O’Dea boys basketball coach Jason Kerr is older, wiser and might not unload that hard-edge personality of his as often as he used to.
But when he needs to, he can still send a convincing message.
Over the past four days, Kerr relayed some important – and spirited messages – about in-game execution to his Irish players after dropping two games at the City of Palms tournament in Florida.
“He got on us this week,” Irish junior forward Paolo Banchero said, “and woke us up.”
And just in time for Metro League rival Rainier Beach.
It didn’t matter if it was in transition or in halfcourt – the No. 2 Irish completely controlled the game Friday night, from start to finish. O’Dea crunched the sixth-ranked Vikings, 88-60, at home in Seattle.
Banchero led the Irish with 24 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots. Jaylon Ellis added 13 points and six rebounds. And Takeo Staten-Sylvester, Dezjay Perkins and John Christofilis each had 11 points apiece in O’Dea’s balanced effort.
The Irish snapped a three-game losing streak to Rainier Beach, dating back to the 2017-18 season.
Here are three game observations:
PREPARING FOR PAOLO BANCHERO IS LIKE ‘GAME-PLANNING AGAINST LEBRON OR KAREEM’
Paolo Banchero looks at the big picture facing the best teams in the Metro League.
The 6-foot-10 junior sees playing Garfield, Eastside Catholic and Rainier Beach as challenges.
“But I don’t see an individual matchup that I necessarily worry or think about,” Banchero said.
The five-star class-of-2021 recruit got off to a slow start Friday, scoring just two points in the first quarter.
But Banchero began the fourth quarter with two dunks, and tallied half of his game-high 24 points over the final eight minutes.
“You cannot sit up there and write on your board, ‘He is a nightmare matchup! He is a problem! We’ve got to do this!’ Nah,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said.
“It’s like when guys had to game plan against Lebron or Kareem … let’s be real.”
WITH BANCHERO AND JOHN CHRISTOFILIS AS O’DEA’s TOP TWO OPTIONS, WHO IS NO. 3?
Honestly, it might just be 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 3E.
Figure on a nightly basis, Banchero will get his 20-plus points manning the outside – and Christofilis, as one of the top perimeter shooters in the state, will connect on a few 3-pointers.
But O’Dea might be at its best when the rest of the production comes from all over, like it did Friday night.
Ellis had 13 points. Three players, including Christofilis, had 11 points. And Jermaine Green, who most would consider the team’s third-best all-arond player, added 10 points.
“I feel like there were some ups and downs (at the City of Palms tournament) controlling stuff throughout the whole game,” Ellis said. “We did that tonight.”
YOU CAN TELL THE WAY BETHEA WEARS THE FRUSTRATION, THIS IS A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AT RAINIER BEACH IN 2019-20
From last year’s 3A state semifinal squad, Rainier Beach returned one regular this season – senior John Hart.
“We are up and down,” Bethea said. “We are still learning each other.”
Right now, the team’s best player is senior Hamza Mohaba, a dynamic 3-point shooter who can fill it up in a hurry. He is averaging nearly 18 points a game.
“He understands what we want to do on the floor,” Bethea said.
But for all those years that the Vikings rolled out major-college player after major-college player – that is certainly not the case this season.
“We don’t have any (NCAA Division I players) out there right now, let’s be real,” Bethea said. “We might have a couple with Nate’s son (Nahmier Robinson) or Terrance’s son (Ziggy Holmes-Williams). But they are freshmen and sophomores.”