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Knights’ win keeps team in league mix
MARYSVILLE — With a 62-56 win over North Sound Christian, the Highland Christian boys showed that they’re a factor in the up-in-the-air Northwest Conference.
Tulalip Heritage and Lummi have locked up postseason berths and lead the league with 10-2 and 9-2 conference records. But Heritage has beaten Lummi twice, North Sound Christian gave Heritage their two losses and Lummi has beaten North Sound Christian. So with the Jan. 28 win, the Knights, who have losses to Heritage and Lummi, still belong in the mix.
“Even though some of the scores seem lopsided, [any team can win] on any given night if the team can play their game,” said Highland Christian coach Guy Kennedy.
The game was a glimpse of the kind of play Highland Christian will need to exhibit in the postseason.
Senior guard Caleb Brown was a steady presence for the Knights throughout the game, scoring in each quarter to lead the team with 14 points. A strong first half from Vince Kurtzenaker gave Highland Christian a lead that they would never cede to the Lions. With a rebound and put-back on a missed free throw by teammate Calvin Wold, Kurtzenaker displayed the kind of attitude Kennedy said he hopes to see more of from his team.
“He had a confidence,” he said. “It looks good when your shots go in, but when you shoot with confidence, shots go in.”
North Sound Christian’s Daron Otis led the Lions with 23 points, but the Knights succeeded in their goal of going after Lions forward Tanner Mahler, who had burned them in previous games. He was held to 11 points, but the biggest determinant in the Knights victory was a complete team effort. Seven guys scored and all of them had five or more points.
Kennedy credited his guard, Brown, for setting the tempo of the game, but added that it was team play that resulted in the win.
“The kids have adopted a motto. Every time we break, instead of saying ‘defense,’ they say, ‘believe,’” Kennedy said. “The more they cohere as a team, the better they’ll do.”