Salt River High School celebrated Senior Night on Wednesday, January 29, at the school gymnasium. Seniors on the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams were recognized.
The Lady Eagles defeated Thunderbird Adventist Academy, 55-29. During halftime, seniors Ana Calderon, Lynnyice Carlisle, Sialik King, Ki-Ana Loring and Kiona Sumral were joined by their families on court as they were recognized for playing their last season with the team.
In their game, the Eagles came up short, losing to Thunderbird Adventist with a score of 60-58. Seniors Sabin Miguel, Daniel Parley, Rudy Robledo and Brandon Tate were also joined by their families and recognized during halftime.
Both teams are going to take a shot at the CAA Basketball Championship title in their division on February 14.
“We had a great regular season, with a season record of 14-1,” said SRHS girls’ basketball head coach Kyronna Roanhorse. “We had a little rough spot there just before Christmas break, but I feel we bounced back at the new year. The girls finished out the regular season strong; [you] can’t expect any more in the postseason. We do want to work on some of the [skills] we feel will get us ready for the state tournament.”
Roanhorse added that it was a very long senior night, and she didn’t want to think that it could be this team’s last game at Salt River High School—especially because her daughter Kiona is one of the senior players.
“I tried to keep that at the back of my mind,” said Roanhorse. “My focus as a head coach was first to just coach the game, and second be there as a parent for my daughter, who is also a senior [and received] halftime recognition.”
“It feels good, but it’s a little sad because I basically [played] my whole basketball career here,” said Sialik King when asked how she feels about playing her final season. “I feel very honored and proud to put on the jersey and do my best every single year.”
King is the daughter of Cynthia Claw-King and Kyland King and has been playing SRHS basketball since the seventh grade. At first she didn’t plan on trying out for basketball, but she felt she needed to continue her family tradition. Her mother played basketball all her life, and her grandfather was a basketball coach. At first, she was shy and timid, but as she continued to play year after year she has progressed to become the captain of the team. She helped lead the younger players as they began to learn how to play the game.
After high school, King plans on attending a four-year university to major in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics. She also encourages Community youth to try out for basketball if they are interested, because the O’odham people are runners, and 90% of basketball is running, she explained. She also mentioned that the sport is a good outlet and can bring many opportunities.
“My family is a basketball family; [when I was] growing up, they always made me participate in tournaments,” said SRHS senior Ana Calderon. “Last season they were really supportive, coming out to games and cheering us on, and it made me want to play again this year.”
Calderon is the daughter of Angelina Eloy Calderon and is playing her second season at SRHS. She played basketball at Blue Ridge High School prior to moving to live with her aunty and uncle in Salt River. Calderon explained that last year the Lady Eagles made it the championships but fell short; this year she is excited to get on the road to play in the CAA Championship and bring the title home. Calderon plans to attend Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and possibly play basketball there.
“It feels exciting; I am kind of anxious. I don’t want basketball to end, but [just] kind of want it to end,” said SRHS senior Kiona Sumral about her last high school basketball season. “I kind of just want to get there and feel the end, and hopefully become state champions. After four years, coming from junior varsity to varsity and working my way up, finally getting a state championship would be [a] pretty nice [way] to end.”
Sumral has been playing basketball at SRHS since she was a freshman. She is the daughter of head Lady Eagles basketball coach Kyronna Roanhorse and Derrick Sumral. Prior to playing at SRHS, she played at Rhodes Junior High School. Her mother also coaches one of the Salt River Ba’ag club teams, which is how Sumral got into basketball. Sumral has committed to attending Oregon State University after she graduates from high school and would like to study science.
She also encourages youth to try basketball if they are interested because it can turn into something good in their lives. She explained that when she started out, she was nervous, but [playing basketball] turned into a fun thing and became a big part of her life.