3 Lummi Nation Sisters Make Playing Together Fun For All

Family affairs have always been a regular part of Whatcom County basketball with parents coaching children, siblings playing on the same team, and extended family ties running through the generations.

But the Lummi Nation girls basketball team might have a first: three siblings playing together on the varsity squad.

Senior Keyonee Morris, sophomore Makaya Morris, and eighth-grader Malinia “Boom” Morris are all varsity players for the first-place Lady Blackhawks.

“I’ve never even had sisters on the same team (before the Morrises),” said Lummi Nation coach Krista Mahle, who is in her fourth year. So how has it been?

“It’s been entertaining,” said Mahle with a grin. “They’re really good girls. And they have a huge sense of humor. It makes it all fun.”

Keyonee said she understands having three siblings on the same team is not the norm. Besides having to be good enough to all make the varsity squad, unless they are triplets they have to be within a couple of years of each other.

In the Morrises case, they have a slight advantage. Being a Class 1B school, Lummi Nation is permitted to have eighth-graders play at the high school level. Keyonee herself has been playing on varsity since she was an eighth-grader.

“It’s the first time we’ve all played on the same team,” said Keyonee. “We were hoping she (Malinia) would make it and she did well in middle school.”

Makaya and Malinia are coming off the bench this season and are part of a youth movement at Lummi. On the 12-girl roster, there are four eighth-graders, one freshman, and two sophomores. Despite the inexperience, the Blackhawks are 7-5 overall and 5-0 in the Northwest 1B League.

As one of three senior starters along with Serena Jo Pantalia and Zeta Landsem, Keyonee knows what her role is for her sisters.

“I want to set a good example,” she said. “I think they sometimes get nervous having me out there.”

Keyonee said her family has always been into sports and basketball was always the girls’ favorite. As to what she’ll do after this season, Keyonee had a quick answer.

“I’ll come and support them,” she said of her sisters. “It’s a family tradition.”

The Morris girls aren’t the only siblings playing on Whatcom varsity teams together. Here are some others:

BELLINGHAM BOYS: Jesse (senior) and Joe (sophomore) Harward

BLAINE GIRLS: Deja (senior) and Teia (freshman) Dube

LYNDEN GIRLS: Kalanie (senior) and Rihanna (sophomore) Newcomb

LYNDEN BOYS: Kael (senior) and Jack (junior) Stapleton

NOOKSACK VALLEY BOYS: Brady (junior) and Dane (freshman) Ackerman

SEHOME BOYS: Braddock (senior) and Carter (sophomore) Duckworth

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.

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