Category Archives: Region V 2020

Leading the Way

Sullivan Schulz
Staff Editor 

It is said that captains are supposed to be the coach on the floor, or the mediators who bring it all together. 

Senior Nadire Zhuta said it is a big responsibility.

“In basketball I feel like I have a great responsibility to the team,” said Zhuta. “I have to make sure everyone does their role and make sure that they have the right tools to get that done.”

Zhuta has played basketball for the Lady Kings all four years. She is a captain along with her fellow senior teammates Madison Rose and Lianna Guevarra. Zhuta said she learned how to be a leader by following the example set by others like Hannah Maxwell (class of 2018) when she was younger.
“She always put the team before herself and she always played 100% to the best of her ability,” said Zhuta. “Hannah is someone I always think about when I think of a leader.”

How do you lead?
One of the big questions that comes up in basketball is what ideals do you follow? Do actions speak louder than words? For Kristain Pihl your actions are the most important. 

“Captains don’t have to be the most skillful player on the team, but there must be a high level of skill there,” said Pihl. “Giving the players someone to look up to and inspire to be is important, also giving everyone a level of comfortability is key. No one likes to bark orders at others and I think the best way to make everyone work together is to help them respect and want to play for each other.”

Who comes first, the team or the coach? As a captain there’s a relationship that is made between you and the players. It’s important to be someone the players want to play for and respect. The other side is the coach. The coach puts you in place to connect the team and lead on another level that they can’t connect with the players at. As a captain are you looking to satisfy the coach or the players. For Madison Rose building trust is the key to a functioning team.

“Having trust is the key to teamwork. Without a level of trust the team would fall apart and it’d be a mess,” said Rose. “Connecting with the players is very important to me.”

Rose also said that being the bridge from players to coach builds a better connection. 

“The coach chose us to lead for a reason. He trusts us and sees the players follow something in us,” said Rose. “Respecting the coach and relaying the opinion of the team is key.” 

Why do we choose leaders?
Sports analysts say that captains are chosen based on skill, motivation, and responsibility. Boys basketball coach Eric Stockhausen said that he chooses captains based on the same characteristics. 

“I choose captain because I see the team look up to them,” said Stockhausen. “They inspire and motivate the team with their skill and actions and they all recognize the responsibility and impact they have.” 

Kayhi’s Top 3 Clutch Moments

Dyllan Borer
Staff Writer 

Last postseason was big for clutch moments, especially 3-pointers late in games. But not all the big moments have come on the basketball court. 

#1 Shaelyn Mendoza buzzer-beater

The situation
2019 Region Championship
Juneau Douglas 51
Kayhi 49
4.7 seconds left.

The moment
The No. 2 seeded Lady Kings beat Thunder Mountain on the first day of the tournament to set up a match with the Lady Bears. Kayhi was just 1-3 against JD during the regular season and was trying to pull the upset. 

Madison Rose inbounded the ball to Ashley Huffine. Huffine went coast to coast then kicked it out to freshman Shaelyn Mendoza. Mendoza sank the corner 3 to send the Lady Kings to the championship. 

#2 Kristian Pihl 3 in overtime 

The situation
State Championship 
Dimond 50
Kayhi 50
46 seconds left in overtime 

The moment  
Junior Kristian Pihl was one of Kayhi’s offensive threats and was 0-6 from the 3 point line. Pihl drained a three with 46 seconds left to go in overtime and it ended up being his only points of the game. It changed the momentum of the game and Kayhi won 57-53.  

#3 Payton Simmons walk off at state

The situation
2018 State Tournament Semi-Finals 
Thunder Mountain 6
Kayhi 5
7th inning
2 outs 
0-2 count

The moment  
Kayhi beat Homer the first day of the state tournament, then played North Pole on day two and won. Kayhi played Thunder Mountain on day three of the tournament in the semi finals. Kayhi was 1-3 against Thunder Mountain in conference play. Bottom of the seventh and Junior Payton Simmons took the first two strikes looking with the game on the line. Simmons sent the next pitch over the left field fence putting the kings up one to win the game. 

Other Clutch Moments 

Sully Schulz regions

The situation
Region Wrestling Tournament
Region Finals Match
Ketchikan vs. Juneau for the Region V Title
If Schulz gets pinned, the streak likely ends. 

The moment
Senior Sully Schulz was seeded No. 1 in the 171 weight class. Schulz was (0-7) against Juneau wrestlers.  A reversal by Schulz with 30 seconds left puts him ahead and his opponent on his back. He then pinned him in the first period with 7 seconds left which allowed Kayhi to win its 12th consecutive region title and ending his losing streak against Juneau wrestlers. 

