A season ago, King’s Way Christian boys basketball coach Daven Harmeling learned perhaps his biggest lesson in his seven years at the helm of the Knights. It came during an infuriating 73-65 road defeat to rival Seton Catholic.
In the tight confines of the Seton gym, Harmeling admits he lost his cool and it impacted his team.
“Emotionally, I got to a place where I wasn’t helping the guys at all,” Harmeling said of last year’s outing. “I still feel bad about to this day. I told the guys this time, ‘I promise I won’t lose my mind on you.”
On Wednesday night, the affairs got intense as they usually do when the Cougars (6-7, 1-2) and Knights (8-4, 3-0) square off. This time, though, Harmeling was impressed with his team’s poise in a 75-65 Trico 1A League victory.
“It’s easier for us to do as adults, but I was really impressed with our kids throughout the game,” Harmeling said. “I was proud of them for staying even-keeled.”
Seton Catholic was assessed three technical fouls, though just one came on the court for a hard foul with 0.2 seconds left. The Cougars also received a technical for a player changing on the court and one assessed to the bench during a timeout. It resulted in six points — all from Brady Metz free throws — for the Knights.
King’s Way Christian, which led by 10 points entering the final frame, saw its lead trimmed to as few as three points. The composure had to come from the Knights role players late after star point guard Bryson Metz went down with an ankle injury with less than three minutes remaining. His status going forward remained uncertain. It was the same ankle he broke in sixth grade at Spokane HoopFest.
Kai Butterworth (13 points), Kobi Cason (16) and Brady Metz (six) all led the charge late Wednesday to hold on to the Knights’ lead.
“We just go at it in practice,” Cason said of the Knights’ depth. “Our practices are really cutthroat. We battle so much.”