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By A.J. JANKOWSKI
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School girls basketball team and Petersburg combined for 82 points and 60 turnovers Friday night in a start-and-stop game which Kayhi eventually won, 47-35, at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
Coming off a solid win on the road against Juneau-Douglas last Saturday, head coach Kelly Smith wanted his Lady Kings to keep the ball rolling. Unfortunately, Kayhi could not stop from turning that ball over, and it wasn’t until an 11-0 run to start the second half that the Lady Kings pulled away from the 3A Lady Vikings.
"We didn’t talk at all (on the court)," Smith said. "We didn’t talk even a little bit, and that’s the frustrating part. Getting these guys to all show up at the same time is hard right now."
Kayhi forced 32 Petersburg turnovers — 19 in the first half — but struggled to maintain possession, finishing with 28 turnovers itself.
"I don’t know how many times we stole the ball and either threw it right back over or missed an open shot," Smith said. "That kind of stuff is a little frustrating."
Smith admitted part of the Lady Kings’ mental mistakes could be attributed to Friday night being an endowment game against a non-conference opponent, compared to facing the Crimson Bears on the road last week.
"Unfortunately, yes," said the coach about whether that was a factor. "Unfortunately, that was kind of the attitude in the locker room before the game. I really got on them for it, mostly at halftime."
Kayhi led by just two, 24-22, at the break, as the Lady Vikings’ pesky guard, Grace Weller, continued to pick the Lady Kings’ pockets, and scored seven points. Petersburg’s pair of freshmen forwards, Kylie Wallace and Kyla Willis, were able to draw contact, and got to the free-thow line a combined eight times in the first half.
"Petersburg has some really aggressive freshmen that can beat you if you give them confidence," Smith said. "They didn’t believe me, and at halftime, I let them have it."
Kayhi responded by outscoring Petersburg 14-3 in the third quarter, sparked by a 3-pointer from Bayley Lindgren. The senior wing finished second on the team with 10 points, and was engaged from the start, Smith said.
"I thought she played great, but if you looked at the faces, she was by herself at times," he said. "She’s coming to the realization that in the next six or seven weeks her basketball career is over. So she wants the most out of every second of it, and she showed that tonight."
Jayley Taylor scored a game-high 13 points on three field goals, a 3-pointer, and 4-of-6 from the foul line.
Taylor accounted for six of Kayhi’s 14 third-quarter points, and also picked up an assist in the period, when she rocketed a baseball-like pass to a wide open Charley Edwardson under the rim, who laid it in.
Taylor’s final bucket of the third, a steal at half court and a layup at the buzzer, gave the Lady Kings a 38-25 lead heading into the fourth.
But even that wasn’t enough to hold off the Lady Vikings, as Petersburg scored the first seven points of the fourth to close the gap to six, 38-32.
"I don’t know why we struggled (to start the fourth)," Smith said. "Nobody did anything different."
Kayhi regained its double-digit lead on a pair of free throws by Taylor, and a coast-to-coast layup from Edwardson, which started with the 5-1 guard grabbing a defensive rebound and ended with a crossover left-handed layup.
"What I like is that when Charley is rebounding, that mean the other kids boxed out," Smith said. "I thought we did a decent job of boxing out tonight. We didn’t do a good enough job of attacking the ball once it was in the air."
The Lady Kings scored nine of the final 12 points to come away with the win.
Kayhi out-rebounded Petersburg 33-27. Weller scored a team-high 10 points for the Lady Vikings. Wallace and Willis each scored seven, and Ruby Brock hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine.
Edwardson finished with seven points for the Lady Kings, who also got scoring from Eliah Anderson (6 points), Lizzie Carson (4), Mikayla Brown-Harrison (3), Faith Clarke (2), and Brooke Simmons (2).
Alexis Crellin missed the game with a finger injury. Smith said he’s unsure whether she’ll play Saturday, and would sit her for precautionary purposes if needed.
The two teams play Saturday at 7:15 p.m., in a game that will count toward Kayhi’s overall record.
"If nothing we did worked ... I would be really frustrated," Smith said. "But the stuff we do works, and it’s successful. Now I’ve got five weeks (before regions) to get them mentally on the same page."