Category: General News

Jan. 19 games postponed due to weather

Most boys and girls games scheduled for January 19 have been postponed due to inclement weather conditions. Make-up dates will be announced soon after mutual agreement by the schools involved in the contest.

As of 10pm on Jan. 18, the postponed games are: Kennewick at Chiawana, Kamiakin at Southridge and Richland at Hanford.

The latest on the players closing on 1,000


It will be a busy start to 2024 with five more players knocking on the door of 1,000 career points. The five would be in addition to Malia Ruud, Haylee Johnson, Madison Reibel and Peter Dress who already have broken the barrier this season. That could mean as many as nine players conference would achieve the milestone this season, which would be the most in the history of the Mid-Columbia Conference history in a single season.

Here is an update on where the players I’m tracking currently stand in the race to 1,000. Girls point totals are through Jan. 5 games. Boys point totals are through Jan. 2 games.


Southridge’s Jesse Tijerina (senior) should make the mark in the next eight games or so with his 19.5 points per game average. As on Jan. 2, he has 858 points and would be the first Southridge boys player to reach four figures since Tristan Smith in 2020.


Hermiston’s Izzy Simmons (junior) will be the first player to reach 1,000 in the new year. Through Jan. 5 games, she sits at 996 points, needing just four to break into four figures. The Bulldogs play on Jan. 6 hosting Chiawana. Simmons averages 18.22 points per game and just set a career and school record with 40 points in Hermiston’s win over Hanford.

Senior Macie Milum has 948 points to her credit and is racing to score the 52 points needed to reach 1k. Milum is averaging 13.5 points per game and should break the mark in the middle of the month.

Hanford’s leading scorer Lynnea Moran is at 914 points after setting an individual school record with 36 points at Hermiston on Jan. 2. She needs 86 points to join her sister Iliana Moran in the school’s 1,000-point club.

Finally, Kamiakin’s Nicole Wertenberger should reach the mark near the end of the regular season or just as the post season gets underway. The Braves’ leading scorer sits at 817 points, but is averaging 19.55 per game, including several games recently of 22-30 points. If she can continue at that pace, she’ll reach the milestone in February.

Peter Dress breaks 1,000-point mark


Kamiakin’s Peter Dress broke the 1,000-point mark on January 2, becoming the latest MCC player to achieve the milestone.

Dress — the conference’s leading scorer on the boys side — scored the thousandth point at the free throw line. He finished the game with 32 points to lead all scorers.

In a COVID-shortened season in 2020-21, Dress managed just 57 points, but netted 245 his sophomore season and collected 465 his junior season. He notched a career-high 40 points earlier this season at Chiawana, including seven 3-pointers. He followed with a 38-point outing at Hermiston three days later and finished with 36 points against Skyview to close out 2023.

Dress is committed to play basketball at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

Johnson will be the next to reach 1,000 points


Kennewick’s Haylee Johnson will be the next player to reach 1,000 career points this season.

She is poised to do it when the Lions travel to Moses Lake to face Issaquah in a non-conference contest on December 29. Game time is 1:45pm.

The game is part of the Moses Lake holiday mixer it is hosting over the winter break.

Going into the game, Johnson is at 993 points for her career. She scored 92 points during a COVID-shortened season her freshman year, but amassed 344 points during her sophomore season followed by 411 points during her junior season last year. She currently is the fourth leading conference scorer with 146 points and is averaging 18.25 points per game.

She has committed to Eastern Oregon University for basketball and track.

She follows Chiawana’s Malia Ruud who was the first player to reach the milestone earlier this season and Walla Walla’s Madison Reibel, who combined with her points from her previous high school in Phoenix, Ariz., reached four-figures during its tournament in Wenatchee just before Christmas.

At least three other players should also make it to 1,000 points in the second half of the 2023-24 season: Izzy Simmons (Hermiston, currently at 956), Macie Milum (Richland, currently at 879) and Lynnea Moran (Hanford, currently at 862). Depending on how deep Kamiakin goes in the playoffs, Nicole Wertenberger may also reach the mark (currently at 778).

