From time to time, John Barbee catches himself watching Brad Wallace too much.
Barbee, the first-year coach of boys basketball at River Ridge High School, has had a broad range of elite players dating back to his days as men’s basketball coach at The Evergreen State College’s and then coaching the Foster High School boys and Kennedy Catholic girls.
Barbee said he hasn’t coached a player as exciting as Wallace, a type of athlete who can hurt opposing teams in different ways.
“I don’t know how I would defense him if we had to play against him,” Barbee said. “… If he was 6-foot-4, (Duke coach) Mike Krzyzewski and those guys would be in there.”
Wallace isn’t that tall – the senior guard is 5-11. Still, he leads Thurston County in scoring, averaging better than 26 points per game, and is also one of the state’s leading scorers in all classifications.
What’s been more impressive is how he’s done so much, especially with a nagging left-hand injury sustained during football season. In River Ridge’s 41-34 football road win at Centralia on Oct. 5, Wallace’s hand got caught while stiff-arming an opponent, causing a deep split in the web of his hand near his pinkie finger. Stitches were required.
On the first day of basketball practice more than a month later, the stitches in Wallace’s hand split open.
“He had to have four to five stitches again,” Barbee said.
The biggest concern was how the injury would hinder Wallace’s ability to finish with his left (non-shooting) hand, which is a strength of his. It hasn’t slowed him, though, even while playing with the hand wrapped and taped.
He has scored 30 or more points in six games, including a career-high 44 in a 93-82 loss to Capital on Dec. 14. Wallace hasn’t scored fewer than 20 points in a game since scoring 14 in a 48-28 nonleague win over Shelton on Dec. 3.
Wallace and the 2A Evergreen Conference’s second-leading scorer, W.F. West senior Brock Wade, face off in Lacey at 7:30 tonight in an interesting rematch to begin the second half of the league season.
The Bearcats (10-4 overall, 6-0 EvCo) are the league leaders, but the Hawks (8-6, 3-3) have won five straight games. In the teams’ first meeting in Chehalis on Dec. 11, the Bearcats squeaked by, 61-60, on Wade’s basket with 3 seconds to play.
Wade, a three-time first-team all-EvCo player, became the school’s all-time leading scorer when he scored a game-high 28 points in a 72-61 win over Centralia last Thursday. He has 1,297 career points, surpassing Keegan Fulton’s 1,287 from 2000-03.
LYNDEN, MARK MORRIS TO FACE OFF AT SMU
Before the Saint Martin’s-Western Washington men’s basketball game tips at 7 p.m. Saturday at Marcus Pavilion, two of the state’s top Class 2A boys teams will play. Top-ranked Lynden (12-1 overall) and sixth-ranked Mark Morris (11-4) will take to the court at 5 p.m.
Saints coach Keith Cooper, with assistance from Lynden athletic director Mike McKee and Mark Morris coach Bill Bakamus, arranged for the game, in large part to take advantage of the big Lynden following for Western Washington as well as for SMU senior point guard Brady Bomber, a 2008 Lynden graduate.
TIMBERLINE SOPHOMORE LEAVES FOR GERMANY
The lineup for the Timberline girls basketball team has had to be adjusted with the departure of sophomore Cierra Martin, who joined her family just before winter break in Wiesbaden, Germany. That’s where Martin’s father, who serves in the Army, is stationed.
Martin’s final game with the Blazers was a 43-38 loss to Yelm on Dec. 17.
In five games, she averaged 2.5 points a game after averaging 5.7 points and 6.3 rebounds last season as a freshman.
What started as single posts on the social media websites Twitter and Facebook on Saturday night with a hashtag #PadillaNeedsTheDanger has turned into a nationwide plea to get Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to meet Timberline senior David Padilla.
In October, Padilla, a two-time all-league baseball player for the Blazers, was diagnosed with ostersarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Since then, Padilla has been at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Each Tuesday during the NFL season, Wilson and his wife, Ashton, visit children at the hospital. However, the Wilsons haven’t visited the floor where Padilla has been during their weekly trips
Hannah Padilla and Amber Lewis – Padilla’s sister and girlfriend – posted on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, urging Wilson to surprise Padilla today.
Hannah Padilla tweeted, “@DangerRussWilson visit my brother @DavidPadilla5 at Seattle Children’s on Tuesday. He has ostersarcoma and is dying to meet you!” and Lewis had a similar tweet: “@DangerRussWilson visit @DavidPadilla5 at #seattlechildrens in surgical rehab next Tuesday! #DreamComeTrue #PadillaNeedsTheDanger #RT”.
The number of tweets with the hashtag #PadillaNeedsTheDanger has reached thousands with folks tweeting from as far away as Alabama and Pennsylvania. Even Andres Gonzales, a PGA Tour golfer and Capital High School graduate, retweeted “please RT for David Padilla. Fighting cancer at Seattle Children’s #PadillaNeedsTheDanger.”
Hannah Padilla, a freshman at Washington State University who graduated from Timberline in 2012, called the responses “amazing.”
“It has definitely got a lot of attention and very fast,” she said. “It is crazy.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick