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King's Girls Set to Take on Defending 1A Champs in Yakima

Coach Dan Taylor's King's girls basketball team will travel to the Sun Dome in Yakima for the quarterfinals of the 1A state tournament. Waiting for them will be defending 1A champion Freeman High School.

Who: King's vs. Freeman

What: WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires 1A girls basketball state tournament quarterfinal round

When: Thursday, March 3 2pm

Where: Yakima Sun Dome

Road to Yakima

Freeman, the defending class 1A champions, made their way to the state quarterfinals by first finishing at the top of the six-team Northeast Conference. The Lady Scotties wasted no time re-establishing their dominance, winning their season-opener by a count of 50-11 over Kellogg High School.

After finshing the regular season with a record of 24-1 (10-0 in Northeast play), Freeman took the top seed to the Northeast District A tournament.

Beating Newport and Lakeside moved Freeman into the bi-district tournament, which they also won after defeating Okanogan and then Lakeside for the second time in nine days to claim a top seed to the opening round of state.

In their opening round contest, the Lady Scotties took down Connell, 56-34 to set up their match-up with the Knights.

Despite the impressive resume Freeman brings with it to the Sun Dome, don't look for the Knights to be in awe of their opponents.

King's ended the regular season with a record of 21-6 and won the Cascade Conference after handing Archbishop Murphy their first conference defeat since the 2006-07 season.

After beating Friday Harbor to move into the tri-district tournament, the Knights won consecutive games against Charles Wright and Cascade Christian to move into the semi-finals.

But they would stumble from there, losing to Bellevue Christian and Seattle Christian to close out the tournament with the fourth seed to state.

With their backs against the wall, Taylor's team responded first by taking down Ilwaco by 13 and then Onalaska by eight to move on to Yakima.

King's has it's own rich girls basketball tradition, making the state tournament for 14 consecutive seasons from 1994-2007 in both 1A and 2A (2005, 2006).

But after missing out in both 2008 and last season, the Knights are no doubt out to create their own state legacy and only a handful of contributors on this team were on the 2009 squad that lost their only two games at state against Zillah and Toledo.

Meet the Lady Scotties

Freeman High School is located roughly 20 miles southeast of Spokane near the Washington/Idaho border and is home to the reigning class 1A girls basketball state champions.

In fact, the Lady Scotties have placed in five of the past six season, never lower than the fifth place they earned in 2008.

This season, Freeman has only one senior on the roster in MacKenzie Taylor, who is one of six Lady Scotties listed at 5'10.

The others are sophomores Dani Reilly and Molly McIntyre and freshman Katie Vold, Keala Straw and Siera McGarity.

From the sideline

Coach Dan Taylor said he and his team are excited about the challenges that come with facing the defending champs and are eager to prove they too are worthy of being considered among the elite.

He spoke also about the length and athleticism of the Lady Scotties, which he believes they will use in an attempt to slow low-post force Joclyn Kirton.

Taylor noted that while Freeman does not have any player listed at 6'0 or above, they do have a bevy of talented and active front-court players who will likely focus their efforts on controlling the tempo of the game with their defense.

On the defensive end, look for the Knights to continue their trend of mixing pressures and looks to either quell a run from their opposition or jump-start a speedy and able finisher in Karlie Storkson.

Storkson makes her living off creating ball-handling mishaps and turning it into instant offense on the other end. Taylor and King's hope that will continue to be an advantage against a relatively inexperienced group of Freeman guards.

What's up next: The winner will move on to the semi-finals, where they will face the winner of a game between Granger and Bellevue Christian on Friday at 5:30pm in the semis.

The loser will face the Granger/BCS loser on Friday for a spot in the fourth place game.

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