YAKIMA, Wash. — You won’t see an abundance of West Valley boys in today’s first set of Valley scoring leaders. Two, in fact, including one who barely makes it into double figures.
But where you will find the Rams is leading the CBBN and riding a seven-game win streak.
Defense still calls the shots in this game.
Since a loss at Kamiakin on Dec. 11 when most of the team was sick, West Valley charged through its first three league games with winning margins of 32, 13 and 33 points and is allowing just 36 points per game during its current run.
That might be a little surprising since the Rams watched three impact underclassmen depart the program after winning last year’s league title, including the leading scorer. Points may have exited, but defense didn’t.
“We knew what we had and what we were capable of defensively,” said coach Jon Kinloch. “We don’t have the type of guys who are flying all over, we don’t gamble, stay organized and force teams to shoot over our length and then rebound.”
Shooting over the Rams, who present obstacles of 6-3, 6-5, 6-6 and 7-1 in a disciplined zone, has been a frustrating pursuit. Teams are managing no better than 34% and West Valley’s tall timbers are gobbling up the boards. In three straight days at the Bend Holiday Hoopfest, the Rams allowed 34, 41 and 42 points.
Kinloch was naturally worried that on the third day, playing the host team on its home floor, the mojo might run thin. But instead the Rams bolted to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter.
“They’re not a big rah-rah group, they just know how to play together,” the coach said. “We have a very willing and balanced group and they work really hard at what we’re doing.”
During its win streak, West Valley (9-2) has an average winning margin of 27 points. Most of the starters are averaging 22 to 23 minutes, so scoring is muted a bit with Logan Kinloch (14.9) leading the way and Conner Turner (10.1) second. The Rams resume CBBN play on Saturday at Moses Lake, then have a “great barometer” week with Wenatchee and Davis on the schedule.
“It’s exciting how things are trending, but there’s still so much to do,” Kinloch said. “We’ve got to keep doing the things that got us here.”
Opt-up deadline moved
With a lengthy delay in getting the adjusted enrollment numbers released to schools, the WIAA extended the deadline for opt-up declarations from Friday to Jan. 15.
None of the free and reduced enrollment adjustments could be calculated until the WIAA had the overall state average, which turned out to be 47%. Schools didn’t see the official adjustments until Monday, so the WIAA did the wise thing by pushing the opt-up deadline.
With the numbers finally in hand, leagues are busy assessing all their options for the next four-year classification cycle, which starts this fall. After all opt-ups are received and appeals heard, the WIAA Executive Board will approve the new classifications on Jan. 26.
In the CBBN, the split is 4-3 with Davis, Moses Lake and Wenatchee above the 4A cutoff and Eisenhower, Sunnyside, Eastmont and West Valley below it. Davis’ socioeconomic adjustment came in at 1,314 — just above the 4A hard-count line of 1,300.
The league met on Wednesday to discuss options and will reconvene on Tuesday a day ahead of the new opt-up deadline.
As expected, Wapato, Toppenish and Quincy came in with adjusted 1A numbers. Wapato and Toppenish are headed to the SCAC while Quincy is still mulling whether or not to stay in the CWAC.
Meanwhile, schools from the SCAC and Caribou Trail leagues have met to discuss creating a big 1A league that could include up to 16 members.
Best of the best
With nine wrestlers ranked in the top 10, Toppenish sits atop this week’s all-classification state team rankings.
And if you needed any reminder that the Valley is the state’s premier region for prep wrestling, Granger ranks second with seven in the top 10. Sunnyside comes in sixth this week with six in the top 10.
The Valley has five No. 1s in Granger’s Oscar Alvarez (106), Abel Nava (126) and Gage Cook (220) and Toppenish’s Horacio Godinez (113) and Haiden Drury (132).
Drury remains unbeaten with a pair of big two-day invite titles — Zinkin in California just before Christmas and Gut Check in Kent last weekend.
After dispatching Othello (No. 4 2A) on Tuesday, the Wildcats will travel to Orting (No. 3 2A) for a dual next Wednesday.
With most teams having played half their regular seasons, the Valley has three teams that rank second in their respective state RPI rankings — Toppenish’s boys, Yakama Tribal’s boys and Ellensburg’s girls.
Toppenish is the state’s lone unbeaten 2A boys team at 10-0. The Wildcats will complete the first half of CWAC play on Friday at Quincy. Ellensburg is also 10-0 with five unbeatens among 2A girls, and the Bulldogs will wrap up their first half hosting Selah on Friday.
The RPI has proven capable of a few odd quirks, especially this early, and one example is the 1A boys. Zillah is third at 10-1 with the loss coming Tuesday on a buzzer-beater to Toppenish. Seattle Academy, which lost to Zillah in the SunDome last month, is No. 1.
It’s interesting to note that Chiawana’s boys, who opened with a 90-88 win at Davis, are 10-0 and No. 6 in 4A.
Lamb tabbed for Barden
La Salle football coach Cody Lamb has been named head coach of the East squad for the 26th annual Earl Barden Classic all-star game this summer.
One of Lamb’s assistants, Mike Vavricka, will join his East staff along with Omak’s Nick Sackmann and Ridgefield’s Scott Rice.
Burlington-Edison’s Herb Lehman will coach the West team in the game set for June 20 at East Valley.
From the note file
• Selah’s Noah Pepper and Yakama Tribal’s Bryce Strom, who have both topped 1,000 career points this season, were named WIAA athletes of the week for their respective classes this week. Strom’s brother Bryan and La Salle’s Kieran Kershaw reached the career milestone last season.
• Four more boys could reach 1,000 soon with Riverside Christian’s Levi Rivera (979), Toppenish’s Isaac Perez (950), La Salle’s Sahil Randhawa (949) and Prosser’s Haden Hicks (902) closing in. Rivera has a home game on Saturday against Wilson Creek.
• Davis has a new pair of coaches for the spring season with Jeff White taking over the fastpitch program and Jose Garcia returning as the head coach for boys and girls track and field.
• Chiawana football coach Steve Graff has retired after amassing a 203-59 record over 23 seasons. He won three state titles at Pasco and one at Chiawana.