The numbers speak for themselves, while the Kayhi boys basketball team gets more clout in the community, the Lady Kings have been far more dominant in Region V play. The girls have dominated the region for the past five years (44-10) and are going for their fifth consecutive region championship, a Kayhi record. While the Lady Kings have been undoubtedly exceptional in Region V play, seven of their ten losses have come at the hands of Juneau-Douglas in the past two years. At one point last year, the Lady Kings were 1-5 against JD before winning two games in a row against them to claim their fourth consecutive region championship. The Lady Kings will have to put their longtime rival away in order to complete their record setting streak. Senior and three-time region champion Brittany Slick compared her first region tournament to what’s about to be her last. “Going from only playing four or five minutes to never coming out of the game, I’ve experienced both sides of the floor and I’m really excited to compete in the tournament one last time,” said Slick. “In my first region tournament, I remember being so nervous for my starting five players and now I’m nervous for myself.” Slick knows what’s at stake for the Lady Kings, and wants to bring the championship to Kayhi for a fifth time. A championship this year would also mean a career sweep of the Region V tourney for Slick. “I really want to go out with one last region title and complete my four years as a region champion,” said Slick. “That puts a lot of pressure on me, but also excites me. I believe in my team and can’t wait to go for this last title.” Slick is more experienced than any other player in the region tournament, and offered some advice to her younger teammates. “Don’t let the crowd and the pressure affect your play,” said Slick. “There are thousands of people that show up and pep clubs boo you and people talk smack saying you shouldn’t win or the refs are unfair. You just need to block all of that out and focus on your goal. Leave it all out on the floor, this is what you’ve been working towards the whole season and this is the last time to give it all you’ve got. No excuses, no regrets, just enjoy the heck out of it.” Slick knows what the historic streak would mean for the Lady Kings, but only lets the pressure motivate her. “Of course, it’s a lot of pressure to be expected to finish out a regions streak but it’s also a really exciting opportunity,” said Slick. “If anything, it makes me work harder and want it more than anyone else on the floor.”
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, the Lady Kings were sitting as the second seed going into the Region Tournament, 1-4 on the year against rival Juneau-Douglas. Five games and four wins later, Kayhi upset the Crimson Bears on their home floor winning their fourth straight Region V title. Seniors Brittany Slick and Hannah Maxwell look to lead Kayhi to a fifth straight starting tonight at 6:30 against Juneau-Douglas. “It’s been really important for me to have Brittany there,” said Maxwell. “Whenever things start to go wrong she has always been able to step up and be a great leader. We have one last region tournament together so we’d like to go out with a bang.” Slick said Maxwell’s ability to lead and motivate the team had been very important this year. “Hannah brings energy and fire to our team that we need especially on the defensive end,” said Slick. “Without her, our defense would suck. It’s very nice to have someone like her that is very motivated to win and keeps us all focused on the task at hand. Junior Payton Simmons said she is excited to help Slick try for a 4th straight championship. “Brittany and I have been friends since our young childhood,” said Simmons. “We’ve been playing basketball since pee-wee. Being able to be apart of that is an indescribable feeling and I’m extremely blessed to go through the experience with not only my teammate but my best friend.” Kayhi is 2-2 vs. Juneau this season.
The Kayhi film crew is working hard to produce the KPU livestream for the Region V Tournament this year. Ketchikan School District Technology Coordinator, Bill Whicker, runs the Kayhi film crew which is a group made up of four Kayhi students and two KIC grant students who have already graduated. The filmers are the backbone of the livestreams – their jobs range from running cables to filming the events. Each crew member gets paid by KPU and averages $10-$12 an hour. Whicker explained all of the nitty-gritty details that are often overlooked.
“We have to produce 30 games in 5 days,” said Whicker. “That requires a ton of time and work.” Whicker talked about the newly-implemented “pay-for-view” system. To watch the livestreams viewers pay a fee, just like they would if they were to attend the games in person. A live stream day pass is $7, and a tournament pass is $31. The pay-for-view system has already brought in around $2000 from the Regions Tournament so far and will help to fund the film crew program. Kayhi senior, and two-year film crew member, Adrian Ronquillo, explained that the pay-for-view system makes the whole event more professional and more “ESPN-like”. “KPU has made the tournament available to the whole world,” said Ronquillo. “We didn’t use to be backed by KPU, so now that we are everything is taken more seriously. It’s a lot more professional.” Whicker hopes to expand the film crew and eventually make it an official class. “We’re always looking for people interested in being apart of what we’re doing,” said Whicker. “We’re looking to expand our program, whether that means not only getting paid for the work you do for streaming or events or things like that but also maybe getting some credit in the future, like a course credit.” Ronquillo said he is excited that he gets to be apart of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the region tournament. “Regions is going to be a lot of work, especially on Friday and Saturday,” said Ronquillo. “I am going to have to work hard but I get paid, get free passes to all the games, and even access to the hospitality room’s free food. It’s definitely going to be fun.”
The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears blew out the Thunder Mountain Lady Falcons 56-27, in game one of the 4A Girls Region V Tournament last night at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. The basketball action continues this morning, starting with the Petersburg Lady Vikings facing off against the Haines Lady Glacier Bears at 11:30 in the 2A girls bracket. Following the 2A girls game, the defending 2A Region V Champions, the Petersburg Boys (5-13), are in an uphill battle defend their title.
All Games Today: Petersburg Lady Vikings vs. Haines Lady Glacier Bears @11:30 a.m. Petersburg Vikings vs. Craig Panthers @1:15 p.m. Craig Lady Panthers vs. Wrangell Lady Wolves @3:00 p.m. Haines Glacier Bears vs. Wrangell Wolves @4:45 p.m. Kayhi Lady Kings vs. Juneau-Douglas Lady Crimson Bears @6:30 p.m. Kayhi Kings vs. Thunder Mountain Falcons @8:15 p.m.
The Kayhi Kings beat Juneau-Douglas in the first game of the boys Region V tournament, with a score of 58-54. This was another great chapter in these rival teams, with both teams putting all they had to secure this win. Kayhi led 16-15 after the first but trailed 26-22 at the half. Kayhi outscored the Bears 27-11 in the third quarter and never trailed. The Bears pulled to within 3 with 5.3 seconds left, but Chris Lee iced the game from the free throw line. The Kings will play Thunder Mountain (12-10, 5-3) tonight at 8:15 pm.