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State champion Kings receive their rings
The Kayhi Kings boys’ basketball state championship rings are presented along with the ASAA 2018-19 4A state championship trophy at Ketchikan High School on Tuesday. The Kings beat Dimond High School 57-53 in overtime on March 23 to claim the program’s first state title in 45 years. Photo by Spencer Gleason

Daily News Sports Editor

If there was ever a moment for a basketball team to savor, winning a state championship for the first time in nearly half a century would rank on the list.

It’s been 20 weeks since the Ketchikan High School Kings beat the Dimond High School Lynx 57-53 in overtime to win their first state title since 1974.

And after discussions of designing Kayhi’s state championship rings, measuring ring sizes — and everyone waiting — the Kings finally received their rings.

“We know guys are heading to school, and a couple of them are out of town already,” Kayhi basketball coach Eric Stockhausen said. “So I’ve lived here long enough that if a delivery says it’s going to be here on a certain day, usually you have to bank on the next day. It just happens.”

The Kings originally expected the rings on July 4. That was pushed back to July 29.

That date also was moved, and on Saturday, Stockhausen received an email that the delivery would be delayed again due to security inspections.

They finally arrived on Monday. And the lifelong bling was well worth the wait.

Each member of the 2018-19 state championship Kings basketball team was presented with a commemorative ring in Kayhi’s library on Tuesday.

The ring’s design, which the team collaborated together on, has a king salmon on the front face.

On one side is the state of Alaska, with the player’s name and number, and on the other side is a Kayhi Kings basketball emblem with the final score. All of the art is in 3D.

“I don’t think until the guys saw them, and put them on, that they understood how cool this is,” Stockhausen said. “A couple of them, when we were ordering them were like, ‘Eh, I’m not a ring guy.’ But you’re going to want that.”

The majority of the Kings’ varsity baseketball team was present, with the exception of a few players who were out of town.

And as a new school year is fast approaching, having the team together again was just as enjoyable as receiving the rings.

“I think this was more than getting a ring for everyone,” Marcus Lee said. “It was good to just have everyone here, one last time together. It was good to see all of the guys. I think that meant more than just getting the rings. You know, having everyone here one last time before we head off into our own world.”

The Kings graduated eight seniors following their state championship season. And it hasn’t been easy getting everyone together this summer.

“Everyone has jobs to do, and are off doing their own thing,” Lee said. “It’s good to have everyone together. It’s just awesome — a little emotional, too, at the same time — but not showing it. But it is. It really is.”

The ceremony allowed for one more celebration.

The Kings were the No. 8 seed in the state tournament, and battled back to beat everyone en route to their state title.

Afterward, Stockhausen joked as to which way the ring should face.

“Do you wear them like that (facing you); or wear them like that (facing me)?” he said.

Stockhausen likes it with the words “state champions” facing him. But regardless of how it’s worn, it’s a good problem to have.

“The proverbial ‘they’ can never take away what these young men have done,” Stockhausen said. “And this is just another reminder.”