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Royal boys ready to hit the basketball court

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | January 10, 2022 1:00 AM

ROYAL CITY – Royal High School boys basketball team head coach Ray Valle said this season has been a little difficult, with more than half of the team catching COVID-19 in December and having a late start to the season because RHS went to the state football tournament.

A more frustrating part; however, was basketball players got sick in groups of two or three, staggered over the month, instead of all at once. So, RHS was not able to have a full team until last week, when everyone recovered.

Valle said RHS still pushed on with games instead of canceling or postponing, in fear it would not get the chance to make them up if the season got cut short due to the possible rise of COVID-19 infections across the state. So, only one game was moved. For the rest of the games, RHS played short-handed or used junior varsity players.

Valle said it was “better now rather than playoffs,” for players to be sick and for the team to not be at full capacity.

The team is still trying to see how it works together, since it took so long to get the players in the same room.

Despite not firing on all cylinders, Valle said of the mostly senior team, there were a few who stood out so far. They were seniors Jace Allred and Luke Bergeson, who Valle says regularly put up 13-15 points each and have noticeably stepped up their skills in the last year or two. He also highlighted seniors Elijah Jenks and Avery Ellis for their energy and playing tough.

Valle said RHS was taking the season as it comes.

“One day at a time; enjoy now; we may not be back,” Valle said he tells his team.

Royal boys are 3-3 overall, with only one league game under its belt. Its league game against Kiona-Benton City High School on Jan. 4 was a sizable win for the Knights, 82-36.

Going forward, scheduling league games will be the priority, since so many games have been rescheduled for various reasons, including the holiday break, COVID-19 protocols, or extreme weather.

Valle said he is ready for the team to come out in full force and show everyone what it is made of.

“We’re competitors; they got it in their blood and they leave everything they got out there,” said Valle.

The Knights have a full week ahead, with four games scheduled. The team takes on Connell High School at Connell on Tuesday, Chelan High School at Royal on Thursday, at Wahluke High School on Friday and at College Place High School on Saturday.

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