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Kayhi to play J-D Crimson Bears: On Friday, Kayhi will play in its first of four consecutive games against Juneau-Douglas
Kayhi junior Cody Kemble gets a rebound over Thunder Mountain's Vaipuna Tautaiolepo in the third quarter on Feb. 9 at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Photo by Charley Starr

Daily News Sports Editor

Friday evening will be the first of two consecutive rivalry weekends for the Ketchikan High School boys basketball team, as the Kings host the Crimson Bears from Juneau-Douglas High School at the Clarke Cochane Gymnasium.

It will be the first meeting between the Kings and Crimson Bears this season, as postseason and Southeast conference implications come into focus.

Kayhi head coach Eric Stockhausen has defense a priority this week on defense and said his team’s defensive focus has faded recently.

“We had been playing defensively very well for a three-week stretch, and then not so much,” Stockhausen said after Thursday’s practice. “We need to get back on that.”

The Kings are coming off a pair of tough games at home last weekend against Thunder Mountain High School that could have resulted in two conference losses.

Kayhi junior Cody Kemble said the team has since moved on from the inconsistency.

“We’re going to take (last weekend) as a learning experience,” Kemble said. “I think we lost sight of what we want to do defensively, and we’re just going to build off that and become better.”

Luckily for Kayhi, a win on Feb. 9 guaranteed at least a .500-finish for the pair of games against the Falcons.

Given the uniqueness of the three-team Southeast conference, Stockhausen said the key to coming out on top against the two teams from Juneau at this point in the season will be to study the tendencies for each team.

“You want to get a sense of what is your best chance to be successful,” Stockhausen said. “How does it have to look for us to have the best chance — and then we have to do it.”

Stockhausen said it is often the toughest team — not the one with the most talent — that wins the conference.

With plenty of familiarity with the rival Crimson Bears during his tenure in Ketchikan, Stockhausen said this year’s edition of a Juneau-Douglas is scrappy team, with a knack for rebounding.

“(I have) a lot of respect for — obviously — the program and their kids,” Stockhausen said. “It’s always great when we play them; you never know what’s going to happen.”

Kemble said that he is excited to take the court against Juneau-Douglas for, not only the first time this season, but also for the first time as a member of the Kings’ starting five.

“(The atmosphere) will be different for sure, when compared to normal games against anyone else,” Kemble said.

Juneau-Douglas comes into Ketchikan as the No. 15-ranked team, according to the Feb. 7 winning percentage index rankings.

JDHS is 1-3 in four conference games this season, all of which were against Thunder Mountain.

A season ago, Kayhi posted a 3-3 record against its rivals between the regular season and Region V Tournament.

The Kings won both of last year’s home games with the Crimson Bears.

Saturday’s game against the Crimson Bears will be the final regular season home contest for the Kings.

After this weekend, the four games remaining on Kayhi’s schedule will be played in Alaska’s capital.

Tip-off for Friday’s and Saturday’s games is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Kayhi’s junior varsity boys begin play at 5:30 p.m., with the C-team opening the action at 4 p.m. on both nights.