KITTITAS — Tim Ravet had trouble sleeping one night.

The Kittitas High School boys basketball head coach was in search of a theme for the 2018-19 campaign, one that would keep them hungry and motivated for another state championship.

All last season in the locker room, Ravet would shout, “We have one …”

The boys clapped twice.

“… heartbeat!” they responded.

Ravet created a new one — but still keeping the old phrase and adding to it:

n “We have one…” clap-clap“…heartbeat!”

n “Two …” clap-clap… (to)gether!”

n “Three …” clap-clap“… peat!

n “Four …“ clap-clap“… us!”

n “Five …“ clap-clap“… seniors!”

“Normally we end up with the five and then we go back to four — for us — because it’s not just the seniors, but obviously you get to the end of the year and it’s their last season, that it is for the seniors because they don’t get another shot at this,” Ravet said.

Sometimes Kittitas will finish at “three” in their pre and post-game hype-up, because it’s what the Coyotes are eyeing heading into state playoffs — one last chance for a third consecutive championship with their five seniors.

It’s been Kittitas’ mantra all year long.

“We do it before every game, and it brings us even closer than we already are,” said senior Martin Arreola.

Said senior Bailey Gibson: “The big things are to get us hyped before the game and get us in rhythm, because we all have to clap at the same time.”

Ravet although didn’t come up with it until about Kittitas’ fourth game of the season. It struggled to commence, falling to St. George’s High School in the second contest of the year. Kittitas beat St. George’s in the 2017-18 state championship.

It kept on winning afterwards, but the Coyotes weren’t synched like they wanted to those few games in.

Kittitas lost two key transfers before the season, Mason Landdeck and Cole Lenihan. Lanndeck was a freshman sensation for the Coyotes, but decided to transfer to Cashmere High School, where he’s thriving, recently joining the 1,000-point club in his sophomore year.

Two guys who played a lot of minutes, Kittitas had to redefine roles and create a new identity.

“I think it was a little bit different at first, just in the fall ball we had to get used to playing with each other again, because we had Cole (Lenihan) and Mason (Landdeck),” said senior Brock Ravet. “But now it feels right for sure.”

Those haven’t been the only transfers in the past, even before high school. Zillah High School is where its senior star Antonio Salinas resides, who played AAU with the Kittitas boys growing up. The Salinas family made the move to Kittitas from Zillah at the start of middle school, but prior to freshman year, the family decided to go back to Zillah.

“At first obviously it’s shocking when they leave, but once they leave, big things like that kind of make you come together more, and I feel like we’re just more of a family now more than we ever been with this team,” Gibson said. “Because this is the team I been with, personally, since I was young. These are the guys that have stuck through it all. You really know who has your back at the end of the day with the guys that have stuck through all these practices and everything in all this time.”

Kittitas has accentuated the subject of one heartbeat, playing unselfish basketball on one beat — together.

And this postseason might be more sentimental with the five seniors (Ravet, Caleb Harris, Christian Mata, Arreola and Gibson) who have been playing ball as a group since elementary school.

TOGETHER SINCE THE START

Ravet and Gibson have been on the same teams since kindergarten, and the other three one-by-one made their way into the scene, with Arreola being the last in seventh grade.

Junior Justin Hudson has also been part of the journey despite being a year younger.

“You can’t really ask for anything better than these guys,” Ravet said. “We all really do like each other, even when we hang out after practice, we’ll go play Xbox or just drive around town and stuff. It’s special to be able to play basketball with people you do love.”

Kittitas has been one of, if not the most dominant 2B school in the state year after year. After losing in a heart breaker to Mabton High School in the 2015-16 district matchup — it has been nearly unbeatable since.

The 2017-18 season, Kittitas went a perfect 24-0 en route to its first championship triumph, over Liberty (Spangle) High School. And the following season, the Coyotes ensued to go 26-1, losing to only 1A Zillah and notched another state title, this time versus St. George’s.

Tim Ravet speaks highly of the unselfishness and chemistry this team has summoned.

“The chemistry on this team is as good of a culture as I’ve ever coached,” he said. “They are coachable, they care for each other, they compete — and they do it with class. They love playing for this community.”

No. 1 Kittitas will play No. 8 Lake Roosevelt High School at Ellensburg High School this Saturday in day two of regionals. The Coyotes beat Lake Roosevelt last Saturday for the District 5/6 Championship, 65-48.

The top eight seeded teams already have a guaranteed spot at state, and if Kittitas wins, it earns a bye in the first round and will play on Feb. 28. The 9-16 seeded teams at regionals automatically play in a loser-out game. Only 12 make it to state.

“It’s fun for sure, postseason is our favorite part — besides the practices,” Brock Ravet joked. “Like I said before, just win and advance, I feel we play the best under pressure.”

Ravet is nearing history again — and will soon reach 3,000 points in his career. No Washington State boys high school player has ever done so, and the all-time state scoring leader is 29 points shy of it.

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