KINGMAN – Sometimes flying under the radar is the best way for a squad to rise to the top of the pack.
The Kingman High School girls basketball team has proven that fact to be true by quietly making its climb to No. 8 in the 3A Conference rankings.
“It’s definitely the highest I’ve seen a team at this school be in my three years here,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Kevin Hubbard. “And at this point, we kind of control our own fate. If we can win the games we’re supposed to and we can win out, we might get to sit and wait to see who we play in the state playoffs. That would be a really cool thing for the girls.”
And if Kingman can continue its run this season, it would put itself in the record books with the other elite girls teams of the last decade.
The 2008-09 Lady Bulldogs went 13-5 overall and earned a No. 6 seed in the Class 5A-II State Championship. That special season was topped during the 2009-10 season when Kingman went 15-3 and earned a No. 3 seed in the state tournament.
Those Lady Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals before losing 61-57 in double overtime to Glendale Ironwood.
Dating back to 2002, the No. 3 seed and quarterfinals appearance still stands as the best in school history.
It would take a lot for Kingman to break both records, but don’t tell that to Hubbard.
“With this team and the attitude they have, no matter who we play, or where it is, or what seed we are, they’re going to fight like they did tonight,” he said after a win over River Valley Tuesday. “And that’s what makes the team special.”
But Hubbard isn’t the only one who knows these Lady Bulldogs are a special group.
The crowd showed up Tuesday to cheer on eighth-ranked Kingman to a win over the Lady Dust Devils.
“I will shout out our crowd tonight,” Hubbard said. “They fired up our team quite a bit. The crowd was there with us and in my time here at KHS, it’s one of the bigger student crowds I’ve seen. They were into the game and that makes a big difference to the girls on the court, too.”
And if the crowd continues to support their Lady Bulldogs, there is no telling how high this team could climb in the rankings.
Dating back to the 2012-13 season, Kingman’s highest final ranking is No. 12 on two occasions.
The 2013-14 Lady Bulldogs went 16-3, 4-2 in Division II, Section I, while Kingman finished 16-2, 5-1 in Division III, Section VI during the 2015-16 season.
Those section losses likely knocked the Lady Bulldogs down a few spots in the rankings, but Kingman can make sure that doesn’t happen by finishing this season with an unblemished mark in the 3A West Region.
That journey continues Friday when the Lady Bulldogs (10-1, 4-0) make the short drive to face No. 25 ranked Kingman Academy (6-3, 2-1). Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. at Betty Rowe Gymnasium.
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