Weep not for Lewis-Clark State coach Brandon Rinta.
Even though his Warriors got waxed 104-57 at Gonzaga last week, they’re unbeaten in NAIA play and are ranked 10th in the nation.
The No. 10 spot in NAIA Division I is the highest any LCSC men’s team has been ranked.
Rinta, the former Yakima Valley and Central Washington standout, is in his second season with the Lewiston, Idaho school. Last year the Warriors finished 16-13, but this time have bolted to a 10-0 start (the Gonzaga game was an exhibition).
The Warriors did not receive votes in preseason NAIA rankings and were projected to finish fourth in the Frontier Conference, which includes the University of Great Falls, Montana Tech, Westminster College (Salt Lake City), Montana Western, Rocky Mountain, Montana State-Northern and Carroll College.
At YVCC, Rinta resurrected a basketball career that had become stalled by a mysterious ailment in his shooting elbow. Undeterred, Rinta taught himself to shoot with his other hand and became a two-year standout for the Yaks, then followed with two more stellar seasons at Central.
On sophomore night at Sherar Gym, Dean Nicholson, who was co-coaching the Yaks with Leon Rice, said, “I have never coached a better competitor than Brandon Rinta.”