Ketchikan Boys Return State Experienced Hoops Team

    Ketchikan head coach Eric Stockhausen at a recent state basketball tournament in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - They weren’t the Southeast Conference first choice for the state tournament last season but the Ketchikan Kings showed they belonged at the venue, dropping a tight opening round match against Chugiak and defeating West Anchorage in a consolation game, and most of their roster returns.

      “We only lost three seniors,” Kings coach Eric Stockhausen said. “And we had a pretty good summer. Almost all of our kids got out and played in either California or Indiana. So we were fortunate for that. We are still young. We only have two seniors this year so we still have a lot of growth areas. And just like everybody else, we’ve all got a long ways to go. There is not a coach in the state saying, ‘Oh, we’re ready for next Thursday.’ I’ve been fortunate we’ve had a lot of carryover.”

      The Kings lost the Region V championship to Juneau-Douglas but the Juneau school district did not allow the Crimson Bears to travel north due to COVID-19 concerns so the Kings represented Southeast at the state tourney.

      “That team last year played very well,” Stockhausen said of the Crimson Bears. “Kind of the team you hope to cycle through more than once in your career and he (coach Robert Casperson) did a good job with them.”

      Ketchikan was no slouch last season with just four conference losses and six overall.

      “We know that Juneau beat us by a lot in that region championship game,” Stockhausen said. “But we just wanted to represent Southeast and put our best foot forward and give ourselves a chance. It was great for the youth we had especially.”

      The Kings graduated Tyler Slick, Josh Gentry and Kylar Charles.

      This season they return seniors Josh Rhoads and Zach Hanchey, juniors Joeben Lorenzo, JJ Parker, Clayton Olstad and Archie Dundas, and 6-foot-7 sophomore Jared Rhoads and 6-foot-4 sophomore Andrew Kleinschmidt.

      “We have a lot of carryover,” Stockhausen said. “Kind of like Juneau was last year when they had those nine seniors, they were very good. They still have a bunch of guys who know what coach wants and they are going to be fine. Same with Thunder, they’ve got one of the best players, so it’s one day at a time, I guess, is a simple way to put it.”

      Lorenzo will be a three-year starter. Parker and Olstad started last season, Josh Rhoads was all-conference and made the all-state tournament team, and Hanchey has developed into their most consistent player.

      “He’s a guy that every coach loves,” Stockhausen said. “He’s a great defender, he’s a pass-first offensive player. He does all the dirty things, always guards the other team’s best player and just has a great attitude.”

      Big things are expected from Dundas and Jared Rhoads and Kleinschmidt. Kleinschmidt was 4-for-4 from the field at the state tourney last season as a freshman.

      “We rotated our starters all the time,” Stockhausen said. “We have some decent leadership and some good kids but we’ve got to find a way to put it all together.”

      Stockhausen said the Kings can shoot the ball from every spot.

      “That’s a commodity that’s going to be really important,” he said. “All of our guys are fairly competent behind the three-point arch so if you are going to have one skill that’s the one you want a kid to have, I guess.”

      The Kings will be deep and have a consistent defensive identity, something Stockhausen noted for playing in the Southeast Conference.

      “Both coaches do a great job,” Stockhausen said. “Coach Casperson has that program where they don’t rebuild, they reload every year. He gets his kids to do great things defensively, and offensively spaces the floor well. Coach Blasco’s kids are tenacious. Thomas (Baxter) is obviously one of the best players in the region, if not the state. He lost some quality players just like Juneau did, but they are working hard and they have a lot of pride so you can throw any prognostications out the window when we have conference games because we are always getting close by the end so you never really know.”

      Continued Stockhausen, “I’m fortunate that I have great kids that work hard. We may not always be the best but we certainly try to be the best we can be. And that’s all you can ask.”

    LAST SEASON - KTN 14-6 overall, 4-4 SEC.

    away TMHS - L 54-52, W 61-33

    away JDHS - L 68-66, L 74-58.

    home SIT - W 71-39, W 60-44.

    home JDHS - W 78-70 OT, L 80-59.

    away SIT - W 66-51, W 61-43.

    away MEHS - W 73-58, W 80-60.

    home MEHS - W 71-46, W 64-57.

    home TMHS - W 65-64, W 81-68.

    home TMHS - W 61-52 Reg V Playoff.

    home JDHS - L 87-68 Reg V Championship.

    away Chugiak - L 60-52 State Quarterfinal.

    away West -W 65-58 State Consolation.

    Above - Ketchikan cheerleaders lead the Kings onto the court for the championship game of the 2019 ASAA State Tournament. Kayhi won the championship. (Klas Stolpe)

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