Friday, January 17, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 01/16/20: Dental Success, Chicken Soup, Kellogg Defeats Wallace

1. I sat down in the chair at the dentist today with high hopes. I guess I was relaxed, too: my blood pressure was 122/78. That's golden. I've followed Kathy's dental care suggestions: I use a water flosser; I also floss regularly with dental floss, especially while watching stuff in the Vizio room; I use an electric toothbrush; I wear a mouth guard every night; I have a cleaning done every four months rather than six months.

It's working. Kathy was very happy with the condition of my gums and teeth and when the dentist took his peek in my mouth, he didn't stay long at all -- he was pleased with how everything looked.

2. Several days ago, I thawed a quart of chicken stock I had made. Today, I finally used it. I simmered three drumsticks in the stock along with a onion slices, chopped celery, and a half a red pepper chopped. After about 45 minutes or so, the drumsticks were cooked. I removed them, let them cool, took the meat off, dropped the meat in the pot, and added two chopped red potatoes. I cooked this soup slowly for a while more until the potatoes were tender and then enjoyed a couple steamy bowls of bracing chicken soup.

3. For the first time this season, I drove up to Andrews Memorial Gymnasium (I call it "The Drew") at Kellogg High School to watch the boys' junior varsity and varsity teams play cross county rival, Wallace.

Kellogg won both games. The junior varsity game was a helter skelter affair. Both teams pushed the pace of the game and, in the end, this pace seemed to favor the hometown Wildcats. Repeatedly, Kellogg scored breakaway baskets on long passes from the Wallace end into Kellogg's court. I couldn't quite figure out how the Wildcats succeeded so many time in scoring this way -- I suppose it was as simple as Wallace just wasn't getting back on defense.

Kellogg's varsity team features a freshman point guard, Riply Luna, setting up the offense for four returning players, junior Logan Jerome, and seniors Brandon Miller, Graden Nearing, and Gavin Luna. Graden Nearing is a sharp shooter from distance, but, as I noted last season, he has also become a much more assertive player, willing and determined to drive to the cup. Both Gavin Luna and Logan Jerome were strong rebounders tonight and Gavin Luna led the Wildcats in scoring with a variety of shots inside, asserting his strength and deft shooting touch from different angles. Brandon Miller plays on the edge of being out of control. He loves pushing the ball up court, sometimes successfully scoring on drives, but sometimes he gets a little wild and takes questionable shots. He also likes to hoist a few shots from long range, with mixed success.

The Wildcats pressure their opponents with a full court defense. In order to maintain this effort, Coach Jeff Nearing freely substitutes players, so that those who are on the floor are as fresh as possible and can play the relentless defense Nearing demands of his players.

Wallace and Kellogg played almost to a draw in the first half with the Wildcats holding a slim two point margin at half time. Within myself, I thought that Kellogg looked like the stronger and deeper team and I predicted, in silence, that Kellogg would wear down Wallace, and stretch their slim half time lead.

I was right.

Wallace didn't have the stamina to match Kellogg's depth. The Wildcats took over the inside game, with several players, but especially Gavin Luna, scoring on drives, off of entry passes, and with putting back missed shots. Kellogg outscored Wallace 39-18 in the second half. Gavin Luna led the Wildcats with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Graden Nearing added 17 points, despite sitting out much of the first half with foul trouble.

The final score: Kellogg 67 Wallace 44.

I'll return to The Drew on Saturday when the Wildcats host Bonners Ferry at 7 p.m.

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