ROYAL CITY — Oh, to think of what could have been.
Royal High School won six of its final seven games in boys basketball, but once again, the lack of practice time hampered development of the squad.
There was the usual delay because of the success of football, and that’s understood. But no one could have anticipated all of the practice lost to this winter’s severe weather.
The Knights had to start play after only five practices. Coach Pete Christensen thought that time could be recovered at other points in the season. Then the snow days started.
“This was a season full of turmoil,” Christensen said “Not from the kids. They fought from the first tip off to the final buzzer.”
It appeared for a time, Royal’s only wins were going to come at the expense of the brand new program at College Place. Two did come from there, but the closing six victories came against district tournament-bound Connell, Kiona-Benton and Naches and 2A Othello.
“I am very proud of their effort and their drive,” coach Christensen said. “We ended the season on a very aggressive winning run.”
The late run of success elevated Royal’s final record to 9-11 for the season and 5-9 in the SCAC East.
“This is an amazing group of young men that I am privileged to share my winter and summer months with,” coach Christensen said. “They were exciting to watch for everyone.”
Royal rolled Kiona-Benton in the next to last game. The Knights had a 49-28 lead after three quarters. The Bears rallied in the fourth period, but their mountain was too steep to climb.
Corbin Christensen and Owen Ellis put down eight points each in the decisive 22-7 third period. They finished with 19 and 16, respectively. Kaden Jenks added eight points, and Isaac Ellis had six.
The final game and victory came against Naches of the SCAC West by a score of 76-66.
Corbin Christensen and Owen Ellis had identical nights of 17 points and three rebounds. Jenks had 14 points and five rebounds. Isaac Ellis had 10 points and four rebounds.