The race to 1,000 is on. Several girls will make it this season.


There are several players on both the boys and girls side of the conference which will reach the 1,000 career point milestone over the coming weeks. It should be quite the season of celebrations, starting on December 12. All of the point totals noted below are through games played on December 9.


Ruud, a junior, needs just three points to reach the milestone. She should achieve the mark during the Riverhawks’ game at Ellensburg on December 12. Ruud tallied 482 points her freshmen season and 432 during her sophomore campaign. Her career high mark was set during her freshman season when she racked up 38 points in a game.


Johnson, a senior, should be the next player in line to reach 1,000. She currently has 926 points for her career and based on her current average, she will need about four games to reach the benchmark. That might be the Lewis & Clark game in Spokane — the Lions’ final game of 2023 and a great way to close out the year.


The Bulldogs junior standout currently sits at 877 points and should reach the milestone in mid January.


Back from a torn ACL she suffered in the playoffs last season, Milum hasn’t slowed down at all and sits at 841 career points and should also reach her thousandth point in mid January.


While the Falcons’ leading scorer sits at 803 points, she still could reach 1,000. She netted 251 points her sophomore season and and 347 last year. As the #2 conference scorer, she should be able to join the elite club just before playoffs.

November 30 game highlights




Hanford rallied from a 42-19 halftime deficit to outscore visiting Eastmont in the second half and earn the non-conference victory and the Falcons’ first win of the season.

The Falcons outscored the Wildcats 27-7 in the third quarter and trailed by just three points entering the final frame. Trevor Kaiser led all scorers with 22 points and was 86% from the free throw line to lead the attack. Jaden Morales scored 17 of his own before fouling out.


Kennewick led 18-13 after one quarter and never looked back as the Lions picked up a 81-46 non-conference win over visiting Moses Lake.

The Lions had a balanced attack with five players in double figure scoring, led by Jackson Burns and Dierks Chavez with 15 points each.



Dylyn Dress drilled five 3-pointers and racked up 14 points to lead Kennewick to a 55-49 non-conference road win over Moses Lake.

The Lions overcame a 14-9 first quarter deficit to earn the victory despite four of its eight players in foul trouble.


Hanford senior Lynnea Moran finished with 18 points, including two from long range and a 86% performance from the charity stripe, but Eastmont was able to earn the non-conference victory.

The Falcons fall to 0-2 on the season and open MCC play hosting Kennewick on December 8.

Boys and girls players to watch


High school basketball fans should be excited about the season beginning this week with contests that count.

Earl Streufert’s Richland boys squad has four players that could vie for all-conference honors in Josh Woodard, Luke Westerfield, Jack Forbes and Landon Northrop.

Meanwhile, Chiawana’s girls, with new head coach Gary Jonas, look to be a serious contender for the state 4A title. Malia Ruud and Kaia Foster are just juniors, while Sunnyside transfer Baylee Maldonado should all lead the way. And what’s more scary about this team: there are no seniors on the roster. So they could be good for a long time.


• Peter Dress, senior, Kamiakin. He’s already committed to Embry-Riddle in Arizona, and he can shoot from deep. Dress also can shoot from around the key, and he’s a solid rebounder. If the Braves can put together a solid nucleus around him, Kamiakin can go deep.

• Dane Gardea, senior, Walla Walla. The Blue Devils have some talent back this season, and Gardea leads the way. The guard is fast and can jump. He runs in the relays for the Blue Devils during track and field season, and has cleared 6-4 in the high jump.

• Grant Olsen, senior, Hermiston. Last season, as a junior, he averaged an MCC-best of 23.2 points a game. The 6-5 guard has had offers from Pacific University in Oregon, as well as George Fox University. New head coach Brian Edwards will find a way to build the offense around this standout.

