No. 8 Kayhi Kings (23-8) are state champs once again after beating No. 3 Dimond 57-53 in overtime.
Junior Chris Lee dropped 28 points including a game changing three-pointer at the end of the second quarter. The Kings trailed by 15 in the second quarter but Lee’s buzzer-beater capped a 7-0 run to give Kayhi momentum.
Junior Kristian Pihl hit his first and only field goal in overtime with only 44.2 seconds remaining, putting Kayhi up 53-50.
“I told myself I had to hit this, then after it went in, the arena erupted,” said Pihl. “So many people were cheering for us over the Anchorage school of 2000, just a few miles away. I really felt the moment was ours.”
Senior Marcus Lee had 14 points and six-assists.
This is Kayhi’s seventh time winning a state title, the last time was in 1974, 45 years ago.
Both Marcus and Chris Lee are two of the ten players that were chosen for the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska all-tournament team.
The Kayhi Lady Kings went 0-2 at state. No. 8 Lady Kings competed against No. 1 Dimond Lynx in the first round. Kayhi fell to the Lady Lynx 66-43, then were placed in the consolation semifinals against No. 5 seed West Anchorage. The Lady Kings trailed 13-10 at the end of the first quarter but fell to the Lady Eagles 56-37.
The last time Kayhi has won a state tournament game was three years ago against West Valley for third place.
The Kings finished the season 14-13 and will lose three seniors from the varsity squad- Ashley Huffine, Emmie Smith, and Payton Simmons.
The Kings (16-8, 6-2) swept Thunder Mountain (11-15, 4-4) in their last 2 home games of the year. Kayhi beat TM 62-37 on Friday then again on Saturday 61-46.
Saturday night, senior ER Caparas started the game with two three-pointers for the Kings. Junior Chris Lee finished with 26 points and hit 3 consecutive three-pointers late in the third period.
Beating TM on Saturday officially put the Kings in the No. 1 seed for the Region V tournament. The last time the Kings were ranked No. 1 for Regions, this years seniors were freshmen.
“We knew we were already going to be number one seed because of the point differential we had, but it helped solidify that spot after sweeping Thunder Mountain,” said senior Cody Kemble. “It was nice to finally get one seed after not having it for the past 2 years. We’re setting ourselves up for success.”
Saturday-Kayhi: Chris Lee 26; Marcus Lee 6; ER Caparas 6; Robert Hilton-Seludo 6; Cody Kemble 5; Kyle Smith 4; Jake Taylor 3; Kristian Pihl 3; Gavin Salazar 2.
Even though the Lady Kings went 1-3 against Juneau Douglas this season, the message has been sent. In their final regular season game against the Bears, the Lady Kings got the momentum rolling before Regions, and won 36-30.
“Finally beating JD and going home with a win gives us that confidence we need going into regions,” said senior Ashley Huffine.
Kayhi dropped the first game of the series 56-38. Caitlin Pusich led the Bears with 26 points.
Twenty-four hours later, the story was different.
Junior Lianne Guevarra and freshman Shaelynn Mendoza shut down Pusich, holding her to 5 points.
“Lianne and Shaelynn took on a huge role guarding Pusich and did an amazing job,” Huffine said.
Kayhi will most likely be the second seed in the Region V Tournament, and they have now defeated both teams this season.
“I’m excited to see what we can do in Sitka next week,” said Huffine.
Lianne Guevarra 10, Madison Rose 9, Dyllan Borer 6, Ashley Huffine 6, Shaelynn Mendoza 3, Janae Rhoads 2, Nadire Zhuta 2.
Caitlin Pusich 26, Sadie Tuckwood 8, Alxyn Bohulano 8, Kiana Potter 6, Janae Pusich 2, Rebekah Grube 2, Chloe McAdams 2, Skyler Hickok 2.
Shaelynn Mendoza 11, Lianne Guevarra 8, Janae Rhoads 8, Ashley Huffine 5, Madison Rose 2, Dyllan Borer 2.
Alyxn Bohulano 13, Sadie Tuckwood 6, Caitlin Pusich 5, Janae Pusich 4, Skyer Hickok 2.
The Kayhi Lady Kings (10-9, 4-2) travel to Juneau Douglas this weekend to take on the Crimson Bears (10-7, 3-1).
Kayhi is one game behind the Bears in the conference standings, but Kayhi has lost to JDHS twice already this season, and is 0-4 in their last four games at JD in the regular season.
“I’m excited to play them again,” senior Ashley Huffine said. “It’s been hard to adjust without Payton and now Emmie, but I think we can get it done.”
The number one seed at the Region Tournament has the advantage to only have to play two games to become Region Champions, and they get the first day off.
