The Ketchikan High School Kings knew they’d have their work cut out for them at Juneau-Douglas High School this week.
While sitting in the driver’s seat of their seeded fate for the Region V tournament in March, the Kings entered Friday needing to accomplishing something that’s only been done a handful of times in last 40 years — sweep a two-game series at Juneau-Douglas.
The Kings came within 35 seconds of accomplishing the first half of that necessary two-game sweep.
Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas went toe-to-toe in the first game of the series on Friday night in the captial city — and the Kings had a 54-53 lead with 35 seconds left. But the Crimson Bears hit two free throws to inch ahead and win 55-54.
The loss means the Kings will have the No. 2 seed in the Region V tournament, and will play Juneau-Douglas in the opening round on March 10.
Thunder Mountain High School will have the top seed in Region V.
But before any of that, however, Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas will lock up once more to finish the regular season, as they’ll square off at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“We were down by 15 at one point, and fought tooth and nail,” Ketchikan head coach Eric Stockhausen said of Friday night’s matchup. “... We cut it to two, and then (the deficit) goes back to nine. It’s just one little play that forces a run.”
Juneau-Douglas jumped out to a 26-18 lead at the half. The Kings’ Josh Rhoads scored Ketchikan’s first 10 points. The Kings’ Chris Lee knocked in five before the break.
“Josh was great,” Stockhausen said.
The duo again carried the Kings’ offense in the third quarter.
Lee finished the game with 30 points. He scored 14 of those in the third frame. Rhoads hit a basket in both the third and fourth quarters, finishing with 18 points. Joeben Lorenzo and Tyler Slick were the only other Kings to find the basket.
“We probably shot under 30%,” Stockhausen said. “... We were hesitant (at moments). ... We need to be firing on all cylinders.”
The Kings shot 58% from the free throw line, hitting 11-of-19. Juneau-Douglas was successful 60% of the time from the line, sinking 12-of-20.
“It’s the first time for a lot of our guys to get varsity minutes in a game against Juneau-Douglas in Juneau,” Stockhausen said. “... We’ll be fine on Saturday.”
Ketchikan: Chris Lee 30; Josh Rhoads 18; Joeben Lorenzo 5; Tyler Slick 1
Juneau-Douglas: Brock McCormick 19; Cooper Kriegmont 12; Austin McCurley 9; Malakai Nichols 9; Tad Watson 6.
*Stats courtesy of official scorebook.