Kristian Pihl and Madison Rose have been four year members of the varsity basketball teams. It is their last year playing basketball and their season is slowly coming to an end.
Current: You have two more home games left, how does that make you feel? Madison Rose: “It makes me realize how short life is and how fast this season has gone. Perhaps I have taken it for granted and now that it’s coming to an end I’m realizing it more and am trying to embrace it.” Kristian Pihl: “It feels unreal. I just have never really thought that this would ever come to an end, it’s hitting me really hard.”
Current: What has been your favorite part of your basketball experience? Madison Rose: “Without a doubt it’s been the experience with the team, both on and off the court. It’s more of the behind the scenes stuff and the bonding.” Kristian Pihl: “My favorite is for sure the process. From me learning where success comes from to me learning the recipe of success.”
Current: What has been the hardest part of basketball that you have been “wowed” and “proud” that you accomplished? Kristian PIhl: “The unrealistic goals that I set for myself that I have now reached. I think if I was to tell my sixth grade self where I am and how far I have made it and pushed myself I would have never believed myself.” Madison Rose: “I would say the transition of taking on something that was a lot harder than I’m used to. The transition from middle school to high school was big, it was a lot more expectations and being in a position that I wasn’t really necessarily prepared for was tough.”
Current: What advice do you have for the young ones on the team and the upcoming athletes? Madison Rose: ”Enjoy being a part of a team and something greater than yourself, and giving it your all at all times.” Kristian PIhl: “Don’t take anything for granted, enjoy what you have while you have it. In a blink of an eye it will be your senior night. Just go and do everything at 110%.”
The Kings will play Glennallen this upcoming Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
Varsity head coach Erik Stockhausen invited Glennallen for many reasons, such as he used to coach for Glennallen for six years before coming to Ketchikan and is good friends with the current Glennallen head coach.
“We get home games and they get a good experience,” said Stockhausen. “Most 2A teams in the state of Alaska don’t really get that.”
Senior Chris Lee (2019-2020) is at 1,715 points only 73 away from all time Kayhi leading scorer Steve Ortiz (1703-1704) who scored 1,788 points by the end of his senior year. Lee is projected to pass Ortiz by the end of his high school basketball season.
Stockhausen isn’t too worried about Lee passing Ortiz and possibly hitting the 2000 mark as much as he is about getting the entire team ready for regions and possibly state.
“Getting ready for March is much more important than any individual thing,” said Stockhausen.
Senior Kristian Pihl is excited to have a couple more home games.
“It’s two more home games to play, “ said Pihl. “Home games are always nice.”
The Kayhi Kings (9-6, 1-1) are hosting the Bears (4-12, 0-2) this Friday and Saturday. The Kings went 4-1 last year against the Bears.
Senior Kristian Pihl is hungry to take two wins this weekend against the Bears and to improve overall.
“I want two wins this weekend,” said Pihl. “I want our team to improve everywhere and to dominate.”
The Bears are led by Cooper Kriegmont who scored 30 points in a win over Chugiak earlier this season. The Bears are currently riding a 6-game losing streak, including two home losses over Thunder Mountain last weekend.
This is the first meeting between the two teams this season.
The Bears won the Region title over the Kings in 2017 and 2018 and won state in 2016. The Kings are both defending 2019 Region V Champions and State Champions.
The Kings beat Metlakatla both Thursday and Friday night. The Kings beat the Braves in a close game on Thursday night 56-55 in Metlakatla. They then traveled back home where they played their second game against the Braves and won 61-42.
Senior Kristian Pihl said he liked the way the team stayed together and said that it was a good learning weekend.
“It was definitely a learning curve, I liked the way we all stuck together,” said Pihl. “It definitely was a bump that we got through which is getting us stronger and ready for the rest of the season.”
The Lady Kings kept the streak alive against the Lady Falcons and are now 25-0 since 2015.
Both games were very close but the Kings ended both with a win, Fridays game 41-35 and Saturdays game 46-43.
Senior captain Nadire Zhuta feels that the weekend was overall good but a little stressful at times and made her and the team a little agitated.
“It was a good weekend, Thunder Mountain was hungry and they came in with a goal to beat us and end their losing streak,” said Zhuta. “It was a little nerve wracking at times during the game when it got to crunch time and they were up or close to us.”
Coach Kelly Smith feels good about the weekend but knows there needs more practice and needs to get better.
“It was a good weekend overall but we have a lot of stuff your ladys need to improve on to become more successful,” said Smith.