Brian Meneely and Aaron Barcot each have something to do as high school basketball season nears mid-term.
Meneely saw his Kamiakin boys basketball team pull away in the second half on Tuesday night to win 70-49 at Richland in a showdown between two of the top teams in the Mid-Colombia Conference.
Meanwhile, Barcot’s Pasco women’s basketball team escaped Kennewick 66-47.
And while the Kamiakin Boys and Pasco Girls are at the top of their respective MCC rankings – and currently, among the best in all of Washington state – there’s still plenty of time left in the season.
As Meneely said, “It’s a six week race to the playoffs. Other teams will improve.
▪ In Kamiakin’s case, the Braves are now 6-0 in the MCC game (9-1 overall), and they made it into Tuesday’s game after an almost scary 74-72 win over Chiawana last Saturday. .
In that game, Kamiakin held what appeared to be an insurmountable halftime lead, only to see the Riverhawks rally to scoring the Braves 54-34 in the second half.
On Tuesday, Kamiakin led Richland 26-20.
“It was kind of a rock fight in the first half,” Meneely admitted. “There was a lot of emotion there. No one has played in front of such a crowd for a long time.
The key was that Kamiakin dominated Richland 44-29 in the second half, and the Braves had three players with double-doubles: Jacob Bilodeau had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Trey Arland added 17 points and 11 boards and Tyler Bilodeau, bound. to the State of Oregon. was 16 and 10.
It was the first time the Bilodeau brothers each had double-doubles in the game this season.
“Jacob is one of those kids who is kind of a grinder,” Meneely said. “He worked for hours on his game. I’m really happy for him. You could see it coming in practice.
The other problem for Richland – now 6-1 in MCC play (8-3 overall) – was his low percentage of shots from the ground. The Bombers were just 6 for 35 for the night, or 17%.
“We faced them hard, but we couldn’t shoot,” said Richland coach Earl Streufert. “(Sophomore Josh) Woodard was the only consistent goalscorer.”
Woodard finished with 27 points and 8 rebounds.
“I told them after the game that games like this expose your weaknesses,” Streufert added. “We have to find ways to execute a better offense and score basketball. Effort was not a problem but running against an experienced and talented team is key and we didn’t have that tonight.
▪ Meanwhile, Chiawana raised his record to 4-2 in the MCC game (7-3 overall) on Tuesday, beating Hermiston 104-60.
Riverhawks coach Chad Herron has only used seven players – one has covid, another has the flu, a third has strep throat and a fourth is injured.
But the seven who played all scored in double digits, led by Connor Mendez’s 22 points and Cash Callaway’s 20. Chiawana also passed Hermiston 43-18.
▪ Meneely also cautioned against Kennewick, who is 4-2 in the MCC and 5-4 overall.
“I think Kennewick is going to be a pain in the back this season,” Meneely said.
Lions coach Bradyn Leiden is just starting to put his squad of soccer players in basketball shape.
▪ The girls Pasco de Barcot are 5-0 in the MCC game and 8-0 overall.
The Bulldogs, ranked No.2 in the WIAA’s RPI for Class 4A, beat the teams with an average of 21 points per game.
Pasco has four players – four! – average in two-digit notation. The top three are seniors Mya Groce (19.1 points), Taija Mackey (14.5) and Taleya Maiden (12.5).
Junior Leanna Lepe is averaging 10.0 points.
Mackey is especially fun to watch, as she has always been a double-double machine with rebounds. I have witnessed his 20 rebounds in games over the years.
And in all fairness, I haven’t seen such a strong Pasco Girls’ team since the John Shimek teams of the late 1980s, with Debbie Sporcich, Kelly Fifer and sisters Tebay, Chanda and Kara.
That being said, Mike Brown’s Chiawana Riverhawks (5-1 MCC, 8-2 overall), Amy Westerfield’s Richland Bombers (5-2, 8-2) and startling coach’s surprising Hermiston Bulldogs Jay Ego year (4-2, 8-3) could have his say in the final standings.
▪ In fact, this week’s big game is Friday, when Pasco visits Chiawana at 5:45 pm.
It will be the first of two regular season clashes between the two schools.
The Bulldogs will also host Hermiston at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
Great weekend for Pasco.
▪ MCC boys’ basketball until January 11:
Kamiakin 6-0 MCC, 9-1 overall
Richland 6-1, 8-3
Chiawana 4-2, 7-3
Kennewick 4-2, 5-4
Hanford 2-3, 3-6
Southridge 2-4, 3-6
Walla Walla 1-4, 2-6
Hermiston 1-5, 1-11
Pasco 0-5, 0-9
Tuesday January 11: Chiawana 104, Hermiston 60; Hanford 69, Southridge 55; Kamiakin 70, Richland 49; Kennewick 67, Pasco 45.
Wednesday, January 12: Kennewick at Shadle Park, 6 p.m.
Friday, January 14 (all games at 7:30 p.m.): Kennewick at Hanford; Pasco in Chiawana; Southridge in Kamiakin; Walla Walla in Hermiston.
Saturday January 15: Hanford to Walla Walla, 5 p.m .; Hermiston at Pasco, 5 p.m.
▪ Ranking of MCC girls until January 11:
Pasco 5-0 MCC, 8-0 overall
Chiawana 5-1, 8-2
Richland 5-2, 8-2
Hermiston 4-2, 8-3
Kennewick 3-3, 5-4
Kamiakin 2-4, 6-4
Hanford 1-4, 5-4
Southridge 1-5, 4-5
Walla Walla 0-5, 1-8
Tuesday January 11: Chiawana 82, Hermiston 47; Hanford 55, Southridge 38, Pasco 66, Kennewick 47; Richland 74, Kamiakin 48; Walla Walla 52, Pendleton 48.
Friday, January 14 (all games at 5:45 p.m.): Kennewick to Hanford; Pasco in Chiawana; Southridge in Kamiakin; Walla Walla in Hermiston.
Saturday January 15: Hanford to Walla Walla, 3 p.m .; Hermiston at Pasco, 3:15 p.m.
Jeff Morrow is the former sports editor of the Tri-City Herald.