Returning talent boosts Knights | Girls basketball

Nov 29, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Senior Dominique Kirton wants to lead King’s back to state tournament.

King’s is ready to make some noise in the postseason.

Despite having four freshmen in the starting lineup, the Knights came up just a basket short of securing a berth to the 1A state girls basketball tournament last season.

The 52-51 loss to Nooksack Valley at the district tournament is seared into the memories of the players.

“That was really hard for us,” said sophomore guard Claire Gallagher. “But it left us really motivated and really hungry this season. …. We knew we were so close last year. It was within our reach.”

King’s did not lose any players to graduation and added two freshmen to the roster. All the returning experience has benefited the Knights right from the start of practices.

“We definitely bring back good team chemistry,” said forward Dominique Kirton who along with guard Rachel Phelan are the lone seniors.

“Even the first week, we didn’t have to get used to each other. … Everyone knows each other.”

Gallagher added that the team was ready to roll on day one of turnouts.

“It feel likes in a week we’re so much further than we were last year in a week,” Gallagher said. “So we have a head start after the summer season. There’s less nuts and bolts we have to cover. We can jump right in.”

King’s coach Dan Taylor noted that the Knights have added more layers to the offense. The sophomore players come into the 2018-19 season with a year’s experience of varsity play and a better understanding of the offensive system.

“It’s basically read and react,” Gallagher said. “We’ll have some set plays if we really need a bucket. For the most part, it gives us a lot of freedom just because we have the skills now. We have some really talented players. … It’s less scripted and more freedom.”

Added Taylor, “We have the personnel that can do different things.”

Freshman Jada Wynn, daughter of University of Washington women’s basketball Jody Wynn, should be an immediate impact player as a point and shooting guard. Wynn helped lead her Tree of Hope Pacific AAU team into the inaugural junior NBA World Championship game last summer. She also joined the Knights for some tournaments last summer.

Kirton is the only member of the Knights who’s been to the state tournament. She was a member of the 2015-16 team that placed second.

“We want to get the dome at the very least,” Kirton said. “I think personally being that I haven’t been since my freshman year, it makes me want to go even more, especially with this group of girls. I really want to take them. I think that going to Yakima together would be a great experience, especially with their young age. They can get that experience early.”

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