• Jesse Tijerina, senior, Southridge. As this 5-10 guard goes, so do the Suns. Tijerina led the team in scoring last season with an 18.8 point average. He’s a slick scorer who can make his way to the basket. But if a defender sags back, he’ll hammer the three.

• Seniors Josh Woodard and Luke Westerfield, Richland. The Bombers should be loaded, and these guys are two of their best. Woodard is the returning MCC boys basketball Player of the Year — just coming off of being named the MCC football Offensive Player of the Year — and averaged 19.2 points last season. Westerfield is 6-10 and will man the paint on both offense and defense. He’s got a great shot from 15 feet in and can block a lot of shots. While the Bombers can run and gun — and they will — they can also get into a great halfcourt offense with Westerfield down low. Oh yeah, both Woodard and Westerfield were members last season of the All-MCC defensive team.


• Juniors Kaia Foster and Malia Ruud, and sophomore Baylee Maldonado, Chiawana. Foster is a great inside-outside player for the Riverhawks, and she’s being recruited by a large number of schools. She’s been able to shoot the three since her freshman season. Now she can rebound and pass quite well too. Ruud has been a dominant inside post player for Chiawana since she was a freshman. She’s had international basketball experience the past two years playing for Samoa, and her 18.9 points a game was No. 2 last season in the MCC. Great rebounder and passer too. Now, let’s throw in Maldonado, who transferred in from Sunnyside this summer. As a freshman last season, she was named to the first team of the All-Columbia Basin Big Nine girls basketball squad.

• Haylee Johnson, senior, Kennewick. She was a first-team All-MCC selection last season, averaging 15.5 points, and she’s already committed to playing basketball and running track next fall for Eastern Oregon University. She and junior Dylyn Dress will be the leaders on a very experienced Lions team this season.

• Lynnea Moran, senior, Hanford. Believe this is year seven of a Moran sister on the Falcons roster. Older sister Iliana plays at Rocky Mountain College in Montana. Lynnea is a slick shooter who can also find her way to the basket on the drive. She averaged 15.4 points a game last season.

• Izzy Simmons, junior Hermiston. Last season as a sophomore, Simmons led the MCC in scoring at 19.1 points a game. Great shooter who can drive to the basket. Along with fellow junior Ellie Heidemann, Simmons should help lead the Bulldogs to a successful season.

• Nicole Wertenberger, senior, Kamiakin. The Braves lost a lot of talent to graduation last season. But Wertenberger — along with senior Camia Howard and junior Aubrey Herrin — brings some talent back for head coach Lane Schumacher. While Howard and Herrin battle on the inside, Wertenberger will be a key from the outside.

Nov. 28 game highlights




Jaxon Niemi opened the season with a 10-point effort and was the lone player in double figures for Hanford as the Falcons fell to Ridgeline 80-53 in a non-conference contest.


Chiawana had three players in double figures, but the Riverhawks fell to visiting Mt. Spokane in Pasco.

Gage Williams led the way with 21 points, Jermell Heavens tallied 14 and Cody Iverson finished with 10.

The Wildcats shot a scorching 73% from the floor, while the Riverhawks were 40%.


Despite a fourth-quarter push by Southridge, visiting Eisenhower was able to earn the season-opening win in a non-conference matchup.

The Cadets held a one-point advantage at the half and used a 21-13 third quarter to pull away from the Suns. While Southridge was able to outscore Ike 18-10 in the final period, it wasn’t enough to earn the win.

Southridge was led by Jesse Tijerina’s 21 points, which included six three-pointers. Nick Richardson and Kellen Walford each scored 10.



Chiawana outscored Mt. Spokane 24-2 in the third quarter and turned 25 Wildcat turnovers into 32 points as the Riverhawks opened the season with a 61-35 victory over visiting Mt. Spokane.

