The Lady Kings have always been focused on one game at a time. After upsetting Juneau-Douglas twice to win a 6th straight Region V championship, the focus now shifts to a more daunting task – defending state champ Dimond.
The Lady Lynx (22-2) are led by 3-time Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year Alissa Pili, who will play at USC next season. She scored 22 points and had 20 rebounds in last year’s state title win over Wasilla and has terrorized opponents from every spot on the floor this season.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
After an 0-3 start to the season against Wasilla (No. 6 seed in state tournament) No. 2 West Valley and No. 5 West Anchorage, the Lady Kings showed resilience and the type of grit one would expect from an underdog. Kayhi knows what to expect from the best in the state and is peaking at the right time. While the Lady Lynx are formidable, they aren’t invincible, just ask 3A foe Anchorage Christian who beat Dimond 71-59 in February at Dimond’s own tournament by using a smaller, gritty guard to defend Pili rather than a traditional center.
The last time Kayhi played the underdog against a Pili-led Dimond team at state, senior Ashley Huffine was a freshman…at Klawock high school.
The Lady Kings battled the favored Lynx and trailed by 2 with less than four minutes remaining when senior Eliah Anderson was undercut after stealing a pass. She chipped a tooth on the floor and was on the sideline as then-freshman Payton Simmons hit one of two free-throws as her sub to cut the lead to 1.
Dimond went on to win and finish second to Wasilla in the state championship. Kayhi then beat West Valley, who was led by current University of Oregon stand-out Ruthy Hebard, for 3rd place.
The Lady Kings will take on Dimond Thursday at 8 a.m.