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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
The final score during a scrimmage against Juneau-Douglas High School last week didn’t fall in the Lady Kings’ favor.
But after beating the Lady Crimson Bears in the first set at Juneau-Douglas High School on Aug. 28, Ketchikan High School’s squad erupted with joy.
“You should’ve (seen) them,” Ketchikan head coach Kevin Johnson said about the moment. “You would’ve thought we won a state championship.”
But Johnson took the brief break between sets to calm his players down.
“I pulled them over, and I just had to remind them to act like you’ve been there before,” he said. “‘This isn’t a surprise.’
“Of course, I’m happy. And of course I’m giddy, and I’m glad they’re happy,” Johnson said. “But at the end of the day, I’m going, ‘I don’t want you to get used to you got lucky. You did that because you worked hard, and you earned it. You put time in the summer; you came to open gym. You concentrated in practice. You earned it.’”
Ketchikan lost that scrimmage 3-2. But it will have a second shot at the Lady Crimson Bears this weekend.
And this time it’s for real.
The Lady Kings jump start their 2019-20 season when they host Juneau-Douglas on Friday and Saturday at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Varsity, along with both JV squads, will compete against the Lady Crimson Bears.
JV games will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday. Varsity will play at 7 p.m.
“For us, going up there and splitting with Juneau in a scrimmage gave our kids (confidence),” Johnson said.
The Lady Kings dropped the rest of their scrimages in Juneau over Labor Day Weekend. But the competitiveness and intensity level met Johnson’s expectations.
“We played the best we have in a long time,” the Lady Kings’ Nyah Edenshaw said.
And that carried over against other Southeast teams.
“We went neck-and-neck with (Thunder Mountain High School),” Ketchikan’s Makenzie Merrill said. “So we definitely can do (well) this year.”
Ketchikan runs a 5-1 offense, meaning there is one setter setting the tone.
“It’s a completely different system — a five-hitter system,” Johnson said. We want one setter to do the majority of all the setting for us, really. So it’s a fast paced offense.”
And the speed of the game just might be the ticket to keep Kayhi’s confidence at a high level — just like it did against Juneau-Douglas last week.
“Maybe we’ll get a few more of those,” Johnson said.
Notes: The Lady Kings will be without Lauren Olson. Their starting outside hitter was injured during a scrimmage against Thunder Mountain over the weekend.