This one had it all: Two evenly matched, highly ranked teams. Star power on both clubs. And best of all … overtime.
Except overtime never happened.
A controversial call at the end of regulation let Yakama Nation Tribal end Lummi Nation’s dream of a state title as the Blackhawks suffered a 51-50 loss in the semifinals of the Class 1B state tournament Friday, March 6, in the Spokane Arena.
The defeat, the first of the year to a Class 1B team, left Lummi Nation (25-4) to play for third place Saturday morning against Naselle.
Check out the great photos from Friday’s game courtesy of Heather Leighton.
Friday’s defeat — and the call that accounted for the outcome — also left them bewildered.
The situation: The score was tied at 50 and the Blackhawks had the ball and were playing for a last shot. But the Eagles’ swarming defense tipped a pass, the ball ended up in the hands of Yakama’s Milo Jones and with time running out, he heaved up a desperation shot from halfcourt.
It missed, of course, but according to an official, Jones was hit. He went to the foul line, missed the first one but made the second. And the game was over.
“The game was everything it was built up to be,” said Lummi Nation coach Jerome Toby of the battle between the No.2-ranked Eagles and No.3 Blackhawks.
“I asked the official, ‘You’re going to let a great game like this be decided by that?’” said Toby, trying his best to not blame the loss on an official’s call. “But give credit to Yakama Nation. Give credit to Milo Jones. He made the free throws.”
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Up until then, the game was a classic between two run-and-press teams not willing to give an inch. Yakama Nation took an early eight-point lead but Lummi Nation whittled away and closed the gap to within one going into the final period.
Each scored a dozen points in the fourth … but the Eagles scored the final one, the one that counted the most.
Not surprisingly, the stars led each team.
For Lummi Nation, senior guard Caleb Revey had another great game with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Sophomore guard Duncan Toby added 13 points, sophomore forward Tyran Lane had 7 points and 8 rebounds, and junior forward Jaie Leighton had 7 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Yakama Nation Tribal was led by the Strom brothers. Bryce had 12 points and 7 rebounds and Bryan Jr. had 9 points.
Toby, as always, kept his composure even in the face of a frustrating loss.
“Our effort and energy was there,” he said. “We played hard. They played hard. We wish we were in the championship game, but we’re playing for a trophy. We want our seniors (Revey and Patrick Sturgeon) to go out with a win.
Tournament tidbits: Leighton was awarded the game’s sportsmanship medal for Lummi Nation.
Yakama Nation Tribal 51, Lummi Nation 50
Lummi Nation 7 16 15 12—50
Yakama Nation Tribal 15 13 11 12—51
Lummi Nation: Caleb Revey 17, William Hetland, Duncan Toby 13, Richard Wilson 3, Jaie Leighton 7, Tyran Lane 7, Moses Seymour 3, Patrick Sturgeon, Tobias Francis.
Yakama Nation Tribal: Bryce Strom 12, Mylo Jones 8, Bryan Strom Jr. 9, Deshawn John 8, Justice Hart 11, Terrell Yallup, Lester Washes Jr. 3.
Class 1B Boys State Tournament
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
Muckleshoot Tribal School 64, Garfield-Palouse 58 (loser out)
Almira-Coulee-Hartline 62, Rainier Christian 30 (loser out)
Riverside Christian 69, Selkirk 67 (loser out)
Oakesdale65, Taholah 58 (loser out)
THURSDAY, MARCH 5
Naselle 57, Muckleshoot Tribal School 50
Odessa 42, Almira-Coulee-Hartline 39
Lummi Nation 64, Riverside Christian 45
Yakama Nation Tribal 45, Oakesdale 35
FRIDAY, MARCH 6
Almira-Coulee-Hartline 69, Muckleshoot Tribal School 46 (loser out)
Oakesdale 51, Riverside Christian 39 (loser out)
Odessa 62, Naselle 56
Yakama Nation Tribal 51, Lummi Nation 50
SATURDAY, MARCH 7
Oakesdale 46, Almira-Coulee-Hartline 41 (winner fourth, loser sixth)
#3 Lummi Nation vs. #5 Naselle, 11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
#1 Odessa vs. #2 Yakama Nation Tribal, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.