REEDLEY – The Reedley High boys water polo team absorbed some lumps the past two seasons, but the Pirates now are the ones delivering punishment to the opposition.
Eight different players scored in a 17-3 beatdown of the Selma High Bears on Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Reedley High pool. It was the Pirates’ eighth victory this season without a loss, and came a day after a 13-7 win over Kerman. Third-year head coach Kyle Bunch said the team is blossoming after a 15-14 campaign in 2022.
“We had a lot of first-year varsity water polo players last year. This year, we have some experience under our belt,” he said. “We faced some teams that we had trouble with last year, and we’ve taken care of business against them so far. So I’m very happy to see that.”
Returning seniors Travis Booth and Diego Lopez led the balanced scoring attack against Selma (2-2) with three goals apiece. Scoring two goals in the rout were freshman Luke Bryan, senior Ethan Poe, junior Ezra Betancourt and freshman Jonah Betancourt. Goalie Scott Dutcher had another solid performance and has “done a fantastic job in there for us,” according to Bunch.
Dutcher joined teammates Lopez and junior Edwin Reyes with two goals apiece in the win over Kerman.
Reedley, likely to be bracketed in Division II for postseason play based on its strong start, will get some good competition at the Visalia Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16. The Pirates have opening day games with Mt. Whitney (5-3) and Centennial (5-4) before taking on Atascadero (6-4) on Saturday.
“I think we should see at least three good teams, which I’m looking forward to because we haven’t really been tested,” said Bunch.
Meanwhile, Reedley High’s girls team improved to 3-4 on the season with a 23-1 trouncing of Selma High on Sept 14. Returning veteran Grace Tademy scored five goals while Maggie Ellis and Sophia Milton had four goals apiece to lead the Pirates. Also scoring were Kamarin Holm and Maddie Nava (three goals) along with Olivia Tademy and Johnae Bedolla (two goals).
Grace Tademy had seven goals and Milton five scores in an 18-1 rout of Kerman in the team’s Tri-County Conference opener on Sept. 13. Reedley returns to TCC action on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in a 6:30 p.m. start against Kingsburg (8-4, 2-0). The Pirates’ next home contest is Thursday, Sept. 28 against Granite Hills-Porterville (0-4, 0-2).