Kylle Robertson learned a lot watching his older brother, Kenzie Robertson, play basketball at Bowman County High School in North Dakota.
“He was a good basketball player. He was more of a defensive type, but he played in a lot of big games,” said Kylle, a senior guard at Kamiakin High School.
Kenzie may not have scored as much as his younger brother does at 17.3 points a game, but he sure knew how to compete.
That’s what Kamiakin coach Brian Meneely believes sets the Braves’ senior apart in the Mid-Columbia Conference, which is loaded with talented guards.
“He gets asked to do so much, whether bringing the ball up the court, scoring or playing the high post, but his greatest attribute is his competitiveness,” Meneely said. “It might be ping-pong. This week it was bowling. We have an assistant coach who’s a pretty good bowler, and Kylle didn’t want to leave the lanes. He just wanted to play another game.”
Robertson will get a chance to play another game at 7:30 p.m. today, when Kamiakin (11-9) plays host to Mount Spokane (5-15) in a Class 3A District 5/8 elimination game. He’ll face off against Wildcats guard Stu Stiles, who finished second in the Greater Spokane League in scoring at 18 points a game.
“We want to force him to shoot quantity shots, not quality shots. We’ll just try to rotate on defense and help each other out a lot,” Robertson said. “We all work well together.”
Senior guard Tanner Holle and senior post Jim Fowler have both kicked up their game down the home stretch. Holle has been in double figures in each of the last six games, averaging 13.3 points during that stretch, while Fowler has been a stronger presence in the low block.
Meneely also praised the play of Kamiakin sophomore point guard Tre Joseph, who has helped keep the Braves offense on track while winning eight of its last 10 games.
“He’s played really well. He’s a sophomore who started all 20 games for us and gets us into our offense and breaks presses,” Meneely said. “Those role players who have continued to push their game has been the key to our season.”
Southridge (7-13) at Shadle Park (7-12), 8 p.m.: The Suns fell hard after starting out 4-0 in MCC play, losing nine of their next 10 league games. Southridge guards Daniel Getchell (15.4 ppg) and Gabe Vorheis (11.4 ppg) will try to get some momentum going against Bulldogs top scorers George Pilimai (12.1 ppg) and Skyler Kelley (10.8 ppg).
Rogers (6-14) at Kennewick (12-8), 7 p.m.: The Lions finished the regular season on a three-game win streak. Led by guards Mitchel Mueller (17.5 ppg) and Alex Garcia (10.1 ppg), Kennewick will face a Pirates team that has lost five of its last seven. Robert Rucker leads Rogers, scoring 13.1 points a game.
Hanford (6-15) at University (11-9), 8 p.m.: The Falcons and Kendall Watson (13.2 ppg) beat Sunnyside in a loser-out matchup but will be tested on the road against the Titans and Michael Isotalo’s 13.1 points a game.
Kennewick (4-16) at University (7-13), 6 p.m.: The Lions, led by Jayln Brasher-Norwood (10.7 ppg) and Zoey Garcia (9.2 ppg) lost their last eight regular-season games. They’ll face a tough test at University, which won its last two but could struggle against Brasher-Norwood in the post.
Mt. Spokane (7-13) at Kamiakin (14-6), 5:30 p.m.: The Braves won six in a row after a mid-season hitch and some early injuries. Behind Sira Toure (17.9 ppg) and Holly Ellison (11.4 ppg), Kamiakin should make easy work of the Wildcats, who have two strong scorers in Dallas Flager (12.5 ppg) and Ashlee Pedersen (12.2 ppg) but have also lost their last five games.
Hanford (11-9) at Shadle Park (7-13), 6 p.m.: The Falcons sagged down the stretch, losing four of their last five games. But they generally beat the teams they should beat, and Colette Gall (21.4 pgg) is one of the most unguardable players in the MCC and GSL. Shyla Carr (14.2 ppg) leads the Highlanders.
North Central (2-18) at Sunnyside (17-3), 6 p.m.: The Grizzlies are looking for their first state berth since 2002, while the Indians have lost nine in a row despite getting 16.9 points a game from Brianna King.