KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Before the season began, the Ketchikan High School Kings set three goals for themselves — win the Region V championship, bring home the Southeast title, and become Kayhi’s first boys’ basketball team to win a state championship since 1974.
The Kings can check off all three.
After bringing home the first two of those titles earlier this month in Sitka by capturing the Region V 4A title and winning the crossover game for the Southeast Alaska title, Kayhi advanced to the 4A state championship at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage against the Dimond High School Lynx on Saturday night.
And although the two teams needed overtime to decide a winner, at the end of the evening the Kings were crowned 4A state champs. Kayhi won 57-53.
“The kids believe in what we do,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said after the game. “They believe in each other.”
Dimond had been in a state championship setting before. The 2017 4A state champions were the runners-up in 2018. And Saturday was the Lynx third-straight 4A title game.
For Kayhi, although deep playoff runs had happened in recent memory, the Kings hadn’t hoisted a state championship trophy in 45 years.
Kayhi and Dimond went back and forth in the first quarter, and were tied 10-10 after the first eight minutes. But the Lynx opened the second quarter with an 11-0 run, and had a 27-14 lead with three minutes left in the half.
Helped along by a pair of buckets from Kayhi’s Chris Lee — who would go on to score a game-high 28 points — the Kings started a 9-4 run to close out the second quarter. Marcus Lee hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the half. And Chris Lee nailed a long, floating 3-point shot that sunk at the halftime buzzer.
The baskets cut into Kayhi’s deficit, and gave the Kings a lift heading into the break. Despite being down 31-23, the Kings would outscore the Lynx the remainder of the game.
Kayhi scored 27 points in the second half, to Dimond’s 19. And tied at 50 apiece, the two teams headed into overtime.
The Kings’ Kristian Pihl would nail his first 3-pointer of the game three minutes and 20 seconds into overtime to give the Kings a 53-50 lead, and they would never look back.
Marcus Lee would hit a layup to make it 55-50. And after Dimond hit a desperate 3-pointer, Kayhi’s Robert Hilton-Seludo would put the Kings up by four in the final seconds.
The buzzer sounded. Kayhi’s bench erupted. And history was made.
“The kids stuck together,” Stockhausen said of his team of Kings afterward — his state champion Kings. “That’s a very tight knit group that loves each other.”
4A State Championship Scoring Line
Kayhi: Chris Lee, 28; Marcus Lee, 14; Robert Hilton-Seludo, 5; Wyatt Barajas, 4; Cody Kemble, 3; Kristian Pihl, 3.
Dimond: Isaiah Moses, 19; Carter Moore, 17; Jaren Carle, 8; Evan Hoosier, 7; Noah Brandon, 2.