Senior Kamiah Ware bring the ball up the court against Renton. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Senior Kamiah Ware bring the ball up the court against Renton. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Kent-Meridian girls have historic night during historic season

Royals’ 75-53 victory is the most points scored by a KM girls team since 2001.

Seniors on Kent-Meridian’s girls basketball team have not seen much success on the court in their entire high school career up to this season. In the past three years, Kent-Meridian girls basketball has won just two games.

After a 75-54 win over Renton on Jan. 4, the Royals’ record now has moved to 7-4, and they sit in a tie with Auburn in first place of the NPSL.

“They faced adversity, they moved on and pushed through. They were able to compete and push through tonight,” Head Coach Morganne Comstock said.

The Royals’ 75 points against Renton is a season high and a school high going back to Dec. 12, 2000, in an 82-65 win over Auburn Riverside. Seven wins in a season is the most in a season since 2015, when the Royals won 13 games.

A turning point might be the hire and immediate success of new Head Coach Morganne Comstock. Comstock of course, gives credit right to her players.

“It’s a great group right here. I think it’s just a special group of girls. The seniors have played with each other for a long time, and they just play together,” she said.

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter
Nia Bickham stretches out to defend a Renton in-bound pass.

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter Nia Bickham stretches out to defend a Renton in-bound pass.

“Our chemistry this year is way better. Our coach cares about us a lot and is going to do whatever she can to get us together as a team,” said senior Kamiah Ware.

The Royals have eight seniors, and Comstock has all signs point forward for the Royals.

“Last year they were 1-20. This year is a completely different team. We’re focusing on building a legacy here,” Comstock said.

“We really want it,” Ware said emphatically. “It’s our last season, so it is now or never. That’s our mentality that we take into every game,” she said.

In the first quarter, Kent-Meridian took advantage of their size early on — specifically with 6-foot Cymone Blowe. There was an emphasis to feed her the ball and she took advantage. Blowe scored 13 points on six field goals in the first quarter alone.

At halftime, the two sides were locked at 38-38, both getting to that 38-point total in different ways. Kent-Meridian had five different scorers in the second quarter, but no Royal scored over four points in the quarter. Renton’s Leilah Spalding lit it up from three-point land, out-dueling Blowe in the first half with 16 points to Blowe’s 15.

But Renton made an adjustment and slowed down Blowe and Nashayla Fellows, limiting them to a combined nine points in the second half.

Senior Cymone Blowe takes a lay-up attempt in the first quarter. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Senior Cymone Blowe takes a lay-up attempt in the first quarter. Ben Ray / The Reporter

That emphasis on alternative scoring options came from repetitions in practice, Ware noted.

“We practice if the bigs can’t get the ball, what do we do. For us, that’s when the guards must take care of the ball and be strong with it. Coach instilled that in practice so we knew exactly what to do,” Ware said.

When Renton stopped letting Kent-Meridian get the ball in down low to Blowe and Fellows, Ware and Nia Bickham took over. The two of them carried the offense for the Royals in the second half and defensively stifled the Renton attack.

“I felt like I just needed to have more confidence driving and taking care of the ball,” Ware said.

Kent-Meridian held Renton to just 16 second-half points, and Spalding had 12 of the 16 points for Renton.

It has been a ride that these players won’t forget because the culture is changing. Kent-Meridian has yet to play first-place Auburn, but the Royals are taking the league by storm.

“We’re going to surprise a lot of teams this year with these eight seniors. They’re going to finish how they want to finish,” Comstock said.

The players’ perspective is about making the simple things simple to compete against the Trojans.

“We just have to make our easy shots that we have been missing throughout the season. That’s going to be really important because it hasn’t really affected us so far. Definitely against Auburn we have to get those easy buckets,” Ware said.

Auburn’s record over all is an impressive 11-2 so far this season with just one in-state loss to Tahoma. Kent-Meridian takes on the Trojans Jan. 11 at home. “We just have to play how we have every night and just be the Lionesses that we are,” Comstock said.

Head Coach Morganne Comstock giving some love to Sade Oyebiyi during a timeout.

Head Coach Morganne Comstock giving some love to Sade Oyebiyi during a timeout.

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