It came as quite a shock to Kings Coach Eric Rasmussen when Lady Falcon Cayla Calderwood picked up the first two points — with a fine assist from Lauren Sandri — during Tuesday’s contest in Erikson Gym.
In 12 straight conference games, the Knights (12-0) have scored first and Rasmussen hurriedly called a time-out to remind his team of that fact.
Things got a little dicey for the Knights a few minutes later — their efforts to double-team Lindsey Newman weren’t working and, with two minutes left in the first quarter, the Falcons were ahead 7-6.
“I just wanted to stop the game right there while we were ahead,” Falcon Coach Henry Pope said. “The Knights are a first-class team; they play tough and hard and
I expect them to be in the hunt for first place at state finals.”
But then Knight forward Sarah Strand picked up the pace and — inexorably, inevitably and irretrievably — the Kings powered to a 14-7 lead at the first break.
They didn’t look back, either, leading by 14 at the half enroute to a 51-31 rout — thanks to pinpoint defense (a King’s hallmark) and three girls over 6 feet tall. During the warm-up the Knights enjoyed seeing who could get closest to touching the rim without their feet leaving the floor. Strand narrowly lost to 6-foot-1 Jordan Irish.
“We started out stronger than we usually do,” noted Falcon co-captain Natalie Martinovic. “But we could tell their coach said something to them and in the second quarter we fell short and barely managed to contain them. They were tall, fast and they could shoot.”
By the fourth period, Kings had put in most of their junior varsity (with four girls exceeding 5-foot-8) and that took some of the pressure off.
Senior and co-captain Meagen Rawls recalled Coach Pope explaining patiently at half time.
“We weren’t making smart choices, he told us. We knew we had to come out fired up and we did but I think they were better conditioned and definitely taller,” she added.
“We threw a lot of shots but they just weren’t going in,” Rawls said.
Pope knew the Knights reputation preceded them.
“This was one of those games where a few girls were nervous and others downright scared,” he said.
He noted Kings had 14 blocks by midway through the third while the Falcons only went to the free-throw line four times. “Having their JV team in let us play fairly respectable basketball in the final quarter. They’re very good.”
Newman led the Falcons with 17 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Samantha Pope and Calderwood managed four points each.
With Lakewood’s win over Granite Falls this week, the Lady Falcons are just one game away from an automatic playoff berth.
On Feb. 13 they welcome Archbishop Murphy for their final home stand; the team will also honor their three senior players.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Is recruiting athletes legal?
For years, fans and friends of high school sports have complained that certain schools — private, often religious-based institutions like Archbishop Murphy and Kings — win games because they actively recruit outstanding athletes from beyond their geographic areas.
Last Tuesday, both boys and girls basketball teams lost to Kings by at least 20 points, providing more fodder for the rumor mill that Kings throws out a wide net to capture talented athletes — that they in fact recruit.
All high schools in Washington are required to follow the dictates of the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association which prohibits recruiting of athletes.
For the record, this is what the WIAA has to say on the matter, from their official handbook:
Section 17.24.0 RECRUITING — Efforts to induce students to enroll or continue to be enrolled in a member school because of the students’ special talent or skill is considered recruiting. Recruiting of students or attempted recruiting of students
for athletic purposes is prohibited, regardless of their residence.
Furthermore, no member school and no one acting on behalf of any member school shall give any speech or give any slide, film or tape presentation or distribute any written material which states or implies that a member school’s athletic program is better than the athletic program of any other member school.
No high school administrator is willing to say publicly that certain schools routinely violate the rules, but privately most agree that is the case.
It is possible that, over time, schools build up their sports programs to such a point that their reputation guarantees the right students come knocking. King’s girls basketball coach has been at the helm for 17 years — there’s something to be said for longevity.
Regardless, the rules that govern all schools are explicit so that, absent clear evidence to the contrary, it must be assumed no rules are being broken.