For all the elite guards that have come through Union’s boys basketball program, one sticks out like a Ferrari.
The car analogy is how head coach Blake Conley talks about senior point guard Bryson Metz. Instead of focusing on the speed and wow factor, though, it starts with appreciation.
“Bryson was so normal to us,” Conley said. “The things that he does on the court, sometimes, I don’t even bat an eye. When other people see it, they’re like, ‘Oh my goodness’ and they’re so amazed by it.”
But the speed and wow factor that a Ferrari encompasses also can describe the way Metz, The Columbian’s All-Region boys basketball player of the year, plays the game.
At 5-foot-8, he’s a one-man press break behind a first-step burst, hits the mid-range jumper, is crafty in traffic, and dictates flow with effortless energy.
A transfer from Class 1A King’s Way Christian as a junior, Metz played two seasons for the Titans. This year as the 4A Greater St. Helens League co-MVP, he led Union to a share of the league title and fifth place at state. Even though their ambitions included playing for a state title, Metz still views the season as nothing but successful.
“It was so fun to put in all that work, all throughout the season and just show everyone what we could do,” he said. “We learned a lot from those three days at state. It was the coolest experience ever.”
Not only does Metz believe he’s a better point guard for concluding his high school career in Class 4A, but more importantly, he said, is how Conley and his program made him a better person.
“It wasn’t always just about basketball,” Metz said, “and I thought that was really special.”
Had Metz’ original basketball path been executed, he wouldn’t have played for either King’s Way Christian or Union.
A Spokane native, Metz and his family relocated to Vancouver when Metz entered sixth grade and intended to play high school basketball for his uncle, then-Mountain View coach Aaron Shepherd. When a coaching change happened in 2017, though, it left Metz searching.
He spent eighth grade and his first two years of high school at King’s Way where he was an all-league football and basketball star. As a freshman point guard, he led the Knights to the 1A title game in 2019.
What was missing was a bigger challenge — and a bigger stage — on the hardwood, he said. Metz found the jump from 1A to 4A easier because of the experiences at King’s Way.
“I wouldn’t change anything,” he said, “because being a 14-year-old little freshman guard, it teaches you a lot. The weight on my shoulders as a freshman was practically the same thing as what I had to do now. … I think that really developed me into a better point guard.”
And a point guard who will play college basketball at Vanguard University, an NAIA program at Costa Mesa, Calif.
This season, Metz averaged 17.9 points, 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.0 rebounds a game as Union’s lone returning starter from last spring’s condensed COVID-19 spring season.
In a roundabout way, he came back full circle to Union.
The week Metz and his family moved to Vancouver is the same week he attended the Titans’ summer youth camp, and the small, energized guard dazzled against older kids.
It’d be five more years before Metz dazzled as a Titan.
“You watch Bryson play,” said Conley, the head coach, “and you won’t forget him.”
REST OF FIRST TEAM ALL-REGION
Carson Frawley, Camas
4A GSHL co-MVP’s versatility powered Papermakers to second place in league, one game shy of regionals. Set Camas single-game record for points (44).
Yanni Fassilis, Union
Dominated the interior as a first-year Titan, averaging a team-best 18.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. 4A all-tournament selection.
Jackson Esary, Kalama
Two-time Central 2B MVP and Providence (Mont.) commit carried Chinooks to their second third-place state trophy since 2016.
Cavin Holden, R.A. Long
Heartbeat of the Lumberjacks’ success, the two-time 2A GSHL MVP helped the program to its best state finish since 1953 (fifth).
Aaron Ofstun, R.A. Long
Senior forward’s steady play in the middle was a crucial piece to the team’s rise to the top of 2A GSHL and District IV.
SECOND TEAM ALL-REGION
Hayden Rose, Prairie
Falcons’ only four-year varsity member rose to the occasion as a consistent double-double player.
Giovanny Evanson, King’s Way Christian
Two-time 1A Trico MVP came up clutch in big games. Averaged 23.5 points per game in the postseason, leading the Knights back to state.
Michael Foust, Kelso
A first-year Kelso player, the 3A GSHL MVP carried Hilanders to league title, regional berth.
Tait Spencer, Battle Ground
Sophomore carried Tigers on his shoulders all season. One of two sophomores to be all-4A GSHL.
Stephen Behil, Camas
Papermakers won a share of the 4A GSHL title — their first league crown since 2011 behind big contributions from the 6-foot-6 forward.
Colton Looney, Skyview
Storm’s all-league forward and leading scorer delivered all season. Committed to Whitworth.