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Based only on overall wins and losses, with no regard for classification or league play, can you name the top three girls basketball programs in Clark County?
The top two are easy. There’s La Center (19-1) and Prairie (18-2). Washougal certainly can get into a tie for third. The Panthers are 15-4 and play their last regular-season game Monday night.
But there is another team that is already at 16-4 heading into the postseason.
It is a team that did not manage even 10 wins a year ago.
King’s Way Christian is not promising a state title this year, but the Knights are a promising program on the rise.
“Part of it is coaching, a new atmosphere,” junior Hannah Moats said. “We have a different mentality. We want it more. We care for each other. It’s a lot more of a family thing this year.”
Randy Graves is the new coach, and he promised the team would improve. Not sure he expected 16-4, but that is where the team is heading into the district tournament.
Now to be fair, none of the Knights expect to compete for a state title this season. After all, they were not close in their league matchups against mighty La Center. Still, it is possible for this team to make it to Yakima for the Class 1A state tournament.
“Just getting to state would be ideal, just to feel it out,” said junior Tyra Schroeder. “Then next year improve.”
The Knights have 188 on their warm-up shirts. It is 188 miles from King’s Way to Yakima.
“That’s our main goal,” Moats said. “We’ve never made it. No record has been set at King’s Way Christian. Getting past district would be awesome.”
Schroeder played junior varsity in the Camas program last year before coming to the private school. She said she appreciates the family feel at the small school.
“I know they have my back through everything,” she said.
Moats suffered through last year’s tough season with the Knights. Even though the team was getting new talent, a new coach, and bringing back quality players, she said she refused to get too optimistic.
“I went into the season not having any expectations,” she said. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up.”
Now, through hard work and a positive outlook, hopes are high. For this postseason and for the future of the program.
“It’s good for the soul,” Moats said. “Last year, it was hard to come out, just knowing we were going to lose. This year, it’s completely different. We all want that victory, and we play for it.”
Hudson’s Bay Heroics
As many of you know, there are many local high school basketball games broadcast on cable television. It can be fun for the players to record those games and watch later, with professional looking camera work, graphics, play-by-play and commentary.
Of course, sometimes the commentary can be negative if a team is struggling.
Well, the Hudson’s Bay boys basketball team was struggling big time. The Eagles had started the 3A GSHL season with an 0-7 record. There are only 10 games in league play, by the way.
Apparently, one of the commentators said the Eagles were out of the playoff hunt.
While the Eagles might not have been winning on the basketball court at the time, they are good enough at math. They knew they were not out of it. They had to win the rest of their games and get some help, but they were not dead.
It turns out, Hudson’s Bay is going to the bi-district tournament. The Eagles did win their last three games. They did get some help with other results. They ended up tied for the final playoff berth, then won the tiebreaker Saturday night.
“The team took that personal,” Hudson’s Bay coach Theo Mikaele said.
He noted that the team lost a couple really close games in those first seven league losses. The Eagles knew they could hang with teams in the league. They knew they could turn it around.
“They did a good job of fighting. They didn’t give up,” Mikaele said. “They’re fighters.”
That is 21 in a row
The Prairie girls basketball program is so good that it is difficult to keep track of just how good it is every year.
There was some confusion after the Falcons completed another undefeated league season last week. Was it 22 consecutive league championships or 21?
It is 21.
Also, some on social media noted it was the 21st consecutive undefeated league season. Not quite 21. The Falcons lost a league game in 2000.
Still, Prairie is dominant. And while the players in the program dream of bigger things than league titles, they can still appreciate this journey.
“It means a lot to us because we want to keep the tradition going and we can accomplish what the other teams in the past have accomplished,” junior Cassidy Gardner said.
Prairie did not have a crisp performance in its win over Kelso to cap the regular season, but now it is time for the playoffs.
“We’re ready to work even harder in practice,” Gardner said. “As long as we keep the intensity up, I think we’ll be ready.”
2A GSHL update
Columbia River is locked in at 11-1 and has at least a share of the boys league title. Mark Morris plays Tuesday in hopes of sharing the title.
In the girls standings, Washougal is 10-1 and has already clinched the title outright.
4A boys: Battle Ground plays tonight in a play-in game for the bi-district tournament. Skyview and Union start Wednesday.
4A girls: Skyview plays Tuesday in a play-in game for the bi-district tournament. Union and Camas start Thursday.
3A boys: Prairie will open bi-district on Wednesday. Evergreen and Hudson’s Bay start Thursday.
3A girls: Prairie, Evergreen, and Hudson’s Bay open bi-district on Wednesday.
2A boys: District tournament start later this week after regular season ends.
2A girls: District tournament starts later this week after regular season ends.
1A boys: King’s Way Christian will play Thursday, while La Center and Seton Catholic open Friday.
1A girls: King’s Way Christian plays Thursday. La Center has a bye and will play Saturday.