1B Boys Regional: Lummi’s Depth, Defense Dominate Naselle, 59-31

It was the same old story for the Lummi Nation boys basketball team, but the Blackhawks’ 59-31 victory over Naselle in a Class 1B state regional Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24, may lead to an even better story next week.

That’s because the top-seeded Blackhawks will be heading to the 1B state tournament in Spokane riding a 23-game winning streak. They will open in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 10:30 a.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s loser-out game between Mossyrock and Summit Classical Christian.

“We’re excited to be going back and we’re excited for the Lady Blackhawks to be going back,” Lummi Nation coach Jerome Toby Sr. said, referring to the Lummi girls regional victory just before the boys qualified for Spokane for the 14th time in school history. “This is another group of young men writing their own story.”

For the Essential Fans Guide to the Class 1B boys and girls state tournaments, check out Fans Guide.

Lummi Nation (23-1) defeated Naselle the same way the Blackhawks have won all season: with defense and depth. Despite not having a player taller than 6-foot-1 in the regular rotation, Lummi Nation held the eighth-seeded Comets (19-4) to their lowest point total of the season.

And it started right from the beginning. The Blackhawks’ pressure held Naselle to three first-quarter points as Lummi jumped to a 14-point lead. And by the second quarter, Toby had gotten nine Blackhawks into the game.

“I feel this group has a chip on their shoulder,” the coach said of their lack of senior stars as in year’s past. “This group does it as a whole. We’re deep and unselfish.”

While everyone had a hand in Lummi’s quick-handed defensive performance, sophomore guard Jerome Toby Jr. and junior Tony Abrams were the stars on offense.

Toby had his usual game with a three 3-pointers and a game-high 20 points, 16 coming in the critical first half. But Abrams’s 17 points and especially his three 3s were an unexpected and very pleasant surprise.

“The coaches tell us just to believe in each other and have fun,” said the 6-1 forward, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. “We believe and it was a lot of fun today.” Especially the 3-pointers? “I felt it in warm-ups. The rim looked really big.”

While coach Toby praised the entire team’s toughness and team defense — “One through 12, they all had a hand in the win” — he singled out Abrams’ toughness battling Naselle’s 6-foot-4 star center, Jacob Pakenen. Pakenen led the Comets with 12 points but he would lose the scoring and rebounding war to Abrams.

“Not only did he score, but he did a great job rebounding,” Toby said of Abrams. “We’re a little undersized, but they battled the big guy for Naselle. Tony did a good job anchoring our defense. Tonight he showed his complete game. We’ll need that in Spokane.”

Adding scoring punch to the Blackhawks were seniors Tobias Francis and Mathias Johnson, who had 9 points each. Francis had a pair of his specialty 3-pointers and Johnson came off the bench to play an outstanding all-around game.

While Abrams admitted he was nervous when he went with Lummi Nation to state as a freshman, he is not only excited this time but confident the Blackhawks will do well.

“Honestly, if we keep playing how we’re playing … the guys are ready,” he said.

Lummi Nation 59, Naselle 31

Naselle                   3       7       12         9—31

Lummi Nation     17       9       15       18—59

Naselle: Dalton, Quashnick, Henington 3, Strange 4, Lindstrom 10, J. Pakenen 12, K. Pakenen, Chadwick, Ford, Eastham, Anderson 2.

Lummi Nation: Toby 20, LaFontaine, Francis 9, Johnson 9, Edwards, Perkins, Day, Abrams 17, Lee 2, Revey 2, Bailey, James.


Tuesday, Feb. 20

Wilbur-Creston-Keller 68, Oakville 46 (loser out)

South Christian Academy 66, Liberty Christian 47 (loser out)

Columbia Adventist 43, Mount Vernon Christian 30 (loser out)

Summit Classical Christian 78, Northport 66 (loser out)

Friday, Feb. 23

Summit Classical Christian 78, Soap Lake 71 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Moses Lake Christian-Covenant Christian 64, Cusick 54 (both to state tournament)

Oakesdale 56, Sound Christian Academy 44 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Saturday, Feb. 24

Lummi Nation 59, Naselle 31 (both to state tournament)

DeSales 65, Neah Bay 60 (both to state tournament)

Muckleshoot Tribal 59, Wilbur-Creston-Keller 58 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Wellpinit 58, Mossyrock 47 (both to state tournament)

Columbia Adventist 70, Tulalip Heritage 63 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

You can support our student-athletes, teams, and schools
by using the businesses that support Whatcom Hoops.

Want to advertise your business? Click here for advertising options.