By Rudy Pankow
It’s that time of year in Ketchikan, where basketball is king, and the Kings are ready to extend their rule over the region.
Last season both girls and boys swept the Southeast Region V Tournament.
Both teams return an important core of players from last years State qualifiers.
The girls took 5th at State last year and are led by returning all conference players Eliah Anderson and Lexi Biggerstaff.
This duo, along with senior guard Charley Edwardson, have the Kings eyeing bigger things this season.
The Lady Kings are looking for their third straight region championship.
The boys took 6th at State last year and are returning with 2015 Coach of the year Eric Stockhausen, State all-tourney player Mo Bullock, and three point contest winner Matthew Standley.
The team is looking for their second consecutive region championship.
Last year both teams competed in the Region V championship against Thunder Mountain.
It was the first region championship in 11 years for the Kings and the first for Coach Stockhausen.
This season, both teams are very stacked with seniors. The Lady Kings have seniors Anderson, Biggerstaff, Charley Edwardson, and Courtney Kemble.
The Kings have Bullock, Standley, Nathan Bonk, Isaac Johnson, Jahlil Smith, Jason James, and Gallat Tut.
The Kings’ main goal this season is to win State according to Bullock.
“First year going to State is just to get there, second is to win it,” said Bullock.
They Kings fell short at State last year to East(75-68) and West Valley(63-56). Bullock explains that the biggest problem to overcome this season is playing as a family not as a team.
“A team plays for themselves and family plays as one,” Bullock said.
The Lady Kings are searching for that final piece of chemistry, but when they find it they will go the distance according Anderson.
“That final piece of when all five members come together and play as something bigger than themselves,” said Anderson.
The big opponents for the Lady Kings this season are West Valley with division one commit Ruthy Hebard(6’3), and Wasilla with a deep bench. Last year the Lady Kings lost to Dimond(70-46) and Colony(53-48) at State. However the Lady Kings have a new way to see the court this season.
“We want to dictate the game to our pace as well as finding a new defensive strategy,” Anderson said.