Weston Ide and the Zillah Boys Basketball team face a daunting task this postseason. If they’re going to win a State Title, they will have to win four straight games this week, against some of the best competition in the state.

It’s a gauntlet that’s perhaps more psychologically challenging than it is physical. For senior captain Weston Ide, it’s exactly the challenge he’s looking for in his final season.

“These past few years, I’ve gotten the chance to play against some of the top talent on the west coast,” Ide said. “I feel that’s going to be a big help for me, as I play against the best teams in the state tournament.”

The 6-foot-4 Ide has been a full time starter for Zillah since 2017, and during that time he’s been as consistent as any prep hooper in the state. He’s started 77 contests, accumulated three SCAC All League awards, and was named to the All State team as a junior. He also won a state title in 2019.

But even though he has the accolades of a true superstar, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that at any given time, Ide is only the fourth or fifth most recognized player on his own team.

His sophomore and junior seasons, he played in the shadow of several hometown heroes like Antonio Salinas, Brock Ellis, and Cesar Diaz.

This season, a whole new crop of flashy stars have emerged, like Claysen Delp, Mason Landdeck, and also Sebastian Godina, who is a vocal leader for the program.  

But make no mistake about it, even if he’s not always trending on social media, Weston Ide is still the heartbeat presence for this year’s Leopard team.

One of his teammates, senior guard Wesley Avila, gave his perspective on what Ide is like behind closed doors.  

“A lot of people listen to him,” Avila said. “He doesn’t tear you down, he builds you up, and he always goes about it in a good way.”  .

There are several different types of leaders in high school sports. There’s the ‘rah-rah’ guy, who”s very good at delivering pregame speeches. There’s the ‘super talented guy’, who’s excellent play alone inspires those around him. Then there’s the classic ‘lead by example guy,’ who always gets it done in the weight room and at practice.

But perhaps the most rare type of leader is the mentor figure. He is mature beyond his years, cares deeply about those around him, and his words are respected. That’s exactly who Ide is.

You won’t catch Ide yelling to motivate his team, or saying catchy one-liners at the school pep rally. What Ide prides himself on is being able to pull guys aside and talk to them individually. Whether it’d be listening to a player's concerns, or giving them constructive thoughts, Ide always shows his teammates that he’s there for them.

In many ways, Ide’s playing style is a direct reflection of who he is as a person. Game in and game out he’s racking up assists, offensive rebounds, and playing gritty defense. Rarely will he take a lot of shots. It’s not a glamorous role, but Ide could care less about being glamorous.

”I never wanted to be known as the guy that plays selfish,” Ide said. “I’ll walk around, and older people will come up and say, ‘I love your game Weston.’ That means a lot coming from them.”

Ide is always looking to represent the program in the best light possible

There’s no doubt that in his heart, basketball is one of the most important things he’s done in his life. It’s the game he’s dedicated himself to essentially since he could walk. The big question for him going forward is, is this the last week of competitive basketball that he ever plays?

The reality of college basketball is they take an incredibly miniscule percentage of high school players; Less so than just about every major college sport. So even for an All State performer like Ide, he’s still had to scratch and claw just to get some looks from schools.

If you were to see Ide in person, you would see a well built 6-foot-4, 200-pound athlete, with still plenty of room to grow. But at his position, power forward, he’s just not quite the lengthy 6-foot-7 and above body type that major college programs desire.

Perhaps what Ide can bring most to a college team is relentless work ethic, and an off the charts basketball IQ. His head coach, Mario Mengarelli, said that Ide is the smartest player he’s ever coached. 

One option that Ide is seriously considering is Columbia Basin College. He said that he likes the class they’re putting together, and he enjoys working with their head coach, Bryan Edwards. He also likes that Columbia Basin has a high rate of sending players to four year programs.

Combine that with his undeniable desire to continue playing basketball, and it might be a perfect fit.

The future appears bright for whatever path Ide decides to go down, but for now his focus is 100% on helping the Zillah Leopards win a third state title in four years.

“I really want to win it for this community. It would mean the world to me to have two rings on my fingers,” Ide said.

Just because he doesn’t have the most flashy playing style, doesn’t mean Ide won’t be easy to find on the court this week. He’s fairly easy to spot with his long, dirty blonde locks, and signature grizzly beard.

First up on the gauntlet for Zillah is a Wednesday, 9 a.m. matchup at the Yakima Sundome, against powerhouse King’s.

No matter what happens in the state tournament, Ide said that this Zillah team is a family, and nothing is ever going to change that.