Lummi falls just short of second state title in three years

Coach: ‘We did everything we could, I am very proud of these guys’

By Kevin Doucette
news@ferndalerecord.com

LUMMI — During the Lummi Blackhawks’ 2015 season when they finished 27-0, won the Class 1B state championship and were named Washington’s top team of the year, they did so with a group of seniors and a few other role players who had been together for several years.

The 2015 squad was dominating, and not a single team got within double digits of the Blackhawks all season.

The 2017 Blackhawks’ run to the state championship game was a completely different story.

This time, the Blackhawks had Trazil Lane, an all-around athlete whose number one sport is basketball. But unlike Lane, basketball isn’t the number one sport for the majority of the team. And many haven’t been playing basketball long, let alone played together. So there was no doubt there were some obstacles to overcome.

“At the start of the season, I don’t think a lot of people thought we could make it to the state championship game,” said Lummi head coach Jerome Toby. “But we came together as brothers, and I am proud of them all.”

Heading into the state tournament beginning Thursday, March 2, not only were the Blackhawks underdogs, but according to senior captain Trazil Lane, only 4 percent of high school basketball experts picked Lummi to reach the state final.

After defeating Yakima Tribal in the regional round, Lummi earned a first-round bye. The Blackhawks knocked off Muckleshoot Tribal School, and then beat Almira-Coulee-Hartline 47-41 in the semi-finals to earn a spot in the state title game for the second time in three years.

“We battled through a lot to get here,” Lane said. “I think a lot of people thought we would just go two-and-out.”

Out of the gate in the championship game Saturday, March 4, it appeared as though it might be Lummi’s night. Freshman Caleb Ravey drained a three to open the game, and Lummi hit another basket for an early 6-0 lead.

But the game was defensive on both ends. Twins Free and Raven Borsey pressured the ball immediately, Lane seemed to be everywhere, and Mike Washington, Shawn Diggs and Keegan Jojola made their presence known down low.

But Sunnyside Christian played tough, physical defense as well. They keyed in on Lane – the top player in all of class 1B and Lummi’s go-to guy. They also forced Lummi to take some contested shots.

Still, at the end of the first quarter Lummi had a 12-8 lead.

The Blackhawks continued to play aggressive on defense, but Sunnyside Christian was able to get back into it by moving the ball around and feeding to their talented post players.

Lummi gambled on more than a few occasions, trying to steal the ball, but narrowly missed, allowing Sunnyside Christian to get an open look to the hoop.

At the end of the first half it was tied at 19.

The third quarter remained close with Lummi taking a 33-31 lead at the end of it. To start the fourth quarter, Sunnyside Christian’s Lucas Dykstra hit a three-pointer, which seemed to be the turning point in the game.

Sunnyside Christian turned Lummi turnovers into fast-break points. In a matter of just a couple of minutes, Sunnyside Christian had taken a 42-35 lead.

Lummi made a small push at the end, but it wasn’t enough and the Blackhawks were on the losing end of a 47-40 game.

“There was just those couple stretches there in the third and fourth quarters where they outplayed us and that was the difference in the game,” said Toby. “If we played them again I’d like our chances, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. We did everything we could and I am proud of our guys. (Sunnyside Christian) just made a couple more shots.”

Toby said he knows the team feels down right now, but he told his boys to hold their heads high — they made it to state finals and that is not an easy thing to do.

“They played the game the right way. It was never about me; it was always about us,” said Toby. “And that is what I am most proud of.”

Lummi will have several talented players returning next season in Revey, Washington and Noah Toby, to name a few, but a strong group of seniors will be lost.

The seniors are Free and Raven Borsey, John Ballew, Trazil Lane, Keegan Jojola and Shawn Diggs. They will certainly be leaving behind quite the legacy at Lummi High School.

“I just want to tell those guys ‘thank you,’” Toby said of the seniors. “They are a class act and I am thankful I was able to coach them and I know they will continue to support us and they will move on to do good things.”