Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Kirichenko sets school record for rebounding as Union boys beat Bothell (video)

Senior has 18 points and 18 rebounds in 84-52 win over Cougars

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:

Denis Kirichenko was a beast on the boards Saturday, and the Union senior didn’t even know it.

Kirichenko had 18 points and 18 rebounds, securing a school record while helping the Union boys basketball team to an 84-52 win over Bothell in a 4A bi-district playoff game.

Needing 15 rebounds coming into the game to set Union’s career record for rebounds, Kirichenko came to the bench in the second half thinking he was still short.

“I sat down on the bench and my coach came up to me and said ‘You’ve got 16 rebounds. You’ve got the record,” the 6-foot-6 Kirichenko said. “I was like ‘Really? Sixteen?’ I thought I had maybe five.”

You’ll forgive Kirichenko’s counting error. His focus was elsewhere.

“I just came into this game thinking that every rebound was mine,” he said. “That was my focus. Just go get the ball.”

While his focus was on the boards, Kirichenko also put points on the board, scoring 17 of the Titans’ first 26 points. His final basket of the game came early in the second quarter, but it sparked a 9-0 run that gave Union a 33-22 halftime lead.

After Bothell focused more attention on him, Kirichenko was happy to find teammates willing to contribute to the scoring, like Niko Bricker and Zach Reznick.

“They couldn’t handle our post game,” Kirichenko said. “Not many teams can. Whenever I got the ball in the high post, I’d just look and see Niko wide open under the basket.”

Bricker was open often, finishing with 16 points. And when Bothell defended inside, it left the outside game open.

Cameron Cranston hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points. Reznick hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, as the Titans pulled away.

“Reznick really stepped up and hit some shots that got us going,” Union coach Blake Conley said. “And I was really pleased with our intensity of defense. Our guards did a really nice job on their big scorers.”

Now the Titans (21-2) will await their opponent in the regional round of the state playoffs next weekend.

“I think we’re finally starting to peak,” Conley said. “We’ve played some of our best games of the season in the last week, and that’s right where you want to be at this time of year.”

UNION 84, BOTHELL 52

BOTHELL — Andrew Wilson 8, Hunter Dean 8, Kevin Fisherkeller 6, Josh Kollman 7, Tanner Gunnells 0, Cameron Tyson 7, Shubhkarman Bhullar 2, Connor Williams 3, Owen Bainter 0, Jake Medjo 7, JR Plourd 4. Totals 18 (9) 7-12 52.

UNION — Keithen Shepard 2, Brennan Paulson 1, Zach Reznick 22, Tyler Combs 0, Carson Brucher 5, Nico Bricker 16, Austin Lewis 2, Christian Agarpo 2, Kai Gamble 1, Cameron Cranston 15, Denis Kirichenko 18. Totals 30 (11) 13-17 84.

Bothell  17           5              11           19–52

Union    16           17           24           27–84

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