Matthew Kroner and Seth Schmidt each registered a double-double as the Chiawana High School boys basketball team beat visiting cross-town rival Pasco 60-42 on Tuesday.
Both teams entered this, their third MCC contest, with one win each, neither of them in conference play. But the Riverhawks (2-7, 1-2) dominated on the boards and at one point led by 28 points to pick up a comfortable victory.
“For us to be successful, we have to be really good on the boards,” Chiawana coach Chad Herron said. “I think one of our strengths is our post game, both offensively and defensively, and we’ll only get better as we go, because they’re both (Kroner and Schmidt) underclassmen.”
Chiawana’s front court scored and rebounded at will as Schmidt (a sophomore) finished with game-highs of 21 points and 15 boards, and Kroner (junior) had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Austin Penny added 13 points and had three steals.
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“Coach always says ‘inside-and-out,’ so we always want to try to get the ball inside, then me and Seth will do our best to find our shooting guards and point guards to hit open 3s,” Kroner said. “It’s always nice to get a double-double of course, score some points, but the team is first. For us to come out and play like we did tonight is nice.”
Chiawana came out excited to play in front of a mostly-full home crowd, 12 first-quarter points by Kroner to lead 19-7 after the opening period.
Pasco (1-6, 0-3) didn’t go away despite point trailing by 14 in the early going. It started the second quarter on an 8-4 mini-run and traded blows the rest of the way to trail 29-21 at halftime to make things feel competitive again.
But the Riverhawks began the second half in pretty much the same way they started the first, going on a 25-5 third-quarter run to put the game into cruise control the rest of the way.
“The kids I thought played with a better focus tonight,” Herron said. “We’d talked about that a lot the last couple of weeks. We’d show glimpses in games where we focus and we’re a pretty good ball club, and other times we’d show we’re a little bit inexperienced, and we don’t show the focus, and that’s where it gets ugly.”
The MCC’s second-leading scorer, Diego Gutierrez, had 13 points for Pasco before fouling out in the fourth quarter. He came in averaging 21 points per game.
“Diego’s a great player for them, and we decided we had to lock him down and make sure he doesn’t score as many as he usually does,” Kroner said.
A MISSING PIECE
Chiawana played its third straight game without senior guard Taylor Kroll, who rolled his ankle in practice Thursday. Herron is hoping to get him back for Thursday’s game at Kamiakin, but his status is still up in the air.
“He’s still hobbled a little bit. He did a good job of spraining that baby,” Herron said. “Sometimes those things take a little bit longer than we’d like because they linger and linger. He’s up and shooting, but not much movement.”
Kroll averaged more than 15 points a night in the nonconference preseason, but has yet to play an MCC game.
Both teams travel south of the Columbia River on Thursday in their final MCC games before the winter break, as Pasco goes to Southridge (lost its third straight against Richland on Tuesday) and Chiawana is at Kamiakin (won fourth in a row vs. Walla Walla). Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m.
PASCO: Millet, Diego Gutierrez 13, Tobon, Purdue 3, Davila 6, Gonzalez 3, Ortiz 3, Cuevas 3, N.Gutierrez 8, Tate 3. Totals: 12-36 13-18 42.
CHIAWANA: Cantu 2, Austin Penny 13, Lopez, Andelin, Henry, Matthew Kroner 20, Seth Schmidt 21, Harris, Phillips 3, DeWitt 1. Totals: 27-60 2-7 60.
Highlights — C, Kroner 10 reb; Schmidt 15 reb; Cooper DeWitt 4 ast; Penny 3 stl.