Mark Jasper penalty kick at state

The situation
State 3rd place championship 
Kayhi 5
Thunder Mountain 4
Penalty kick shootout

The moment  
Senior Mark Jasper approaches the line to take his shot. A miss by Jasper puts Thunder Mountain in a good spot to tie the game. A goal will win it for the Kings. Jasper approaches the ball points his toe down and sinks it in the  bottom left corner of the net.

Regions: Do’s and Don’ts

Noelani Tillson
Staff Writer 

When traveling to regions as a Kayhi student, here are some Do’s and Don’ts. 


  1. Stay healthy: No one wants to get sick while traveling away from home. 
  2. Watch your language: The cheerleading team is judged based on how positive and engaged they keep their crowd. 
  3. Set the example: You represent Ketchikan and Kayhi. If you trash the church or wherever you are staying, what school is going to want to open its doors to us next time? 
  4. Budget wisely: We are there for a week, don’t run out of money. You’ll be starving when we get home. “Bumin’ money really ain’t funny”- Leah Call
  5. Have tons of positive energy: Your energy helps the teams win and just makes everyone feel good. 


  1. Don’t be disrespectful: No one wants to hear a snotty Ketchikan kid. We want to be welcomed back again in 3 years. 
  2. Don’t get sent home: You don’t want to be known as the person who got sent home from the most exciting games we have all year. 
  3. Don’t go off by yourself: Stay safe, anything can happen. We don’t need S.W.A.T teams out looking for you. 
  4. Don’t forget to ask permission: Chaperones don’t need to worry about you. We all want to have fun on this trip. 
  5. Don’t antagonize the other team: We don’t want to get the teams in trouble because you’re screaming about bear meat.

Where it All Started

Nadire Zhuta
Staff Editor

Winning Region championships is only a recent habit for the Lady Kings. Juneau has dominated the Region with 22 Region titles since 1984. Kayhi has only 12. Since 2014, Kayhi has reversed that trend and has won six straight Region titles, one shy of Juneau’s streak of seven consecutive from 2002-2008. It all started with a core of underdogs that changed the culture for the Lady Kings. 

Catching up with the Starters
The point guard was Charley Edwardson. She was the “floor general” of the team and was “unpressable” according to coach Kelly Smith. She would always get the ball down the court and make sure her players were where they needed to be. 

Edwardson coached the Lady Kings JV/C team in 2018. She is now focused on herself and her studies. 

Eliah Anderson was a dominant forward, a crafty player, and an impact player. She attacked the basket and finished very well.  By the end of her senior year Anderson surpassed the 1000-point mark. 

Anderson is currently a senior at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan studying psychology, neuroscience and french. Her career goals are to pursue a PhD in School Psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology. 

Anderson’s goals in her high school days were to go and play college basketball but could not because of a herniated disc in her back. She has since had back surgery but unfortunately her days of competitive sports are over. She hopes to maybe coach one day but right now is focused on her studies. 

What Anderson misses most about playing basketball is the environment that Kayhi and the community brought.

“I miss playing in such a supportive atmosphere. I don’t think there is any other place in Alaska or even the country that supports girls basketball like Kayhi does. The pep band, pep club, cheerleaders, highlights, fans, [they] all contribute to make it a truly magical environment,” said Anderson. “It was special to be a part of  and it is special to go back at Christmas and watch the traditions continue.”

A.J Dela Cruz was a year younger than the other four starters and became the important bridge between the core of four that started the streak, and the future that continued it. She was the shooter/backup point guard. Dela Cruz was confident with the ball, gave the team a second ball handler but everyone knew she could shoot the ball, she was quick and had a shot both outside of the three point line and a couple feet inside. 

Dela Cruz is a junior at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. and is majoring in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. Dela Cruz ended up being the only one of these five starters to cut down the net all four years of high school. 

“I don’t think there are any words adequate enough to describe what it’s like to win a Region V title. After the first one, you just want to keep it going, especially at home,” said Dela Cruz. “That feeling of cutting down the net really never gets old.” 

Lexi Biggerstaff was a dynamic forward, she worked both inside and outside the paint. She attacked the basket very well just like Anderson and it was hard for her defender to guard her. 

She is currently a senior at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington where she plans on graduating college in the spring of 2020 with a degree in Communications (Concentration Media in Society).

After high school she continued her basketball career for two years at Everett Community College and finished her last two years of college basketball at Northwest University. 

Biggerstaff said what made this group of five girls so special was how close they were prior to high school and their common mind frame and goals.  

