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Spartans enjoy ride during special season

Top-rated Rosalia boys boast record of 14-0

The Rosalia boys basketball team hasn’t exactly been known as a state power.

So what’s been happening at the Whitman County school the past couple of years, especially this season, is significant.

Rosalia is 14-0 overall and ranked No. 1 among 1B teams. The Spartans finished fifth at state last year.

In the middle of the Spartans’ success has been senior 6-foot-4 post Jim Maley.

Maley, a three-year starter, eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last Friday. Counting games Saturday and Tuesday, his career total is 1,035.

He was pleased to reach the milestone, but deflects praise to his team.

“I was excited and glad, but I’m just happy to contribute to the team and help out as much as I can,” said Maley, who is averaging 18.3 per game.

“He came on as a sophomore and really established himself as an inside presence,” coach Rob Hudkins said. “He gets a lot of shots close to the basket. He knows how to get to the rim and finish and takes advantage of a lot of second-chance opportunities when others miss.”

Rosalia has another player on track to eclipse 1,000 points by next year. Junior Nathan Richards, a 6-5 post, provides a nice 1-2 tandem inside.

The Spartans returned four starters this season. One of the team’s key leaders is point guard Zach St. John, a four-year starter.

Couple the starting experience with a deep bench and Hudkins has something special in the making.

The Spartans defeated defending state champ Tri-Cities Prep 71-50 at home last month, a week after the Jaguars captured a state football title.

“We were fortunate we played them less than a week after they won the state football (title),” Hudkins said. “We watched them a week later and they were already a completely different team.”

The teams meet in a rematch the final game of the regular season, Feb. 6, in Pasco.

Maley is looking forward to the end of the season.

“We have many weapons,” Maley said.

“One person doesn’t make a team and one person can’t win a state championship. What I care about the most is how the team finishes.”