“I think it’s cool that we gave a chance to get first seed,” Huffine said. “Coming into the season no one saw us as any sort of threat and now we’re playing for first seed.”
By Cody Kemble
22 straight dominating performances. The Lady Kings increased their win streak against Thunder Mountain this weekend with a pair of wins.
Just as the Lady Kings were starting to get used to playing without Payton Simmons, another senior was sidelined with injury. Emmie Smith dislocated her shoulder in practice on Feb. 12.
The injuries didn’t seem to affect the Lady Kings. On Friday night the Lady Kings raised money for cancer with their annual Pink Night, and won 53-30.
Saturday was Senior Night. Payton Simmons, Emmie Smith, Ashley Huffine, and Nora Agoney all started. Agoney has spent most of this season on JV, but got the Varsity start for Senior Night.
Kayhi ended the emotional night on a high note with a 45-35 win.
Kayhi: Ashley Huffine 16, Madison Rose 9, Lianne Guevarra 7, Jenae Rhoads 6, Nadire Zhuta 6, Dyllan Borer 6, Paige Boehlert 3.
Thunder Mountain: Taz Hauck 8, Riley Traxler 6, Nina Fenumiai 5,Kira Frommherz 4, Charlee Lewis 2, Sydney Strong 2, Khaye Garcia, 1,Neal Garcia 1, Grace Sikes 1.
Kayhi: Ashley Huffine 16, Lianne Guevarra 9, Madison Rose 8, Shaelynn Mendoza 4, Jenae Rhoads 4, Dyllan Borer 2, Nora Agoney 2.
Thunder Mountain: Charlee Lewis 12, Neal Garcia 8, Taz Hauck 4, Nina Fenumiai 4, Khaye Garcia 3, Riley Traxler 2, Sydney Strong 2.
Three Region championships ago, Emmie Smith and Payton Simmons were freshmen on JV, Ashley Huffine was enrolled at Klawock High School, and Nora Agoney wasn’t even playing basketball.
This Saturday will be their final game at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
“It’s bittersweet, we’re getting close to the end,” said Smith. “I’m very grateful for everything that has happened and the memories that I have made.”
Head coach Kelly Smith has coached the girls throughout each of their Kayhi basketball careers.
“These girls have worked hard in practice and in games. They represent well on the road and in the community,” said Smith. “Those traits carry on a strong Lady King tradition. I am proud of them for helping to keep those things alive in our program.”
The Lady Kings (8-10) will look to extend their 20-game win streak against Thunder Mountain. Kayhi has already beat the Falcons four times this season. Varsity will play at 7:15 in the Clarke Cochrane Gym.
On Friday night, the Lady Kings will be holding their annual “Pink Night” to promote breast cancer awareness. When Kayhi takes the court they will be wearing their all pink uniforms.
“It’s something great we do every year” said senior Emmie Smith. “It is a really fun game and it is a good feeling seeing all the people who come out to support our team and a good cause.”
There will be pink long sleeve and T-shirts for sale during the game, or they can be bought from any Lady Kings player.
All proceeds go to the First City Council on Cancer.
Before Friday nights game, the Kayhi Pep Band seniors will be recognized as well.
On Saturday night when Kayhi takes on the Falcons again, Kayhi Dance and Cheer teams will all be wearing 1 Billion Rising Revolution shirts to support the movement.
The 1 Billion Rising Revolution is a movement that was started in 2012 to end violence against women. The event is held in February each year.
Prior to the game on Saturday, the Lady Kings seniors will be recognized.
Lady King seniors:
Pep Band seniors:
John Luke Calderon
Tarrant Sasser contributed
It’s crunch time.
Kayhi (12-8) will play Mt. Edgecumbe (4-10) this weekend to secure the number one seed in the region.
Junior Kristian Pihl said that the Kings cannot overlook the Braves.
“We can’t underestimate them,” said Pihl. “They are only 3a, but they still have a strong team. We can try some of our strategies, but we need to keep it locked in on defense.”
Key to the game:
Focus, this weekends games don’t count toward seeding in the region tournament or state tournament. Kayhi can still use these games to clean up any bad habits, though, like their trend of losing the first game of all their away trips.
Regions is also being held at Edgecumbe this year, and playing on their court can give Kayhi an advantage over Juneau Douglas and Thunder Mountain.
Senior Cody Kemble explains the advantage and importance of these games. “First of all we need to end the streak, it’s about time we win the first game on an away trip,” Kemble said. “This isn’t just a normal game though we get to play on the same court as regions and we get to practice some of our new strategies we’ll use against Thunder Mountain and JD at regions.”