By Tiani Bradford

The Royals kicked off their second annual basketball season with a group of talented young men eager for competition. They learned a lot more than just basketball. They learned to hold each other accountable on and off the court, respect one another, and represent KUA Royals with class. They understood what it means to put the student first before the athlete. Most importantly, they learned even through failure, there is still something to gain. That lesson was demonstrated in our game against Hanby Middle School. 

The bleachers were packed, and our crowd was electric – the kind of big staged moment an athlete lives for. It was an intense game from the beginning, with both teams trading baskets and making plays. However, midway through the second quarter, our boys began to get frazzled and sent us into halftime with a 15-point deficit. I could see the frustration on the boys’ faces and their spirits deflated as they walked over to our huddle. Looking them all in the eye, I reminded them this game was far from over, and we were all about to find out what type of team we were really made of. With one stop at a time, if they could cut the lead to eight points or less by the fourth quarter, we still had a shot at winning. 

I was blown away by their response. The boys played with an elite level of intensity and cut the lead to two points late in the game! Unfortunately, the game did not end in our favor, and we lost by six points. Although the boys were overcome with emotion at a tough loss, I was so pleased with the heart and tenacity they played with to fight back. The scoreboard may have shown differently, but the boys’ efforts to battle adversity made them true winners after that game. They were tough, played for one another, and never gave up. It will forever be one of my favorite games I’ve ever coached. 

Both Varsity and JV finished the season with winning records of 7-2. On behalf of the team, thank you to all the coaches, referees, bus drivers, and parents who made this season possible. We could not have done it without you! As the boy’s season comes to a close, no amount of words will surmount how proud I am of them, but I TRULY AM SO PROUD OF THEM! Our boys received several compliments from spectators on our away games about how they carried themselves and how respectful they were to others and the facilities. I watched them grow and become better versions of themselves since the beginning of the season, and that is a more satisfying win than any basketball game ever could be. An honorable congrats to our KUA boy’s basketball team for a successful season!  

Upon returning from the holidays, the girls’ season has officially started. We are excited for a promising season from our Lady Royals, who are nothing short of talented. We are looking to kick off our first game of the season Thursday, January 19th against Applegate. Our first home game is scheduled for Monday, January 23rd against Ruch!  I am excited to see what is in store for our girl’s basketball team. We’ve got a tough, gritty group ready to get after it on the court. Go Royals!