King’s Way Christian gets bittersweet win over friendly rival

Camas girls, Evergreen boys lose in round-of-12 games in Tacoma

The King’s Way Christian Knights got the best of the La Center Wildcats one more time this boys basketball season.

And while the Knights are thrilled to be moving on to the Class 1A state quarterfinals, they also feel for their friendly rivals.

“Kind of a bummer we had to play each other,” King’s Way Christian coach Daven Harmeling said. “Ton of mutual respect. We’d rather it have been against an opponent we don’t know.

“This was the least excited I’ve ever felt,” the coach said of winning an elimination game. “We’re happy with how we played and the outcome, but we know what those other guys are feeling. It wasn’t as satisfying as it would have been against somebody we didn’t know.”

Brady Metz made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points, leading the Knights to an 85-63 victory in a round-of-12 game in the Class 1A state tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome. 

Kobi Cason of King’s Way Christian jumps in between Isaiah Romero (14) and Cedric Hubler (22) to get to the ball during their Class 1A state tournament game Wednesday in Yakima. King’s Way Christian won to advance to the quarterfinals. Photo courtesy Michelle Romero
Kobi Cason of King’s Way Christian jumps in between Isaiah Romero (14) and Cedric Hubler (22) to get to the ball during their Class 1A state tournament game Wednesday in Yakima. King’s Way Christian won to advance to the quarterfinals. Photo courtesy Michelle Romero

The Knights scored the first 13 points, and the Wildcats never recovered in this elimination game.

King’s Way Christian (20-6), a state finalist a year ago, will face No. 1 Seattle Academy at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The season came to an end for La Center (18-7), a season that included a district title. 

Brady Metz ended up 6 for 10 from 3-point range, and Gage Koenders was 4 for 8 from long range for his 12 points, helping King’s Way Christian’s cause.

Bryson Metz had six assists and two steals. Kobi Cason and Bailey Meek each scored 10 points.

Harmeling said prior to the game, he and his players talked about the importance of not fearing the moment. It was an elimination game, but do not be scared. At the same time, the coach said, the Knights could not be overconfident. Yes, they beat La Center twice in the regular season but La Center was on a roll going into this matchup.

“I thought our guys did a good job of playing in that sweet spot. They handled the environment in a really mature way,” Harmerling said.

Hunter Ecklund led La Center with 28 points. A four-year starter and the coaches association’s Class 1A state player of the year, Ecklund embraced his dad and head coach Jeremy Ecklund in the closing minutes. 

Harmeling said the King’s Way Christian coaches also got a bit emotional. Harmeling noted the Ecklund has been an incredible opponent and sportsman in the four years he and the Wildcats have been facing the Knights.

Hunter Ecklund of La Center drives between the defense of King’s Way Christian’s Kai Butterworth (23) and Justin Frahm (24) Wednesday at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Ecklund scored 28 points, but King’s Way Christian got the win. Photo courtesy Michelle Romero.
Hunter Ecklund of La Center drives between the defense of King’s Way Christian’s Kai Butterworth (23) and Justin Frahm (24) Wednesday at the Yakima Valley SunDome. Ecklund scored 28 points, but King’s Way Christian got the win. Photo courtesy Michelle Romero.

The Class 4A and 3A basketball tournaments got started in Tacoma.

The Camas girls and Evergreen boys were eliminated.

Class 4A girls

Glacier Peak 46, Camas 40: The Camas Papermakers had a fantastic start, playing in the 9 a.m. game in the Tacoma Dome.

Glacier Peak woke up, though, had a huge second quarter and held off Camas down the stretch to advance to the Class 4A girls basketball quarterfinals.

Camas’ season came to an end with a 16-12 record. 

Faith Bergstrom scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Camas. Jalena Carlisle made two 3-pointers and finished with eight points.

Camas led 19-6 after the first quarter, but Glacier Peak took the lead by halftime. 

Down seven going into the fourth quarter, the Papermakers cut the deficit to three points late in the game but Glacier Peak did enough to secure the victory.

Aaliyah Collins had 13 points and five steals to lead Glacier Peak.

Class 3A boys

Rainier Beach 61, Evergreen 52: The Evergreen Plainsmen will be thinking about Wednesday’s third quarter all offseason.

That was the difference in their Class 3A boys basketball round-of-12 game against Rainier Beach.

The Vikings outscored Evergreen 13-3 to take a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Evergreen’s offense responded in the fourth quarter, but Rainier Beach was just as effective. Zyell Griffin led Evergreen with 19 points.

Evergreen’s season came to an end with a 20-5 record and a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title.

Advertisement

About The Author

Related posts