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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School girls basketball team defeated the West Anchorage High School Lady Eagles 49-36 on Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of this year’s Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout tournament in Anchorage.
After beating the Thunder Mountain High School Lady Falcons twice in Juneau last weekend, the Lady Kings showed that its strong play on the road a weekend ago was no fluke.
Kayhi head coach Kelly Smith said after the game that he thought it was an overall good team win that saw contributions from starters and bench players-alike.
“It was a real physical game, but we battled through it, made some crucial shots, and did some great things when we needed to,” Smith said.
Smith said that the Lady Eagles were both bigger and faster than his Lady Kings.
Even though West had the advantage in the height and speed departments, Kayhi managed to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter.
Kayhi began the afternoon strong on the offensive side of the ball, going on a 13-2 run to start the game, but this was not enough to put a very physical West team away early.
West Anchorage would eventually make up for its slow start by the time the first half wound down.
The Lady Kings had a lead of 22-16 over the Lady Eagles at the half.
The Lady Eagles played a physical brand of basketball that Smith said his team went up against well, matching their physicality during the 13-point win.
“We boxed out and did enough to stay in control the entire game,” Smith said. “I thought our kids did a good job on the defensive end.”
With the victory, Kayhi will now be placed into the gold (winners) bracket of the tournament, with hopes of advancing to the semifinal round.
Senior team captain Brittany Slick was up to her old ways again, leading the Lady Kings in scoring, while facilitating the offense via her timely passing.
Slick made a trio of 3-pointers for Kayhi and scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half of play.
Junior Ashley Huffine continued to play an important role for Kayhi in the winning effort, especially from past the 3-point line.
Huffine also finished with 15 points overall, to tie Slick with most points scored by a Lady King in the game.
She converted on all six of her chances from the free-throw line.
After not being able to draw any contact on the interior in the first half, the Lady Kings shot all of their free-throws in the final 16 minutes of play.
Kayhi made all 12 of its free-throw shots to put the finishing touches on the hard-fought win.
After taking over on offense and posting a team-high 17 points on Saturday night against Thunder Mountain, fellow senior captain Hannah Maxwell put up four points and went 2-for-2 from the foul line.
“We need to get some rest, forget about this one and move on,” Smith said. “I thought we represented Southeast (Alaska) well today.”
On Wednesday, the second set of Winning Percentage Index rankings for the 3A and 4A regions was released, and Kayhi dropped two spots to fourth-place overall.
West Anchorage was ranked ninth in the WPI at the start of play on Wednesday.
Kayhi will play again at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Kayhi: Brittany Slick 15, Ashley Huffine 15, Payton Simmons 7, Emmie Smith 6, Hannah Maxwell 4, Madison Rose 2.
West Anchorage: Gillian Huss 8, Sunny Pedebone 6, Nygerea John 6, Alyx Bowen 5, Nyedol Thor 5, Nac Felix 4, Dymond Fields 2.