Royal City has since shifted over to wrestling by now, some of the guys are playing basketball, but that third consecutive 1A state football championship still looms large in the collective memory on the Royal Slope.
Yep, 41 straight wins, three state championships and a soon-to-be hall of fame coach, Wiley Allred and the boys from Royal City have it going.
Big Bend Community College is going to recognize that effort when the Vikings host Wenatchee Valley to open the NWAC East schedule at DeVries Activity Center on Wednesday. Three-peat and hoops honoring a team with the sixth longest winning streak in the nation, ought to be a pretty fun night.
Big Bend will also roll out the red carpet for the Royal girls basketball team, introducing the Knights at the intermission of the NWAC East-leading Lady Vikings game. The Lady Vikes put together their own six-game winning streak and go into the NWAC opener, having won 10 of their last 12 games.
Here’s the real kicker, Royal City will get the royal treatment with free admission to the night’s festivities. Now don’t be trying to sneak your cousin from Ephrata or your brother-in-law from Othello in because my partner in shortness Laurissa Kisler from Warden will be taking money at the door and serving as the bouncer.
The woman sitting at the desk behind me in the Herald newsroom has a sign on the wall that reads, “Though she may be little, she is fierce.” It has a picture of Laurissa next to it, well not really, but don’t let that traffic-stopping smile fool ya. You don’t mess with a former Cougar.
As for the basketball, it should be top notch. The Lady Vikes (12-1) are averaging 81.9 points per game and shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range.
They roll into the conference schedule as the top team in the NWAC East. Sophomore point guard Sunnie Martinez is averaging 13.6 points a game and deadly from beyond the arc at 42.7 percent. In fact, the Lady Vikings have two of the best 3-point shooters in the conference in Martinez and Callie Gronning (41.7), who are ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.
Hailey Garrity, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Beaverton, Ore., is currently ranked 13th in rebounding with 99 boards. She has 67 on the defensive glass to help start running offense coach Preston Wilks likes to see.
Wenatchee comes to town with an (8-4) record and would like nothing better than to start the conference schedule off with a win over the league leaders.
The Runnin’ Vikes (6-5) are currently sixth and have a chance to move up in the NWAC East standings with win over No. 5 Wenatchee Valley (6-4).
Koby Huerta, a 5-9 freshman from Covington, is ranked 11th in scoring with an average of 20.6 points a game. He's also sixth in 3-point goals at 49.1 percent. Blake Dittman and Mauricio Smith are averaging 15.6, apiece.
Miles Brown is ranked third in the NWAC in rebounding with a 9.6 average, hauling in 82 on the defensive glass. The 6-7 small forward from Sandy, Ore., is shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 37.9 from 3-point range.
The Runnin’ Vikes hit the ground runnin’ after the holiday break, but Big Bend Community College will take the time to honor a job well done and the good people from Royal City Wednesday night at DeVries Activity Center.
Tip-off for the Lady Vikings game is at 6 p.m. with the Runnin’ Vikes scheduled to follow at 8 p.m.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org