points in 15 games, has come up with 28.2 percent of Southridge’s total output.
The top scorer in the MCC — Payton Radliff of Richland — averages 19.6 points a game but takes a much smaller piece (22.5 percent) of his team’s total scoring output. Nathan Streufert and Jacob Devries, who both average 17.9 points a game, account for just over 20 percent apiece for the Bombers.
When Southridge went on the road to beat Kamiakin 58-47 earlier this month, they did it by holding Robertson to 12 points, while Getchell had the game of his life with 28 points.
Suns junior guard Nolan Molt played a major role on defense, shadowing Robertson virtually the whole game.
“Molt will probably get that job (again), but we’ll run our man (defense),” Traver said. “Kylle does a good job using screens and getting open.”
Even though the Suns (6-9 overall, 4-5 MCC) are at home this time, Traver knows the Braves (6-8, 4-4) will be looking to even the score.
“(Kamiakin) is playing better. It’s going to be a tough task. That’s a program that has been to the playoffs and had success,” Traver said. “We need a win right now. We’re one for our last five league games. Everybody makes the playoffs, so we’d like to be playing good when they come around.”
Meneely echoed Traver’s point that he wants his team to be prepared for the postseason instead of focusing on a short-term outcome.
“The biggest thing I told our kids is don’t be obsessed with the scoreboard,” Meneely said. “Just try to be more consistent in our habits and our play. The scoreboard will take care of itself.”
Even though neither team’s primary post player haven’t scored a lot this season — Southridge’s Brent Schafer averages 4.9 points a game, and Kamiakin’s Jim Fowler nets 3.9 — both will be key to their team’s success.
“Getting extra possessions and finding ways to score in the paint are going to be important,” Meneely said. “We also have to limit easy baskets around the hoop.”
Leon Wright-Jackson left a legacy of success at Pasco High School. Now the former Bulldogs three-sport star is back to help build up the Pasco athletic program.
Wright-Jackson played for the University of Nebraska and University of Hawaii after helping the 2003 Pasco football team win the Class 4A state championship. He stepped in last season as a football and track coach in hopes of passing on the lessons he learned as a player.
“We’ve been down the last few years. I want to come back and uplift them as best I can,” he said.
Now, with the Bulldogs basketball program in disarray, Wright-Jackson has stepped up again to aid his alma mater. When head coach Charlie Villanueva was placed on administrative leave last week, Wright-Jackson was asked to move up from coaching the ‘C’ team to the JV level, as well as accompany Mike Guajardo on the bench during varsity games.
“It’s been a tough week, but I’ve been there when we were down. You just have to keep building confidence,” he said. “We’re improving. It’s showing, slowly showing. They’re buying in, and I think we’ll be OK.”
Jack Millikin; 582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org