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1A boys regional: King’s Way tops Lakeside (9 Mile Falls) for a return trip to Yakima

Junior guard Giovanny Evanson pours in career-high 35 points in victory

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 26, 2022, 5:28pm

Giovanny Evanson shines brightest when there’s a lot at stake.

Case in point was Saturday’s 1A boys basketball regional game against Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, where the guard poured in 35 points to lift King’s Way Christian to a 62-59 victory.

Not only is it a new career high for the junior, but the mark is just two points shy of King’s Way’s single-game school record of 37. The win also sends King’s Way Christian (16-5) to its seventh straight 1A state tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome next week.

Said Evanson: “Looking for my shot is a big thing, especially when I get into a rhythm,” Evanson said. “Coach likes to say, ‘An aggressive Gio is a good Gio.’”

And good Gio was great Saturday, and as it turned out, King’s Way needed all 35 of Evanson’s points. Within the first few possessions, he was already 2 for 2 shooting, and registered a blocked shot. He posted 27 points by the end of the third quarter, including a big role in King’s Way’s 10-0 scoring run that pushed the Knights to gain their first double-digit lead. He capped it off by going 6 for 6 at the free-throw line the final 28.5 seconds of the game.

The two-time 1A Trico League MVP came through with an MVP performance, and head coach Daven Harmeling said what he saw from his junior guard started by him being relentless all game.

“They were physical with him all game long, and he was really tired — rightfully so,” Harmeling said. “But it was nice to see him still attack and get to the rim and stick with plays and get to the line instead of just settling for 3s. He was continuous.”

Alex Fulton added 12 points on four 3-pointers, including a corner 3 that made it a 56-52 game that turned out to be the Knights’ final field goal. Jamison Duke added all eight of his points in the third quarter.

Dayne Kreuch led the Eagles with 19 points, and Kole Hunsaker added 18. Lakeside made 12 3s in the game. 

King’s Way faces Freeman at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday in a loser-out game in Yakima. In fact, it will be the team’s fourth straight loser-out game. After a district semifinal loss to eventual district champion Castle Rock, the Knights won two consolation games just to reach regionals. That included a 53-43 win over league-rival Seton Catholic behind Evanson’s 34 points.

The path the Knights took to reach state is a humbling one for Evanson.

“We really had our backs against the wall this time,” Evanson said, “and I think it brought out the best in us.”

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LAKESIDE — Sadahiro Patterson 3, Jacob Splichal 1, Dayne Kreuch 19, Dawson Tobeck 8, Brayden Field 4, Kole Hunsaker 18, Calvin Mikkelsen 7. Totals 20 (12) 8-11 59.

KING’S WAY CHRISTIAN — Giovanny Evanson 35, Jamison Duke 8, Ryan Tyler 3, Alex Fulton 12, Matthew Belefski 0, WIll Gunn 5. Totals 22 (10) 10-14 62.

LS: 13 13 14 19 – 62

KW: 17 9 23 13 – 59