In this article we will breakdown all the teams in the Mid Columbia Conference.
Coach Chad Herrron is in a bit of a transition year. Gone from last year are school founders and do everything athletes Miquiyah Zamora and Jordan Downing. This years team has some good talent and can be fun to watch, but they are not of the caliber of years past. The best player on the team in my opinion is Wesley Henderson, a 5'10 player made post due to his ability to establish position and use his physical gifts to bang with the big boys. Henderson has some good moves in the post and is an excellent rebounder, He also has a decent mid-to-long range jumpshot and is the leading scorer for the Riverhawks. Aaric Wrenn has picked up most of the scoring slack and Jesse Briones can ignite for a scoring output from time to time. A decent young crop of players awaits including Freshman Cayden Cazier and physical specimen in Sophomore Christian Penny.
The Bulldogs may have turned the corner this year in terms of talent and confidence. Julian Figuroa is a talented scorer from the guard position along with Senior Miguel Torres. The Bulldogs are once again an athletic bunch with Efrain Cardoza, DeDrain Miller, and Brown. With some big wins under their belt including Hanford and Walla Walla, the 'dogs are on the brink of a playoff berth., that would do wonders for Coach Charlie Villanueva's program.
The Lions have had a tough year, their 2-9 conference record is not indicative of the talent they posses. The biggest issue facing the Lions is lack of interior play to pair with 2 of the better guards around in Junior Mitchell Mueller and Sophomore John Wuohl. With 2 more years to go John Wuol could be off the charts in terms of potential development. With not much height in the underclass ranks the Lions need to build for speed, athleticism, and defense. Coach Leyde may do just that while hoping for more diamonds in the rough like Wuol.
The Braves are pretty deep as far as guard play, the problem is they are a team of guards The loss of Senior Javan Williams will be a big blow to their chances at a deep run in a very talented 3A classification state wide. At times the Braves can have trouble scoring, having topped 60 pts just once this year; the flip-side is they have not give up more 60 pts in a single game this year. Don't feel too bad for the Braves as they have still managed to go 14-3 so far with 1 conference loss to rival Kennewick on Tuesday. The Braves have the toughest schedule remaining with Walla Walla and Richland on the road before finishing with Hanford at home. The Braves will look for someone besides Cooper Clyde (best guard in the league by the way) to step up and fill that #2 scoring spot night in and night out.
On paper, the Falcons have all the ingredients to make a deep run: Height, athleticism, and Senior leadership, what they lack may be the battle tested experience to get them through what will be a tough regional bracket. The Falcons are tough at guard with Senior Jalen Devine at gritty as they come, distributor Jalen Watson at the point, Solid post Nick Dobken, and all-world talent in 6'4" Joe Douglas, toss in athletic players Matt Jones and Brennan Sutey and you've got one heck of a senior class. Big wins recently over Richland on the road and Walla Walla at home are good signs for Hanford. If they use the confidence of those wins and can maybe pull off a win to end the regular season at Kamiakin and that may just propel the Falcons to State.
The Bombers seem to always put a consistent product out on the floor, plus the Richland heritage pumps confidence into each successive wave of underclassmen. Speaking of underclassmen this years Bombers are powered by them; Jr's Payton Radliff and Nathan Streufert lead in scoring most nights, while Jacob DeVries can jump in the scoring column on any particular night. Freshman Steven Beo a 6'2" guard is a deadly shooter and may be one of the better guards in the history of the program by the time it is all said and done. With all this talk of the underclassmen, the Seniors will be the difference if Richland is to make a State Playoff run. Mason Hilty, Levi Broeski, and Spencer Wheeler comprise most of the 'muscle' to this unit. The senior players must help steady the ship when things get rocky, and they will having to get thru the GSL in order to gain passage to the promised land of Tacoma.
The Suns are a sleeper pick to slide into the playoffs if all the pieces can come together at the right time. They have a talented backcourt of Nick Haberling and David Mazzei. Mazzie sustained an injury in their loss to Kamiakin and we do not have an updated status as of this article. The Suns only have 2 underclassmen on the roster (guard Daniel Getchell and 6'4" post Brent Schafer both Juniors). Austin Molt, Spencer Vorheis, and Bosco Lopia key the paint presence for the Suns unit, while Nick Mandell comes off the bench to provide additional outside leadership. This may be a case of a new coach learning his players and the MCC at the same time. The Suns have been in most every game theyv'e played this year, if they affirm their identity by playing scrappy, shooting well from the outside and hitting the boards they could be a surprise upset pick heading into districts.
The Blue Devils have bee deceptive; they've stayed around the middle of the pack in the MCC, some nights they look spectacular others nights just so-so. Tanner Cranor seems to be the reason for off again/on again play hitting for 30 one night and then disappearing the next. Junior Guard Eric Klicker is the heir apparent leader of the team along with classmate Gabe Porter the backcourt is in good hands for next year. Wa-hi is one of the few teams with size in their underclass with 7 players over 6'3" as underclassmen on Varsity or JV and a pair of 6'6" twin sophomores on the C-squad. If the Blue devils develop that talent look out!