Columbia Adventist last local hoops team standing

Kodiaks at 1B state for second time in three WIAA seasons

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter


photoJosh Rodriguez is one of five senior starters on the Columbia Adventist basketball team, and a First Team All-Columbia Valley League selection. Kodiaks coach Jay Pierce, in white shirt scrimmaging with his players, jokes of his senior-laden squad that, "Next year, we'll see if I can coach."


photoMembers of the Columbia Adventist Boys Basketball team pose in their Battle Ground gym.


Uncertain schedule

n Columbia Adventist will open the Class 1B state tournament at 3:45 p.m. Thursday against Sunnyside Christian. After that, the schedule will be determined by how the Kodiaks fare. Columbia Adventist does not compete from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday in observance of the church’s Sabbath. The WIAA has announced the three scenarios that would dictate changes:

n If the Kodiaks win Thursday, the semifinal game will be at 2 p.m. Friday, moved from 7:15 p.m. Friday. If they win again on Friday, the championship game will be moved to 9 p.m. Saturday rather than 5 p.m.

n If the Kodiaks win Thursday, then lose the 2 p.m. Friday semifinal, the third-place game would be played at 7 p.m. Saturday instead of 1 p.m. Saturday.

n If the Kodiaks lose Thursday, they would play at the regularly scheduled time of 12:15 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket. But if they win that game, the fifth-place game would be moved to 7 p.m. Saturday.

n If Columbia Adventist loses its first two games, there will be no changes to the schedule.

BATTLE GROUND — Evan Davies had to be a team manager his sophomore year at Columbia Adventist Academy.

A transfer student, he could not play varsity boys basketball that first year with the Kodiaks.

It just so happened that was the first year Columbia Adventist made it to the Class 1B state basketball tournament in Spokane.

When the Kodiaks were leaving the tournament, a coach threw Davies a ball and told him to take a shot, just to say he he "played" in the arena.

Davies said no thanks.

"I'll get my chance," Davies said. "I knew we were going to come back."

Now a senior, Davies is playing, and the Kodiaks are going back to Spokane for the state tournament.

Columbia Adventist, in just its third year as a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association program, is going to state for a second time.

David Irias, a senior who was the Columbia Valley League's co-MVP, was on that team as a sophomore. He has a much bigger role now.

"I remember playing a little bit of minutes in that huge dome. That was really great," Irias said. "But I'm looking forward to playing as a starter."

The Kodiaks start five seniors: Irias was the league's co-MVP.

Davies, Josh Rodriguez and Josh Fry were all first-team, all-league performers.

Stephen Jardin, the only one of the five who started a sophomore, made the second team.

"Next year, we'll see if I can coach," joked coach Jay Pierce.

For now, they are all enjoying this ride, and they are gearing up for one last road trip.

This is one of the reasons why Davies returned to Columbia Adventist.

He grew up with all of these guys, but went to Skyview High School as a freshman.

"I liked it a lot, but I just missed all of my best friends," said Davies, a co-captain. "I missed all of my buds."

He returned, sat out that year, and now this is quite the reward.

"It wasn't just a basketball game," he said of Columbia Adventist's overtime victory Saturday against Moses Lake Christian to reach state. "It was a chance to go as a team, to go together. This is what we love doing, having fun with each other. Our season wasn't over."

Irias had an interesting view of his team's victory in the regionals. He had fouled out in overtime and was on the bench.

"I was devastated. I thought I had let my team down," he said when he picked up that fifth foul.

As a co-captain, though, he had to forget about himself and focus on cheering for his team.

"I was just so happy. I can't express the words," he said of watching his teammates come up big down the stretch in the 57-52 victory.

Pierce said that victory was special, not just because it extended the season, but it showed the character of his team. Moses Lake Christian had reached state in each of the previous seven years.

His players were not intimidated.

"They don't stop. They don't quit," Pierce said. "That's pretty much all any coach could ask."

Another bonus: Columbia Adventist is the only team from Clark County that reached any of the state tournaments, boys or girls.