High School Sports

Boys notebook: Southridge puts in full day's work

KENNEWICK -- MTV knows training its cameras around high school sports programs can make for good television.

Two seasons worth of Two-a-Days gave everybody a brief look into the world of a championship high school football program in Hoover, Ala.

The Southridge High School basketball program might make a good candidate for a new show centered around a talented program with barely any depth.

They could call it Eight Isn't Enough.

Except in Suns coach Jason DeVere's case, it just might be.

With returning all-CBBN players Matt Mendenhall and Derek Porter, and role players such as Dallin Palmer and Brad Scott making significant contributions, Southridge is within reach of capturing a first-round bye in the CBBN 3A district playoffs in February.

But it's difficult to imagine a full roster of just eight varsity players was part of DeVere's plan when he started this winter.

"That's just the way things panned out. It's unfortunate," DeVere said. "We've got probably 10 guys on JV. We tried to get some of them ready, but they're just not there yet.

"Instead of letting them come up to varsity and just sit, they needed to play."

So far, that decision seems to be the right one. The Suns are one of the best-conditioned teams in the league, and starters Dallas Jones, Mendenhall, Palmer, Porter and Scott have been able to handle the multitude of minutes they get per game.

The problem that arises is when one of the starting five gets into foul trouble.

In a 49-47 home win over Hanford two weeks ago, DeVere's worst nightmare started taking shape when Palmer and Scott each drew two fouls within the first five minutes of the game. Rather than risk them drawing another early foul, DeVere went to his bench earlier than usual.

But that can change the floor dynamic, too.

"Some guys, when they get two early fouls, you don't bring them back in (until after the half). The score and momentum will dictate that," said DeVere, who did just that, keeping both players out until the third quarter. "It's not an ideal situation, but it is what it is."

This isn't the first time DeVere has had limited options off the bench. He said the 2007 team that finished sixth at state also used a tight rotation that included Travis Mattair, Jason Munns and Andrew Mendenhall, Matt's older brother.

"We had 10 players on that team, but we probably only played seven guys," DeVere said.

-- Walla Walla (6-7, 3-3 CBBN 4A) travels to Richland (10-4, 3-3) at 7:30 p.m. today in a matchup that pits Bombers coach Earl Streufert against his alma mater. It also could prove critical to playoff standings. The winner will grab sole possession of third place in the CBBN 4A with six league games remaining. The third and fourth seeds get first-round home games at districts.

The Bombers have won three of their last four, but the Blue Devils -- playing their fourth consecutive road game -- have dropped four of five.

w Liberty Christian (6-6, 3-2 Southeast 2B) travels to eighth-ranked Waitsburg-Prescott (10-1, 5-0) in a battle of top 2B area teams. Guard Jake Siefken leads the Patriots, who reached the 2B state championship game last season, losing to Pe Ell. W-P is looking for a return trip to state, the first back-to-back trip for either school since Waitsburg reached the 2B tourney in 1983-84.