Royal wins historic first game at 1A Hardwood Classic

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  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald - Royal junior Owen Ellis (23) finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Knights past King's Way on Friday at the 1A Hardwood Classic at the Yakima SunDome.

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    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald - Isaac Ellis had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Royal Knights first win in the Yakima SunDome.

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    Royal coach Ray Valle

  • Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald - Royal junior Owen Ellis (23) finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Knights past King's Way on Friday at the 1A Hardwood Classic at the Yakima SunDome.

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    Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald - Isaac Ellis had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Royal Knights first win in the Yakima SunDome.

  • 2

    Royal coach Ray Valle

YAKIMA - Ellis Island might have been the gateway to millions of immigrants. But on Friday morning Ellis Island became the gateway to the four-sixth place game at the 1A Hardwood Classic at the Yakima SunDome.

Royal junior Owen Ellis was 3-of-6 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line for a team-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Isaac Ellis was 9-of-16 from the floor and also finished with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Ellis Island brought it home and the No. 4 Royal Knights (22-5) won their first 1A state tournament game with a 71-65 victory over No. 16 Kings Way Christian (15-11) to advance to the game for fourth-sixth place.

Royal is making its first trip to the Hardwood Classic and its first run in the SunDome. They dropped a 50-46 decision to Northwest School in the tournament opener. Now the Knights have a chance to bring home the first Hardwood Classic trophy in school history.

“This is a pretty big deal. The kids have been focused all week. Being here for a couple of days, it's easy to get lost in the environment. But they've been locked in the whole time,” said coach Ray Valle, who got his first Hardwood Classic win as a coach.

“The kids know what it's like. They've gone to the playoffs in football and played away from home. We talked about the loss a little bit. We wanted to get more offensive rebounds and just crash hard.”

The Knights, who won the SCAC East conference for the first time since 1975, outrebounded Kings' Way 50 to 26, finishing with 17 offensive rebounds and 33 on the defensive glass.

Royal dominated with three players in double digits Sawyer Jenks (10), Isaac Ellis (10) and Owen Ellis (11). But the entire starting lineup was all over the glass. Corbin Christensen (8) and Angel Farias (7) added to the dominance.

“We knew we had a height advantage on King's Way, so we didn't want to give them any second-chance opportunities. We crashed every single board and didn't give them a second shot,” Valle said. “You have to give (King's Way) credit, they weren't ready to go home. They made some difficult shots and scored 26 in the fourth quarter.

“But with our height advantage and length, we were able to move the ball around a little bit and get the open shot.”

Unlike the night before, the Knights got it going early. They led by 14 at one point, scoring 18 second-chance points, 14 on the turnovers and 10 on the fastbreak to run away from King's Way, which came into the tournament having won six of its last seven games, including a win over Wahluke.

Even with the impressive and historical first win in the SunDome, the Knights have some things to clean up. The turned the ball over 23 times, but they made up for it with 13 assists, six steals and five blocks. Corbin Christensen finished with eight points, five assists and two blocks.

Royal went into the as the No. 4 seed and have a chance to finish as the fourth. They face King's in the 8 a.m. game on Saturday.

No. 16 King's beat No. 8 Newport in the play-in game on Wednesday, then lost to No. 2 Freeman in the first game of the bracket play. The King's Knights then upended No. 12 Mount Baker to position itself for a shot at fourth place. 

Royal 20 13 18 20 71
King's Way 13 13 13 26 65

Royal - Angel Farias 6, Sawyer Jenks 8, Corbin Christensen 8, Isaac Ellis 20, Owen Ellis 23, Gage Christensen 3, Carter Dorsing 3. Totals: 26-54 13-20 71

King's Way - Khalfani Cason 22, Kobi Carson 5, Gage Koenders 11, Bryce Dodge 2, Brady Metz 19, Justin Frahm 6. Totals: 24-70 8-12 65

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