There is an element of trust among members of the Rosalia High School boys basketball team that runs deeper than most.
And it is rooted in the fact that five of coach Rob Hudkins seniors, all of them lifelong friends, shared the honor of achieving the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout last year.
“It’s really pretty special,” said Hudkins, whose Spartans (22-1) bring a 21-game winning streak into the State 1B tournament that opens this morning at the Arena. “But that’s one of the things I like about Rosalia, is that our kids tend to be very well-rounded.
“They’re involved in a lot of different things, and for these five, their thing was Eagle Scout. And to their credit, they all went out and earned it.”
Those five – Nathan Richards, Flash Hodges, Jared Hereford, Casey Brown and Tom Carrothers – have all been major contributors to Rosalia’s recent success on the basketball court.
Richards, a 6-foot-5 post, is averaging a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Hodges (8.5 ppg) and Hereford (6.5 ppg) are also starters, while Brown and Carrothers come off the bench as part of Hudkins’ regular eight-man rotation.
“There a very close-knit group of kids,” said Hudkins, who is also the Spartans’ athletic director. “They’ve been together since they first started playing sports and they like to hang out with each other off the court.”
“We’re like brothers,” said Richards, who was a starter on last year’s team that finished 23-2 after taking a 22-0 record in the State 1B tournament in Yakima.
“We act like brothers, we think like brothers, we even fight like brothers.”
As their final Eagle Scout requirement, all five were obligated to complete community improvement projects. Each was responsible for the planning, fundraising and execution of their individual projects, which ranged from the installation of a flag pole at the Malden-Pine City Gun Club to the construction of a new fence at the Holy Rosary Cemetery near Rosalia.
Each project took 100 or more hours to complete.
Hodges’ father, Brad, is the scoutmaster of Troop 588, to which the five young men belong, and Brown’s father, Pat, is the assistant scoutmaster.
Hudkins said those two have been instrumental in making sure all five achieved the highest rank recognized by the Boy Scouts of America without sacrificing the good of the basketball team.
“They deserve a lot of the credit for getting all those kids involved in scouting,” he said, “and for keeping them focused on achieving Eagle Scout status, as well – all while helping them balance the other activities they’ve been involved with.
“They’ve worked with me at times, saying, ‘Hey, we need to do this campout, so when are you playing summer basketball, and when does football start?’ They try to fit (camping) in that little window each summer, so they have that time with the kids on their own. And they’ve done a great job, once again, of working around all of the other stuff.”
As a group, Richards, Hodges, Hereford, Carrothers and Brown, have lettered in five sports, while also participating on various select basketball and baseball teams in the region.
“Having gone through it together allows us to put our trust and respect in each other even more,” Richards said, “because you know we’ve all made the effort and taken the time to commit to something for the good of others, and then followed it through to the end.”