King’s brings home sixth-place state hoops trophy | Boys basketball

Bright future ahead for underdog Knights
By David Pan | Mar 08, 2018
Courtesy of: King's High School King’s poses for a photo after receiving the sixth-place trophy at the 1A state boys basketball tournament Saturday, March 3, at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

King’s was all smiles after a successful four-day run at the 1A state boys basketball tournament.

The Knights returned home with a sixth place trophy after dropping their final game 57-46 to Royal in the fourth/sixth place contest Saturday, March 3, at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Not bad for a team seeded 16th going into last week’s tourney and who was rated as the 48th team in the WIAA’s RPI (Rating Percentage Index) rankings late in the season.

“It was quite a run by our kids,” King’s coach Rick Skeen said. “I’m really proud of them. They played six loser-out games in the month of February. We beat 11 teams that were ranked higher than us during that run. Our kids really responded and showed a lot of resiliency and perseverance. I couldn’t be more proud of the work they put in and the accomplishments they made this year.”

Royal jumped out a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and extended their advantage to 29-14 at halftime.

“We ran out of gas,” Skeen said. “We just didn’t play a good first half. We played super hard in the second half. The legs weren’t there.”

The Knights (18-13) cut the deficit to six points in the second half. King’s senior Levi Bundrant scored a game-high 19 points and senior Taylor Schoenfeld finished with 9 points.

Bundrant and Schoenfeld played instrumental roles in the Knights’ playoff success, Skeen noted.

“Levi and Taylor led us through this whole journey,” the King’s coach said. “Their leadership, their toughness and their desire to win were key.”

The four-day run at state provided valuable experience for the returning players.

“Getting four games at the dome is big,” Skeen said. “There’s no way to simulate that. That really helps propel us for next year. We’re excited about the kids coming back. They’re already back in the gym working hard. … We’re excited for what the future holds for the Knights.”

King’s opened with a 59-47 victory over Newport in a first round game on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Junior Elyon Zevenbergen continued his strong postseason with a game-high 22 points. Junior Nate Kleppe added 12 points, as the Knights took a 22-13 lead after the first quarter and held a 36-20 halftime advantage.

King’s then fell 58-51 to eventual state runner-up Freeman in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday, March 1.

The Knights saw 5-point halftime deficit – 29-24 – balloon to 19 points in the third quarter. King’s regrouped and was able to close to within 4 points with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“We fought back,” Skeen said.

Bundrant scored 12 points and junior Hunter Reeves and freshmen Shane McGaughey-Fick each finished with 9 points.

The Knights advanced to the trophy round after defeating a familiar opponent – Mount Baker. In the fourth meeting in less than a month, King’s prevailed 59-57 in overtime. After losing to them in the district tournament, the Knights won their last three games against the Mountaineers.

Zevenbergen scored 16 points and Schoenfeld finished with 14 points.”

“It wasn’t necessarily pretty basketball,” Skeen said. “We showed our resiliency and our toughness. We did just enough to survive.”

Skeen liked that the Knights got contributions from all of their players during the tournament.

“Elyon continued to play well. Nate Kleppe shot the ball well,” Skeen said. “Our point guards Shane and Hunter were solid for us.”

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