King's West boys upset No. 2 Lutes

King’s West coach Rick Walker was hopeful that a tough non-league schedule — the Warriors faced Class 4A Bremerton, 2A Klahowya, 2A North Mason, and traditional B power Mount Vernon Christian — would pay off in the long run for his boys basketball team.

He knew the Warriors overall record would suffer, but that was OK with Walker.

“I’d just as soon people think they have an easy game and get caught off guard,” said Walker, whose Warriors stunned No. 2-ranked and Sea-Tac League rival Evergreen Lutheran, 56-54, at Gundy Hall on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The Chico-based Warriors (5-3 league, 9-9 overall) host Chief Leschi, another school with a strong basketball tradition, today at 4 p.m. in a non-league makeup game before closing out the regular season at home on Thursday, Jan. 31 against Kentview Christian at 8 p.m.

A win over Kentview should give the Warriors the No. 2 spot in the Sea-Tac South going into the league playoffs, which begin Tuesday, Feb. 5 at Chief Leschi. The top three teams from the seven-team tournament advance to Tri-District.

“We’d like to finish a solid second (in league), but if we keep playing the way we have been, it doesn’t matter where we’re at,” said a confident Walker of the Warriors’ chances.

King’s West seems to be peaking at the right time. The win over Evergreen Lutheran, previously unbeaten in league, avenged an earlier 60-46 loss.

“It’s always special to beat them,” said Walker. “They’re kind of our league rivals. We usually split every year.”

The Des Moines-area school, however, has had better success in the postseason, reaching the state B tournament in Spokane three of the last four years. King’s West’s boys are still looking to make their first trip to state.

Walker thinks this could be the year.

Since junior floor leader Brandin Jones came back from a mid-season ankle injury, the Warriors have been gaining momentum.

“He has had a couple years under his belt now and that’s helped a lot,” Walker said. “His decision-making, ball-handling skills, ability to penetrate and get to the free throw-line, it’s been a big key to our success. Having him back has given everybody more confidence.”

Jones had 13 points, five assists and four steals against Evergreen Lutheran.

Peder Rauen, also coming off an ankle injury, led the Warriors with 20 points.

“Peder hit some clutch baskets down the stretch,” Walker said. “He answered what Evergreen Lutheran was doing.”

Evergreen Lutheran double-teamed Blake Anderson, holding the KW center to 12 points and three rebounds, making Rauen’s contributions more significant.

Walker said the Warriors’ improved rebounding has also been a big factor in their improved play.

KW girls win, too

King’s West made it a clean sweep over Evergreen Lutheran as the young and aggressive Warriors handed the visitors their first league loss, 47-43.

Taryn Hanley scored 13 points, Lindsey Redfern 10 and Valerie Veatch eight for KW, which also avenged an earlier loss to the Lutes.

KW (6-2 league, 14-4 overall) closes out league play at home on Thursday, Jan. 31 against Kentview Christian at 6:30 p.m. The Warriors will enter the Sea-Tac League Tournament as the No. 2 seed from the South Division.

King’s West’s girls have played in five straight and six of the last seven state B tournaments in Spokane.

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