Giovani Evanson less than impressed with performance in opening phase of Christian’s win over Columbia River at King’s Way

By most accounts, King’s Way Christian senior junior Giovanni Evanson had a great game Wednesday against Columbia River.

Perhaps the only person who disagrees with that assessment is Evanson.

“I think he had 13 (rebounds) and six assists in his 30 points,” King’s Way coach Daven Harmeling said. “That stat line looks great. But the look on his face after the game was that he didn’t think he played that well. It’s kind of fun to have those stats and not play well.”

Evanson sparked a 9-0 run early in the second quarter that helped the Knights open up a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 54-44 win over River on Wednesday.

At times King’s Way looked ready to pull away, only for the Rapids to come up with some shots that kept them close until the final minute.

“We came out a little flat,” Evanson said. “We’ve definitely gotten used to the feel of the game. It was our first game in a while, but it was fun. Columbia River was a great team and it was a good game, for sure.”

King’s Way Christian, like many teams early in the season, is working its way through illness. The Knights held a team retreat about a week ago, and the illness took its toll on the program.

“Tonight felt like two teams fighting the flu last week,” Harmeling said. “Both teams just wanted to make a shot. Obviously there weren’t a lot of shots tonight and both teams looked gassed.”

Last season, King’s Way Christian reached the state playoffs by winning the district third-place game, then moved on to the Yakima SunDome with a win in the regional round.

Led by Evanson, the Knights return their core lineup from last season with a few new faces.

“We’ve added some new pieces, some shows,” Evanson said. “We’re just trying to get up and down the floor more, really pressing transitions and looking for easy shots. … We’re still trying to learn how to play with each other. I think there were a lot of mistakes tonight and hopefully we can play a lot better next week.”

The Knights will need it as their upcoming schedule features tough opponents and big schools.

“When you look at our schedule next week, on the surface it doesn’t make a lot of sense to play Skyview and then the Prairie and Mountain View games,” Harmeling said. “This is a difficult section. But it will reveal some things that are true about us as a team. But we always do it to show in which areas we need to develop.

“We’ve always said we’re trying to prepare our team for the road, not prepare the road for our team.”

It’s been a bumpy early road for Columbia River as the Rapids (0-2) are still trying to put things together under freshman Travis Drake.

Drake believed the Rapids played better defense Wednesday than they did Tuesday night in a 73-60 loss to Battle Ground. However, there was not enough resentment on Wednesday night.

“The offense that we have is built to find and hunt for the best shot, and that’s tough when you have five guys that can score and want to score,” Drake said. “I think our challenge right now is we don’t have guys on the court trying to hurt other guys on the court.”

The Rapids are suffering growing pains as they try to learn a new system with a roster that features just four seniors.

“We’re young, but we’re talented,” Drake said. “So I don’t think any of us use the fact that we’re not very old as an excuse. I feel like tonight and last night were two games we could have had. … What I like about the group of guys that I have is that there’s a high level of frustration, but they’re trying to figure this thing out.”

Harmeling believes the Rapids will make it.

“River will probably experience more growth from the beginning of the season to the end of the season than any other team in the county,” Harmeling said. “They’re young and Travis will do a great job with them. We might be lucky enough to play them right after they played Battle Ground last night.”

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