It’s Playoff Time: Lummi Nation Girls, Boys Tip Off Tournaments

It’s the biggest and best time of the season — the playoffs — and Whatcom County’s smallest school again will tip off the district tournaments starting Thursday, Feb. 6.

The Lummi Nation boys and girls will host Class 1B District 1 games with the Lady Blackhawks meeting Cedar Park Christian (Mountlake Terrace) at 5 p.m. and the Blackhawks boys meeting Grace Academy at 7 p.m.

The only other postseason action this week will be in the Class 1A ranks where the Northwest Conference’s boys and girls fourth-place finishers face off on Saturday with the North Sound No.5 teams in loser-out, play-in games to move into the District 1 tournament.

In the boys tournament, Mount Baker (4-15 with a game against Sehome still to be played) will travel to Coupeville (6-12) for a 7 p.m. contest. A win would send the Mounties to Seattle to play North Sound champion King’s on Monday at 7:45 p.m.

In the girls tournament, Mount Baker (11-8) and Meridian (8-10) still have games remaining to determine which will finish third and fourth. The No.4 team will travel to Sultan (7-13) on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest, and with a win would also face King’s on Monday but at 6 p.m.

Here’s a look at the 1B tournaments.

Keep watching for previews of the Class 1A, 2A and 3A district tournaments, which will start next week.
Sisters Alayla Solomon (34) and Raven Solomon are big reasons the Lady Blackhawks are back in the playoffs.

Familiar Foe Stands In Lady Blackhawks’ Way

The Lummi Nation girls claimed a share of the Northwest 1B League championship, and are looking to advance to the tri-district tournament for the third year in a row and make it back to state for the first time since 2012.

The Lady Blackhawks (12-7) will take their first step against a familiar foe, having already beaten Cedar Park Christian (5-11) twice this season — 48-33 and 66-34. But first-year coach Michael Wade is not taking the Lions lightly.

“Cedar Park is a talented team that is better than their record indicates,” said Wade. “It’s always hard to beat a team three times in a season, but that’s what we will have to do if we want to advance.”

The Blackhawks are young — Ashtin McElderry is the only senior — but they are experienced. They are led by the Solomon sisters — junior center Alayla Solomon and freshman guard Raven Solomon — who give Lummi Nation offense inside and outside.

But the team’s strength really is its pressing defense, which takes advantage of the team’s quickness and athleticism.
“In order for us to advance, we have to continue to hunt for the best available shot and look to force turnovers with our extended pressure,” said Wade. “We have all the pieces to make a run, but it will require us to compete at our maximum level each night on both ends.”

A win Saturday would advance Lummi Nation to the tri-district tournament, which starts on Feb. 15, and put the Lady Blackhawks in the district semifinals against tournament favorite Mount Vernon Christian on Saturday at Marysville-Getchell.
The championship and consolation finals to determine the top four seeding to tri-district will be Tuesday night at Mount Vernon Christian.

Thursday, Feb. 6
#5 Lopez at #4 Tulalip Heritage
#6 Cedar Park Christian (MLT) at #3 Lummi Nation

Saturday, Feb. 8
At Marysville-Getchell
Lopez-Tulalip Heritage winner vs. #1 Grace Academy
Cedar Park Christian (MLT)-Lummi Nation winner at #2 Mount Vernon Christian
Lopez-Tulalip Heritage loser vs. Cedar Park Christian (MLT)-Lummi Nation loser (winner fifth, loser out)

Tuesday, Feb. 11
At Mount Vernon Christian
Consolation final (winner third, loser fourth)
Championship final (winner first, loser second)
(Top five advance to Tri-District)

Boys head coach Jerome Toby (left), assistant coach (and girls head coach) Michael Wade, and guard Duncan Toby have been enjoying the Blackhawks’ great season.

Blackhawks Favored In Boys District Tourney

Lummi Nation is on a roll and looking to return to Spokane for the state tournament for the fifth time in the past six years.
The top-seeded Blackhawks are the No.3-ranked 1B team in the state with a 17-3 record, whose only losses have been to playoff-bound 1A Meridian (twice) and 3A Stanwood.

In a weird turnaround, the Blackhawks will face Grace Academy in the semifinals, the same team it played Tuesday night to wrap up the regular season. Lummi Nation already has beaten the Eagles twice this season — 76-34 and 70-29.
A victory Thursday night would advance the Blackhawks to the district championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Marysville-Getchell.

Coach Jerome Toby isn’t looking past anybody. 

“We are continuing to work and prepare as well as we can for the playoffs,” said the veteran coach, who knows what it takes to win a state championship having claimed one in 2015. 

Leading Lummi Nation is its all-everything senior guard Caleb Revey, the team’s leading scorer and emotional leader.
But the Blackhawks are far from a one-man show with junior forwards Tyran Lane and Jaie Leighton dominating inside, and sophomore Duncan Toby and junior William Hetland providing the outside shooting.


Thursday, Feb. 6
#3 Tulalip Heritage at #2 Cedar Park Christian (MLT)
#4 Grace Academy at #1 Lummi Nation

Loser-out games
#7 Orcas Christian at #6 Lopez
#8 Providence Christian at #5 Mount Vernon Christian

Saturday, Feb. 8
At Marysville-Getchell
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

Consolation semifinals
Tulalip Heritage-Cedar Park Christian (MLT) loser vs. Orcas Christian-Lopez winner
Grace Academy-Lummi Nation loser vs. Providence Christian-Mount Vernon Christian winner
Tuesday, Feb. 11
At Mount Vernon Christian
Consolation semifinal winners (winner third, loser fourth)
Consolation semifinal losers (winner fifth, loser out)
(Top five advance to Tri-District)

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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