TACOMA — Through the first 23 games of the season, Richland High’s Carson Miller was averaging 9.5 minutes a night.
The junior backup post tended to play when 6-foot-7 Nathan Streufert got into foul trouble and when the Bombers were blowing out their opponents, which happened a lot during the regular season.
On Thursday, during the Class 4A state quarterfinals, Miller hit his average minutes in the first half.
“He really stepped up these last couple of games,” Streufert said. “He’s given us great post defense and rebounding, and (Thursday) he got some scoring in which is nice.
“He is having a big postseason for sure and he is a key piece for us, especially when I get in foul trouble.”
Streufert got in a bit of foul trouble in the first half against Wenatchee and was struggling to shoot the ball. So in came Miller, who is a banger and was able to match the physical play of Wenatchee.
“He’s been a grinder for us,” Richland coach Earl Streufert said. “The last three or four weeks he’s been earning more time and it was a great time for him to be in there. He played good ‘D’, real good ‘D’.”
Miller had six rebounds in the first half and finished with four points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
“Carson came in and played completely within himself and within the realm of his role,” Earl Streufert said. “He did exactly what he was supposed to do — defend and rebound. I thought he got cheated on a couple of calls inside and got ticky-tack fouls, but gosh, he gave us great minutes and played his heart out, out there.”
HEARTBREAK HOTEL: The Moses Lake girls basketball team was poised to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament until Mt. Rainier’s Jordan McPhee took over.
McPhee, who is headed to Stanford next year, scored 24 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked eight shots.
She also hit a basket with 14 seconds left to give the Rams a 56-55 victory over the Chiefs.
Jessie Loera came out of a timeout and had a one-handed shot rim out. The ball was rebounded by a Chiefs player and on her putback attempt, she appeared to get fouled, but no call was given and it was game over.
Loera, the younger sister of former Chiefs star and University of Oregon guard Jordan Loera, poured in 23 points, had five assists, four rebounds and seven steals. Makenna Walker added 24 points and eight rebounds.
TEAM WORK: Louisiville commit Shaqquan Aaron scored all of two points in the Class 3A semifinals, but it didn’t matter as his Rainier Beach Vikings pulled away in the third quarter to top Bellevue 73-61.
Elijah Foster and UW commit David Crisp scored 18 each.
TRIPLE DOUBLE: Inglemoor’s Deja Strother, a 6-foot-4 junior, recorded a ridiculous triple-double in her team’s 46-23 victory over Arlington in a consolation game, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking 12 shots.
The 12 blocks ties a tournament record. She shot 6-of-11 from the field, which makes her 17-of-26 for the tournament.
PACKING THE STANDS: Apparently, referees for state tournament games don’t find out their assignments for the next day until after all of the previous day’s games are completed.
So, if you see a large group of men and women wearing stripes sitting in the stands, watching the 9 p.m. games, don’t be alarmed.
BACK TO SPOKANE: It was a quick weekend for the Greater Spokane League’s 3A boys schools, as University High and Shadle Park both went two-and-out.
O’Dea eliminated University with a 47-45 victory early Friday morning, behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from Jacob Lampkin.
Stanwood eliminated Shadle Park 66-54 behind 21 points and 12 rebounds by Drew Stang.
SPREADING THE BALL AROUND: The University High girls team, which upset Kamiakin in a regional playoff last weekend, knocked off Mercer Island 48-41 to remain alive in the consolation bracket.
And they did so despite not having a player score more than eight points. Ten players scored for the Titans, with Kaitlin Pannell’s eight being the leader.
TWO IN A ROW?: The Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team kept alive its hopes of a second consecutive state title with a 61-56 victory over Lynnwood in a Class 4A semifinal.
Otiona Gildon had 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Bullpups.
The game was played at such a high level that it was praised on press row as the best girls game of the year so far.
DISASTER AVERTED: The No. 1 Jackson boys basketball team was in serious danger of going two-and-out at the Class 4A tournament, but a second-half rally spurred the Timberwolves to a 61-57 overtime victory over Kentridge.
Jackson lost to Issaquah in the quarterfinals and trailed 28-19 at halftime against the Chargers on Friday.
Jason Todd, one of the state’s best players, went for 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.