Knights get contributions from so many in perfect Trico League season
VANCOUVER — The King’s Way Christian Knights had already clinched the Trico League girls basketball title.
Still, they had plenty of motivation to win Thursday night.
A victory would complete a perfect league schedule.
Oh, and the net would come down, too.
Yes, the Knights were told they had to win Thursday in order to cut down the net in celebration.
King’s Way got the job done, topping La Center 56-31.
And then the ladder came out to the floor.
Technically it is the second league title for the program, but these Knights are the first to do it just as the Knights. The previous title was as a combined program.
“We have left our mark,” senior Tyra Schroeder said.
“Ever since I was little, I dreamed of this. It’s kind of unreal that it actually happened.”
Senior Hannah Moats noted that the Knights were the “runt of the league” when they were freshmen and sophomores.
“Compare it to right now, it shows hard work does pay off,” she said.
These Knights also take pride in the fact so many have contributed to this historic season.
“We play team ball, and we play defense,” coach Randy Graves said. “On any given night, I have seven girls who can score in double figures. I never know who it’s going to be.”
That would be Schroeder, Moats, MacKenzie Ellertson, Kira Zook, Laurel Quinn, Abby Cummins, and Lacey Zook.
“They’ve all led, in one game at least, in scoring,” Graves said.
“Everyone contributes,” Ellertson said. “It’s never a one-person thing.”
That makes preparing to play the Knights difficult, Moats explained. Tough to figure out to defend a team with so many options.
It helps, too, Graves said, that this team is so unselfish. The Knights don’t care who scores — as long as the total adds up to more than the opponent.
In league play, that happened in all 10 games this season.
On Thursday, Lacey Zook scored 15 to lead the way. Moats, who was in foul trouble and did not score in the first half, made four 3-pointers and scored all 14 points of her points in the third quarter.
The Knights improved to 14-6 overall. They will host a first-round game in the district tournament Feb. 8.
The key for the Knights was a belief system. They played a tough non-league schedule, going 4-6. But they never lost faith.
“We have that on our shirts. ‘Believe.’ That’s been our motto this season,” Schroeder said. “Believe in one another and believe in ourselves.”
“I felt we knew something big was going to happen this year,” Ellertson said. “It started right from the beginning of the season. With the personnel we have, the mentality, and the coaches.”
There are six seniors on the squad, too. It really was now or never for half of the team.
“For a lot of us, it’s our last chance,” Moats said. “Why not? Why not give everything we’ve got? It’s not going to come again, and we don’t want to regret anything.”
Next for the Knights is a chance to earn a trip to state.
“I want to be district champs,” Ellertson said.
“Just play in the SunDome,” Schroeder added, the final destination for Class 1A state basketball.
Moats was more philosophical about her goal. No matter the result, leave it all on the court. No regrets.
“Whatever our last game is, just be proud of ourselves,” she said.
It has been a season to be proud of for the King’s Way Christian Knights.