It’s been almost a month since the Ketchikan High School Lady Kings last played inside the familiar confines of Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
But they won’t have to wait any longer.
The Lady Kings host the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears on Friday and Saturday. Tipoff times for both days are scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
“It’s been a while since we played in front of our crowd,” Ketchikan head coach Kelly Smith said earlier this week.
The Lady Kings are 8-1 at home this season. The lone loss came against Esperanza High School in the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic championship game in December.
They last hosted Juneau’s other high school — Thunder Mountain — on Jan. 31-Feb. 1.
Led by senior Kendyl Carson, Juneau-Douglas (17-2) was recently named the No. 1 team in the state, according the Alaska coaches poll.
Carson, a 6’ multi-talented player, is comfortable in any of the five positions on the floor. She has already signed to play basketball at Pepperdine University next season.
“When you have a top player to go to ... it kind of makes everybody else’s job easier,” Smith said. “They’re solid.”
That said, the Lady Kings (12-8) have weapons of their own.
Both Jenae Rhoads and Lindsay Byron present a presence underneath the basket, at 5’10” and 5’11”, respectively.
And despite being listed at 5’1”, Ketchikan sophomore Shaelyn Mendoza is quickly making a name for herself around the region.
She scored 41 points in two games at Thunder Mountain in Juneau last weekend.
“Shae is quickly establishing herself as the leader of this program for the next couple of years of her high school career,” Smith said. “She scored (against Thunder Mountain last) Friday night because she had to. We were struggling. Saturday night was a nice consistent flow of her scoring. But she’s doing things defensively, transition — she’s scrappy; she’s working.”
The Lady Kings dropped both games of a two-game series at Juneau-Douglas earlier this season. But they held a lead until the final four minutes of the first game. Ketchikan lost that matchup on Jan. 24, 51-46.
Juneau-Douglas averages 50.9 points per game, and has allowed an average of 43 points per game.
But that gap slightly spreads in conference competition. The Crimson Bears have scored an average 52.8 points per game in conference play, and allowed an average of 40.4 points against either Ketchikan or Thunder Mountain.
The Lady Kings average 45 points per game, and have allowed an average of 41.3 points per game.
In conference competition, Ketchikan has scored an average of 43.7 points per game, and allowed an average of 46.8 points per game.
The Lady Kings will honor their three seniors on roster prior to the 7:15 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.
Ketchikan’s Nadire Zhuta, Madison Rose and Lianne Guevarra will be honored.
JV and C teams compete
Both of the younger Lady Kings’ squads will go head-to-head against their respective counterparts from Juneau-Douglas.
The Lady Kings’ C team will tipoff against the Crimson Bears at 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, followed by the JV squads. The JV teams are slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. both days.