Minus Kispert, King’s boys beat Wildcats 60-53; Murphy girls win

SHORELINE — With star senior and Gonzaga commit Corey Kispert sidelined by a foot injury, the Knights seized the chance to prove they are more than a one-man show.

Josh Frohardt scored a game-high 24 points and Chewy Zevenbergen added 17 points as the King’s boys basketball team pulled away with a 12-0 fourth-quarter run to earn a 60-53 Cascade Conference win over visiting Archbishop Murphy on Friday night.

“Even our own folks were like, ‘Oh, no Corey? You’re in trouble,’” King’s coach Rick Skeen said. “And we tried to use that to motivate our kids: ‘Nobody thinks you can beat these guys with Corey in street clothes. It’s your chance to prove them wrong. It’s your chance to step up.’ And they did.”

King’s (10-2 overall, 5-0 league) trailed for nearly the entire first half, but Frohardt scored all 12 of his team’s first-quarter points to keep the Knights within striking distance. Frohardt typically plays point guard for King’s, but he slid to the wing with Kispert out.

“Josh Frohardt would be maybe the second-best wing player in our league, except that he’s playing with a guy that takes all of the shots,” Skeen said. “And we’ve asked him to play point guard, which isn’t his position. So we knew when we lost Corey, we’d have to move Josh (to wing tonight), because he’s really a natural scorer.”

Trailing 44-42 early in the fourth quarter, King’s took control by rattling off 12 straight points in less than three minutes. Sophomore guard Hunter Reeves sparked the Knights with five points during the run, including a 3-pointer that stretched the lead to 54-44 with 3:42 remaining.

“We said to all our kids, ‘Nobody takes (Corey’s) spot. Everybody takes one step forward. Everybody gets one more hoop than they got. That’s how we make up for (him),’” Skeen said. “We just had a lot of guys step forward. I’m really proud of them.”

Added Frohardt: “Coach Skeen said it’s not about one stepping up and making the contribution that (Corey) makes. All of us had to take a little bit of that up, and that was really our mindset today. We really had to work together as a team in order to make up the difference that Corey makes.”

Archbishop Murphy senior Abe Lucas — a 6-foot-8, 260-pound center and Washington State football commit — asserted himself down low while scoring 10 of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter. But King’s adjusted defensively, and the 6-foot-8, 185-pound Zevenbergen outscored Lucas 11-7 in the second half.

“We really struggled to guard Abe in the first half. He was such a load,” Skeen said. “We made a little adjustment in the second half and I thought we had more bodies on Abe. … Our defense kept us in it, and then we made a few shots when we needed to.”

Jaylon Carter scored 14 points and Anfernee Gurley added 11 for the Wildcats (7-4, 3-2), who never trailed by more than a point until the final minute of the third quarter. But Murphy went cold in the fourth, managing just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the final period.

“Everything starts on defense,” Frohardt said. “That’s kind of our team motto. We’re all about defense first.”

Kispert, who was in dress clothes and wearing a boot on his right foot, was out more as a precautionary measure, Skeen said.

“If it was (the) end of February, he’d probably be out there,” Skeen said. “He’s played with a sore foot. We want to get him healthy and well and ready to go for us in our playoff run. It’s just been bothering him. He’ll be back when we need him, and we’ll be better when he gets here.”

GIRLS

Archbishop Murphy 82, King’s 47

The Wildcats cruised past King’s for a Cascade Conference road victory Friday night that snapped the Knights’ 47-game league winning streak.

“One of our goals every year is to beat King’s, and these girls (hadn’t) done it yet,” Archbishop Murphy coach Cassie Snyder said. “So it’s a big win for us.”

The Wildcats (8-3 overall, 5-0 league) outscored King’s by a combined margin of 40-13 in the second and third quarters, at one point holding the Knights without a field goal for more than seven minutes.

Olivia Riojas and Emily Rodabaugh led Murphy with 15 points apiece, Julia Lucas added 12 points and Lexi Ducheane scored 10 for a Wildcats team that topped 75 points for the third time this season.

Hannah Echelbarger led King’s with 14 points. The Knights (5-5, 4-1) have advanced to three consecutive Class 1A state title games, but lost nine players from last season’s runner-up team.

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