Extra notes from River basketball’s district title

Advantage, Columbia River: It’s all about the matchups.

Columbia River has now beaten Mountain View three times this basketball season. Friday night’s win was for the district crown after Columbia River went undefeated in league play for the 3A GSHL title.

Mountain View is a good basketball team. The Thunder use three shooting guards in their offense and utilize two under-size posts who never quit on any play.

But Columbia River coach David Long pointed out that this particular matchup is heavy in his team’s favor.

Mountain View’s Shane McCauley, a 6-3 post with great hops and a talent for finding rebounds, had a decent night Friday, ending up with nine points and 13 rebounds. But every time he turned around, he was facing 6-8 post Isaiah Smith.

Long also credited guards Bryan Wyche and Devin Bolds for their strong defense on Mountain View’s shooting guards. Rian Bassett also was all over the court on defense for River, picking up six steals.

Long said Mountain View’s has three go-to guys: McCauley at the post, and guards Luke DuChesne and Taylor Drey.

“We can neutralize their three main weapons better than anyone in the league,” Long said. “It happens on the defensive end.”

Sure enough, Mountain View struggled all night, shooting 18 percent in the first half, 29 percent for the game.

Clinic on the court: David Long even gave me a little coaching clinic after the game, explaining a grading process he and his staff use for their team and their opponents.

The coaches give a number, a scale from 1 to 10, on quality shots. A quality shot, like an open lay-up, is a 10. A good 3-point shooter who takes an open 3-pointer might get a 10, as well. If someone takes an off-balance shot, the grade goes down. And if someone takes an ill-advised, what-were-you-thinking? shot, it’s a 1.

Anyway, he said his team’s goal was to get Mountain View’s excellent shooters to take 6s or 7s, meaning every time they shot, there was a defender there. A guy like Taylor Drey, Long said, will still score on some of those 6s and 7s, but it will be a lot more difficult for him to score. And guys like Drey and DuChesne will usually make most of their 9 and 10s, so make them earn it with 6s and 7s.

The defense is contagious, too. The Chieftains try to do that to every player on the court, which means the other team’s weaker shooters are taking contested shots, as well.

My favorite little big play of the night: Rian Bassett, as noted in the game story, did so much out there for the Chieftains. He was even good when he missed a shot.

Early in the second quarter, he took a 3-point shot. (By Long’s grading system, it would have been a 9 or a 10. It was a good look, and he was open, and it was in the flow of the offense.) But the ball was short and bounced off the rim.

Bassett did not quit on the play, though. He hustled to pick up the offensive rebound. Bassett then found Isaiah Smith open in the key for an easy hoop. That made it 26-11, Columbia River’s biggest lead.

So Bassett got an 0-for-1 on the play, but grabbed a rebound and had an assist.

There are a lot of ways to help the team.

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