1B State Preview: Lummi Boys, Girls Take Aim At Trophies

They’ve taken different paths to get to the same place — the Spokane Arena — and now the Lummi Nation boys and girls basketball teams are seeking the same thing: a trophy at their Class 1B state tournaments.

The Lady Blackhawks completed a remarkable five-year turnaround from going 1-19 to reaching their goal of getting to state. Now as the 11th seed, they will open the tournament on Wednesday, March 4, at 3:45 p.m. in a loser-out game against No.3 Oakesdale.

The Lummi Nation boys team have been a regular in Spokane four of the past five years, winning it all in 2015 and placing second in 2017. And they’ve been near the top of the state rankings all of this year.

Now they’ll be aiming for another finals shot when they open play on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s Selkirk-Riverside Christian contest.

And just as an aside: Should Riverside Christian be their opponent, the Blackhawks certainly remember that it was the the Crusaders who knocked Lummi Nation out of the tournament last year.

But this year is this year, and here’s a look at the two Lummi Nation teams and their state tournaments:

Alayla Solomon (34) and sister Raven (in back) have been at the forefront of Lummi Nation’s success this season.

Lummi Nation Girls

Record: 17-9 (#11 seed)
Starters: Aliesha Solomon, G, Fr., 5-6; Ashtin McElderry, G, Sr., 5-5; Rian Greene, G, Jr., 5-4; Raven Solomon, G, Fr., 5-9; Alayla Solomon, C, Jr., 5-9.

Reserves: Shaylynn Jojola, G, Jr., 5-4; Aiyona Morris, G, So., 5-3; Shandeara Julius, C, Jr., 6-0; Keyonee Morris, G, 8G, 5-2; Serena Pantalia, F, 8G, 5-5; Vanessa BearPaw, F, Fr., 5-6.

Team preview: The Solomon sisters — Alayla and Raven — have been the foundation all year, but during the playoffs others such as Aliesha Solomon, McElderry and different bench players have stepped up. The Lady Blackhawks will probably live and die with their vaunted fullcourt pressure defense, and pressing teams often do well when opponents have state jitters.

State outlook: The Lady Blackhawks accomplished their goal by getting to Spokane, but now comes the next step — staying in Spokane. Oakesdale will be tough having handed No.1 Pomeroy its only loss this season. Then would come No.4 Neah Bay, which many consider the favorite. With only one senior, Lummi Nation is building for the future … but it would be nice to stay in the present at least until Saturday’s trophy presentation. 

Coach Michael Wade: “Neah Bay is the best team I’ve laid eyes on. There’s no one on the westside anywhere as good as them. As far as the Lady Blackhawks, we got a decent draw for the Wednesday game, and we can compete with them. It’ll come down to on any given night, any one can beat anyone.”

Class 1B Girls State Tournament

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
First round
#11 Lummi Nation vs. #3 Oakesdale, 3:45 p.m. (loser out)
#15 Naselle vs. #7 Curlew, 5:30 p.m. (loser out)
#12 Moses Lake Christian vs. #5 Mount Vernon Christian, 7:15 p.m. (loser out)
#9 Clallam Bay vs. #8 Wellpinit, 9 p.m. (loser out)

THURSDAY, MARCH 5
Quarterfinals
#4 Neah Bay vs. Lummi Nation-Oakesdale winner, 3:45 p.m.
#1 Pomeroy vs. Naselle-Curlew winner, 5:30 p.m.
#6 Yakama Nation Tribal vs. Moses Lake Christian-Mount Vernon Christian winner, 7:15 p.m.
#2 Inchelium vs. Clallam Bay-Wellpinit winner, 9 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 6
Consolation game, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Consolation games, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Semifinal, 7:15 p.m.
Semifinal, 9 p.m.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7
Consolation game, 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation game, 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game, 3 p.m. (winner first, loser second) 

Senior captain Caleb Revey has been at the center of the action for the Blackhawks all season.

Lummi Nation Boys

Record: 23-3 (#3 seed)
Starters: Caleb Revey, G, Sr., 6-0; William Hetland, G, Jr., 5-10; Jaie Leighton, F, Jr., 6-3; Tyran Lane, F, So., 6-5; Duncan Toby, G, So., 5-10.

Reserves: Patrick Sturgeon, F, Sr., 5-8; Moses Seymour, F, Jr., 5-8; Franklin Whiteman, G, Jr., 5-5; William Kinley, G, So., 5-8; Richard Wilson, F, Fr., 6-1; Tobias Francis, G, 8G, 5-4; Dezmond Bailey, F, 8G, 5-5.

Team preview: Everything starts with senior star Revey, who can take over a game at both ends of the court. Yet the Blackhawks play better when he doesn’t have to. Sophomores Lane and Toby play like seniors, and if Hetland is hot from outside, Lummi Nation could be the surprise of the tournament.  

State outlook: Lummi Nation is flying under the radar as the rest of the state focuses on Odessa and Yakama Tribal School, and that’s just fine with the Blackhawks. When they play their game — pressure defense, unselfish passing and everybody getting involved in the offense — they are hard to beat. Last year’s first-round exit left them wanting more, and that means playing Saturday night. 

Coach Jerome Toby: “Most of the year, everybody has been chasing Odessa and Yakama Tribal, and deservedly so. I tell our guys, just be the best version of us. When we’re playing our best basketball, we’re playing with a lot of energy and sharing the basketball. That’s what makes us Blackhawks who we are.”

Class 1B Boys State Tournament

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
First round
#11 Garfield-Palouse vs. #6 Muckleshoot Tribal School, 9 a.m. (loser out)
#10 Almira-Coulee-Hartline vs. #7 Rainier Christian, 10:30 p.m. (loser out)
#13 Selkirk vs. #4 Riverside Christian, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
#9 Taholah vs. #8 Oakesdale, 2 p.m. (loser out)

THURSDAY, MARCH 5
Quarterfinals
#5 Naselle vs. Garfield-Palouse – Muckleshoot Tribal School winner, 9 a.m.
#1 Odessa vs. Almira-Coulee-Hartline – Rainier Christian winner, 10:30 p.m.
#3 Lummi Nation vs. Selkirk-Riverside Christian winner, 12:15 p.m.
#2 Yakama Nation Tribal vs. Taholah-Oakesdale winner, 2 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 6
Consolation game, 9 a.m. (loser out)
Consolation games, 10:30 p.m. (loser out)
Semifinal, 3:45 p.m.
Semifinal, 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7
Consolation game, 8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation game, 11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

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