King’s hopes to finish strong | Boys basketball

Knights get healthy for the final stretch
By David Pan | Jan 25, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan King’s Tyler Durbin passes the ball to a teammate during a Cascade Conference game against Granite Falls Tuesday, Jan. 16, at King’s High School.

As might be expected with an especially young team, King’s has experienced highs and lows this year.

With the regular season entering its final two weeks, the Knights are hoping they are headed in an upward direction.

Senior Levi Bundrant scored 15 points to help King’s to a 68-48 victory over Sultan in a Cascade Conference boys basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 23, at King’s High School.

Tuesday’s game was the Knights’ second straight 20-plus point league victory.

Knights coach Rick Skeen knew coming in that this season would be a challenge with no returning starters and only two seniors on the roster. What he didn’t count on were injuries that sidelined some of the team’s best players.

“We’re young. We’re inexperienced,” the King’s coach said. “We’re growing. We haven’t been healthy, which is part of the game. It’s game 17 (Sultan) and this is the first game where all five guys are healthy.”

Junior captain Nate Kleppe saw his first action since Jan. 3 against the Turks. Before he went down with a leg injury, Kleppe was King’s top scorer. Bundrant didn’t play in three games due to a concussion and junior Hunter Reeves was out for three games due to the flu. Sophomore Jaron Hansen missed 14 games due to an injury. Senior Taylor Schoenfeld, who just committed to play football for University of San Diego, has been away on college visits.

“It’s been one thing after another,” Skeen said.

After a victory over Archbishop Murphy earlier in January, King’s lost 65-50 to South Whidbey and 60-57 to Cedar Park Christian – Bothell before rebounding with a 74-46 over Granite Falls on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

“The ball started going in the basket. I think we had 10 3s,” Skeen said of the win over the Tigers. “We’ve been struggling from outside. I think it gave us some confidence.”

Despite missing three starters, the Knights gave 2A Renton all it could handle in 51-46 non-conference loss on Saturday, Jan. 20. The Indians are 15-2 overall and are ranked No. 7 among 2A schools.

“We were up a good part of the game and were down 3 with two chances to tie it,” Skeen said.

Skeen is interested to see how King’s shapes up during the final two weeks of the regular season with all of its players healthy.

“It helps having more talent,” he said. “It could hurt chemistry and morale. Guys have to sacrifice and set their egos aside.”

Hanson is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game and junior Elyon Zevenbergen is right behind him at 13.0 points. At times, the Knights have started a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors, and two freshmen and three sophomores are among the team’s top 8 players.

“We don’t have guys who have been there before,” Skeen said. “We have lots of good players but not any great players. … The kids are working hard. We’re trying to get it figured out in time.”

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