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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Ketchikan High School boys basketball team was defeated by West Anchorage High School 73-68 on Saturday night at the Clarke Cochrane Gym.
With the loss, the Kings finish play in this year’s Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic at fifth-place overall in the boys’ bracket of the tournament.
West Anchorage will head back home to Alaska’s most populous city with a third-place finish in the tournament under its belt.
After the loss, Kayhi head coach Eric Stockhausen said that he felt his team played rather lethargic during the five-point loss, adding that he noticed his players’ passes were soft as well.
“It’s all about learning and improving on a daily basis,” Stockhausen said.
The Eagles began the game strong, but the Kings were able to overcome the 2-3 zone defense implemented by their opponents and make the game a close one for a majority of its 32 minutes.
As the game progressed, Kayhi and West Anchorage essentially matched each other point-for-point, with both teams making the most of their offensive opportunities.
West Anchorage, which featured three players at or taller than six feet, four inches, used height to its advantage. This, combined with speed and an aggressive and very Anchorage-specific style of basketball was enough to give the Eagles an edge when it mattered.
Despite the loss, the Kings battled hard until the very last buzzer, and might have even gone on to win the game if they had a few more ticks on the clock, but they will have to be satisfied with the fifth-place finish.
“I still thought we carried ourselves the way that we expected,” Stockhausen said.
Moving forward, the 10-year head coach said that his team needs to focus on creating habits that will lead to success down the line later in the season.
Junior Wyatt Barajas scored nine of the team’s 15 points, including Kayhi’s first seven points of the game, in the opening quarter.
In total, Barajas put up a career-high 14 points in the losing result.
Sophomore Kristian Pihl was perfect from the free-throw line and sunk three 3-pointers to lead Kayhi in scoring with 15 points.
Fellow-sophomore Chris Lee added 12 points and made six of his 10 free throw chances, while junior Cody Kemble contributed an even 10 points for the Kings; he also made a pair of 3-pointers.
Marcus Lee put up nine points, all of them coming in the second half.
The Kings will next play on Jan. 5 against Colony High School.
Kayhi: Kristian Pihl 15, Wyatt Barajas 14, Chris Lee 12, Cody Kemble 10, Marcus Lee 9.
West Anchorage: Devin Mong 23, Nyangyiel Wal 11, Diondre McMorris 10, Izaiha King 10, Ayuel Dak 8.