KINGMAN - There are four seniors on the Kingman Academy High girls basketball team, and they've come excruciatingly close to winning a Charter Athletic Association 3A state championship.
Laura Barnes, Heather Young, Jordan Book, Kayla Julien and the rest of the Lady Tigers are seeded No. 2 for this season's playoffs, and they don't want to let this one get away.
"It would mean so much to me, I don't even know how to explain it," Julien said.
Book hopes the team's hard work over the course of the season will get them past the ghosts of seasons past.
"As a team and seniors, we have dedicated so much into this effort and put our whole hearts into it," Book said. "We've come so close, I couldn't even imagine going through that again because it was stressful and tough."
KAHS (15-1, 10-1 CAA 3A) gets a first-round bye and plays the winner of Phoenix Precision (7-3) and Tempe Tri-City (1-9) at 3 p.m. Saturday in Phoenix. The Lady Tigers beat Tri-City in Tempe to open the season back on Dec. 2, 41-24.
Queen Creek EVAC (16-0) is the No. 1 seed, and the Lady Eagles ruined KAHS's bid for a perfect season with a 42-41 win Jan. 8 in Kingman. EVAC also beat the Lady Tigers in last year's state championship game.
A year ago, KAHS pulled off an emotional win over Chandler Prep in the semifinals, and the following game proved anti-climatic. The Lady Tigers are certain that won't happen again.
"The memory of beating CPA and kicking their butt, and then losing to EVAC because we didn't play our game will do that," Book said. "If we're down or even close, all we'll have to do is take a timeout and remember last year. Our hearts will follow."
KAHS begins its quest riding a 12-game winning streak since it lost to EVAC. Julien said two things would get them through unscathed.
"We have a lot of heart," Julien said. "And we have a lot of talent."
The state tournament resumes Thursday in Phoenix with the semifinals.