TKA Girls Basketball Team Chasing Glory After Winning District

The team celebrates its district tournament victory. Photo courtesy Chris Race

For the second consecutive year, the King’s Academy girls varsity basketball team has won its annual district tournament. That tournament win has propelled the team into the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A tournament.

The goal for TKA and the other 31 teams in the statewide Class 3A field is to win a state championship. Based on the seedings, TKA is one of the top teams in the field.

There are five games left on TKA’s schedule. There are three Region 3 playoff games, followed by two games on Feb. 23 and Feb. 25 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, the site of the FHSAA’s Class 3A final four. No girls basketball team from TKA has ever advanced to the final four. But this year’s team is focused on making history.

The three-game run through the regionals for TKA began on Thursday, Feb. 10 at home against the West Shore Wildcats (11-8) from Melbourne. As the No. 1 seed in Region 3, the TKA Lions (21-5) were heavy favorites to win and advance to the regional semifinals on Feb. 15 against either Cardinal Newman High School or Avon Park High School. The winner of that regional semifinal will play in the Class 3A regional final on Friday, Feb. 18. As long as TKA wins, it will play every regional game at home.

Should TKA earns its way to Lakeland as the Region 3 champion, it will take a true team effort from every member of the squad, according to head coach Chris Race.

“I think for us to win the Region 3 title, it will take the girls being locked in and focused on one game at a time,” Race said. “There are plenty of really tough teams that we will have to get past in order to get to Lakeland.”

According to Race, the winner of every game will be the team that has the best defense and wins the rebounding battle.

“We need to play really good team defense and rebound the ball well,” he explained.

Race added that his team is committed to getting better and learning how to improve.

“The good thing for us is that I feel like we are still improving every day in practice and in games,” he said.

Race also believes that his team is battle-tested and ready for any team that it plays.

“We played a really tough schedule to prepare us for this stretch run,” he said.

While the attention is on winning games, Race realizes that it’s important for his players to relax and relish the moment.

“I want the girls to enjoy the ride, because they have earned every ranking, accolade and any publicity that our team has received,” Race said. “The girls are also aware that the next practice or game could be the last one for our seniors, so I try not to put any extra pressure on them. We would love it if their last game was the championship game in Lakeland.”