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Lady Kings bounce back with 43-22 win
The Lady Kings’ Lianne Guevarra, left, dribbles around Eagle River High School junior Kiki Sherman on Dec. 27 during the opening round of the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic at Kayhi. Guevarra is one of three seniors on the team, and has helped lead them to a 5-2 start this season. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

The Ketchikan High School Lady Kings knew Thursday night’s game against Monroe Catholic High School in Fairbanks was one that slipped away.

Ahead by 13 points in the fourth quarter, Ketchikan allowed Monroe Catholic back in the ball game. And the Lady Kings eventually lost 44-39.

“We gave away a game last night,” Ketchikan head coach Kelly Smith said of Thursday’s matchup. “We coughed it up. ... But the only way to get that (bad) taste out of your mouth is to play again.”

So when the Lady Kings returned to the gymnasium on Friday afternoon for the second round of the Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic against Grace Christian High School, it was a chance to take a breath of fresh air — even if the outside air temperature in Fairbanks was 25 degrees below zero.

Ketchikan sophomores Paige Boehlert and Gabby Mas started against Grace Christian, and the duo gave the Lady Kings a lift, scoring six points against the Lady Grizzlies in the first quarter. And the Lady Kings continued to cruise to a 21-point victory, beating Grace Christian 43-22.

“You have to compete to your maximum ability. ... And they competed together,” Smith said. “Everyone got a ton of playing time.”

All 10 Lady Kings that made the trip to Fairbanks were able to contribute. In addition to Boehlert and Mas, sophomores Shaelyn Mendoza, Hayley Gilson and Jenae Rhoads tallied minutes on the floor, as well as freshmen Lindsay Byron and Hya Bondoc.

And seniors Nadire Zhuta, Lianne Guevarra and Madison Rose helped lead the Lady Kings to their fifth victory this season. Friday’s win bumps Ketchikan’s record to 5-2.

“Jenae is starting to get more physical, and do the things we (need her to do),” Smith said. “Nadire is shooting well. She had four threes today.”

Ketchikan will hope to finish the holiday classic round-robin with a victory against Valdez High School on Saturday. The two teams will tipoff at noon.

“They match up size wise,” Smith said of Saturday’s opponent. “They’re an experienced 3A team that goes to the state tournament every year.”

The Lady Kings return home to host Mt. Edgecumbe High School on Jan. 10-11.