High School Sports

Richland feeds Mandy the scoring machine

RICHLAND -- Butch Machinal can still remember when his daughter, Mandy, was so small he had to lift her up so she could make a basket.

More recently, Butch and his daughter play one-on-one in the driveway of their Richland home. It generally doesn't end well for the father.

Nowadays, Butch is one of many who sit in the stands at Richland High and watch Mandy make basket after basket in one of the toughest leagues in the state.

"I wish I could say I whoop her, but I can't. She whoops on me," Butch said of their driveway games. "I tell you what, she has worked very hard for what she's gotten."

All that hard work has gotten Mandy Machinal a lot.

She's gotten a basketball scholarship to Montana Tech, a job at Energy Northwest -- nearly completing her AA degree before graduating high school -- a top three spot in the CBBN 4A scoring leaders and, most of all, it has helped Richland finally live up to expectations with a spot tied atop the standings.

"In the past, people always said we were good, but we never really played that way," Machinal said of her team. "I couldn't tell you (why it's different this year) -- we just decided to start playing.

"From Day 1 (of this season) it felt like it just flowed."

With new coach Jerry Riggs, who took over after Kristen Davis resigned, the Bombers have employed a higher-tempo, 3-point shooting machine that has dominated offensively.

Richland averages 58.7 points per game this season, while only losing once -- 55-38 to Chiawana on Jan. 7.

The two teams play at 7:30 p.m. today at Chiawana.

Machinal has been a big part of the offensive firepower for Richland.

After averaging 10.6 per game as a junior last season, she is averaging 17.1 per game this season.

"She is a natural scorer," Riggs said. "She has a knack for getting to the basket, finding the ball and putting herself into a scoring position."

Machinal said she always knew she could shoot, but didn't start to rely on her outside shot as much until this season playing under Riggs.

The 5-foot-7 wing can shoot 3-pointers with the best in the league and has a quick release that seems to take defenders by surprise.

While her offense is what she is most known for, it's her defense that Riggs noticed when he first saw her play three years ago.

"I went up and watched our girls play at Moses Lake," Riggs said. "I watched Mandy defend (Jordan Loera) one game. I remember being, 'Wow' watching her defend Loera. My preconception of Mandy Machinal was as a strong defensive player.

"Does she play great defense? Yeah. Are my expectations different because of what she has done offensively? Yeah."

Being such a complete player for the Bombers should draw accolades from throughout the region, yet when CBBN 4A girls basketball gets brought up, it's mainly Loera or Chiawana's Mikaela Rivard and Hayley Hodgins who are first mentioned.

None of that bothers Machinal or her coach, though.

"I kind of like the fact that no one knows who she is," Riggs said. "To me if she keeps doing what she's doing, we're good for the rest of the season.

"It would be nice if people would forget about her the next five games," Riggs chuckled.