Sunnyside transfer Baylee Maldonado fueled the Chiawana attack with 18 points, shooting 58% from the floor, including a 75% performance from long range (3-for-4). Malia Ruud chipped in eight points and five rebounds while Kaia Foster pulled down seven off the glass.


Southridge started the season off with a non-conference victory, defeating visiting Eisenhower 69-58.

Jadyn Holdren had a double-double, tallying 25 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor Luce and Aryn Sloot each netted nine points.


Izzy Simmons finished with 20 points and Lucy Teegarden contributed 14 but Hermiston came up short to Prosser 79-60.


Despite leading 16-12 after one quarter, Hanford was unable to hold on to the lead and fell to visiting University 55-39.

Lynnea Moran began her senior effort with 16 points and was 10-for-17 from the free-throw line. Payton Schmidt was the only other Falcon in double figures with 14 points.

NFHS rule changes for 2023-24 season


2-1-3 NOTE (NEW): Requires the shot clock operator to sit at the scorer’s and timer’s table, if using a
shot clock. Rationale: Establishes the placement of the shot clock operator for those states utilizing the shot clock and the growing use of video boards that allow tablet control from anywhere in the gym.

3-4-5: Requires uniform bottoms on teammates to be like-colored while allowing different styles of
uniform bottoms among teammates. Rationale: Clarifies that teammates must all wear like-colored uniform bottoms but may wear multiple styles while aligning language with other NFHS rules codes.

3-5-6: Allows undershirts worn under visiting team jerseys to be black or a single solid color similar to
the torso of the jersey. All teammates wearing undershirts must wear the same solid color. Rationale: Allows schools with hard-to-find colors to wear black under visiting team jerseys while continuing to require all team members to match.

4-8-1: Eliminates the one-and-one for common fouls beginning with the seventh team foul in the half
and establishes the bonus as two free throws awarded for a common foul beginning with the team’s
fifth foul in each quarter and resets the fouls at the end of each quarter. Rationale: Improves flow by providing an opportunity for teams to adjust their play by not carrying over fouls from quarters 1 and 3 to quarters 2 and 4 while significantly reducing the opportunity for correctable errors to occur. Minimizes risk of injury by eliminating the one-and-one and reducing opportunities for rough play during rebounding opportunities.

7-5-2 thru 4: Establishes four throw-in spots (the nearest 28-foot mark along each sideline or the
nearest spot 3-feet outside the lane line on the end line) when a team gains or retains possession in
their frontcourt after the opponent commits a violation, a common foul prior to the bonus, or the ball
becomes dead (i.e. inadvertent whistle or a held ball). Rationale: Simplifies throw-in procedure when a team gains or retains possession for situations other than an out-of-bounds throw-in.

7-6-6: Allows the official administering a throw-in to the wrong team to correct the mistake before the
first dead ball after the ball becomes live unless there is a change of possession. Rationale: Allows for a correction of an official’s mistake in a more reasonable timeframe.

9-3-3: Establishes that a player may step out of bounds without penalty unless they are the first player
to touch the ball after returning to the court or if they left the court to avoid a violation. Rationale: Allows a player to step out of bounds if they gain no advantage and penalizes a team only if they gain an advantage by leaving the court and returning to avoid a violation or to be the first to touch the ball.

Gary Jonas next Chiawana girls coach


Longtime assistant Chiawana boys coach Gary Jonas has been named the new head girls coach for the Riverhawks.

Jonas was a three-sport athlete at DeSales High School in Walla Walla and went on to Eastern Washington University. His first head coaching stint was a Silver Valley High School in Yermo, Calif. from 2000-2005.

He moved back to the Tri-Cities and Pasco High School where he was the baseball coach. Jonas moved to Chiawana went the school opened and coached baseball for the Riverhawks along with coaching the boys basketball squad with head coach Chad Herron.

Jonas replaces Mike Brown who led the Lady Riverhawks for four seasons and compiled a 62-30 overall record, including a conference championship in 2020 and qualifying for the state tournament in 2020 and 2022.