We had a tight bond, because we played, traveled and trained with each other for years before high school even began. We understood what it took to make it how far we did. We had resilience and a lot of exposure to how much effort and hard work it takes,” said Biggerstaff “We all had one goal. We were a family.”

Courtney Kemble was the voice and rock of this group, the “hypeman” according to Dela Cruz. She played the post, but stretched defenses with her 3-point shot. Her clutch free throws in overtime against Thunder Mountain helped deliver the second-straight title for the Lady Kings in 2015. 

Kemble is currently a senior at Washington State which is located in Pullman, Washington. studying accounting. She plans on graduating in December 2020. 

After high school Kemble continued her basketball career at Centralia College for two years then decided to focus on her studies and transferred to Washington State. 

Kemble said that it was easy playing for the girls next to her because of the hard work they had put into it.

 “We spent so much time working hard together, it was easy to play for the girl next to you. She had gone through the same stuff you had.” 

No one believed that this group could have won regions especially as young as they were when they did. 

“Everyone said it was going to be Thunder Mountain, and that a bunch of sophomores were not going to stop them,” said Kemble. “After that win, we set the expectation to keep winning. We had to work hard to keep the standards high.” 

After this core five group graduated everyone had their doubts about the Lady Kings program but Kemble and her crew knew that the Lady Kings program would be just fine.

“When we left, I know a lot of people had their doubts,” said Kemble. “I can speak for all of us seniors, we never did.”

Advice to younger girls
Focus on supporting one another on and off the court. Everyone has an equally valuable role on the team and true greatness is achieved when everyone does their job and helps bring out the best in their teammates. The scoreboard doesn’t measure heart and teamwork so no matter the outcome, you guys should be proud of continuing the legacy of Lady Kings basketball.” – Eliah Anderson

“Honestly, work hard, trust each other, and have some fun. There’s going to be distractions and people are going to talk, but none of that should matter when you step onto the court.” – A.J. Dela Cruz. 

“The best advice I could give to you is do the dirty work. Get in the gym more than anyone else, because inch by inch it’ll pay off in your individual game, your team and in life. Push through, be gritty and keep going even if your mind says to stop.”  – Lexi Biggerstaff

“Play together and for each other. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Have fun, and work as hard as you can. You’re going to miss this, so take it all in.” – Courtney Kemble 

Lady Kings Region titles by year
 (1985,1993, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

The host with the most…Ketchikan?

Nadire Zhuta
Staff Editor 

It is no surprise that Kayhi students and the Ketchikan community would rather have the Region V Tournament at home but when it is not at home a majority of the students prefer to have the tournament in Sitka over Juneau. Maybe it’s the rivalry, maybe it’s the convenience. 

“Everything is so close,” said Pep Band member Jalina Williams. “You can just walk over the bridge and you’re downtown. Everything is there, so it is easy access.”

According to Google Maps, Juneau-Douglas High School is 7.3 miles from the Breeze In Valley location which is one of the premier food destinations for traveling students, whereas Mt. Edgecombe High School is just 1.2 miles from downtown. Even if the weather is good, there’s no chance you’re walking 7.3 miles from the high school to the valley in Juneau. 

Safeway, The Landing, My Place Hotel and A&P are all within a mile of Kayhi. 

In addition to the games themselves, other difficulties arise when the Region Tournament is hosted in Sitka or Juneau. When the dance team has its adjudications at Thunder Mountain, supporters have to travel 8.7 miles from the JD gym to support their classmates. In Sitka, it’s a 2-mile trip. 

For the Pep Band, Pep Club and Cheerleaders different gyms mean different sound waves. Williams said depending on the gym space and height, how the sound travels to people is different. 

“It’s louder in Edgecumbe because it is a way bigger space and it’s a echo gym,” said Williams. “Then with JD it is loud as well but it is more constricting in a sense because everyone is on the balcony and the sound just travels differently to people.”

Junior Tyler Slick said every gym has different floors and lighting.

“Our floor is clean and our lighting is very bright and nice,” said Slick. “Edgecumbes’ floor is nice and clean but their lighting isn’t very bright it’s dim and the Juneau floor is really slippery and the lighting is very dim and yellowish.” 

Senior Kristian Pihl has been to all three locations and said that Ketchikan has the best environment and that Kayhi students and Ketchikan members make it exciting and fun but if he had to choose between Edgecumbe and Juneau he would have to choose Edgecumbe because “it’s a neutral environment.” 

“Ketchikan has a better environment because we just put more time and money into basketball as a community,” said Pihl. “The community and students like to watch basketball and just create an environment that’s so much fun to play in.”