Whatcom County’s smallest high school will start off the most important time of the basketball season — the playoffs — when the Lummi Nation boys and girls open the Class 1B District 1 tournament at home on Thursday, Jan. 31.
The boys action starts with top-seeded Lummi Nation (18-1) facing fourth-seeded Fellowship Christian of Everett (11-6) at 7 p.m. with the winner automatically qualifying for next week’s tri-district tournament. The Blackhawks have beaten the Eagles, 65-34 and 62-45, this season.
The third-seeded Lummi Nation girls (8-4) will take on sixth-seed Tulalip Heritage (4-12) at 5:30 p.m. in a first-round, loser-out contest with the winner also advancing to the tri-district tourney. The Lady Blackhawks have beaten the Hawks, 42-32 and 41-17, this season.
Lummi Boys Co-Favorites With League Rivals
The Blackhawks are co-favorites along with Tulalip Heritage (17-2) in the boys tournament, which features the top eight teams in the 1B Northwest League.
Both squads come in with 15-1 league records and split their two meetings, each winning at home. Lummi is ranked No.4 in the state’s RPI ratings and the Hawks are ranked No.3.
The rest of the county’s teams begin their district tournaments next week. Check with www.whatcomhoops.com for previews of the Class 1A boys playoffs (starts Monday, Feb. 4), 1A girls (Feb. 4), 2A boys (Feb. 6), 2A girls (Feb. 7), 3A girls (Feb. 7) and 3A boys (Feb. 7).
“It’s a fresh new season for everybody,” said Lummi coach Jerome Toby. “But we’re playing our best basketball this time of year. And I like our focus and our energy. We’ll just take it one game at a time.”
If Lummi wins Thursday, it will face the winner of second-seeded Tulalip Heritage and No.3 Cedar Park Christian (Mountlake Terrace) in the district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Marysville-Getchell High School.
The loser of Thursday’s game will drop into the consolation bracket, and to qualify for the tri-district must either win a contest on Feb. 2 at Marysville-Getchell or a loser-out game on Feb. 5 at Lummi Nation High.
Lummi’s young squad has only two seniors, guard Jermaine Toby and forward Justin Mahle. The Blackhawks’ balanced attack is led by junior point guard Caleb Revey and features sophomore forward Ja’ie Leighton and a pair of freshmen, 6-4 center Tyran Lane and shooting guard Duncan Toby.
Class 1B boys district opening round (Jan. 31)
No.1 Lummi Nation (19-1) vs. No.4 Fellowship Christian (11-6)
No.2 Tulalip Heritage (18-2) vs. No.3 Cedar Park Christian (Mountlake Terrace) (16-4)
No.5 Orcas Christian (7-9) vs. No.8 Shoreline Christian (1-19) (loser out)
No.6 Lopez (7-11) vs. No.7 Grace Academy (6-13) (loser out
Lummi Nation Girls Need One Win To Advance
The Lady Blackhawks took second in the 1B Northwest League and will be looking to continue their winning ways Thursday, when a victory will advance them to the tri-district tournament.
“They have been growing with each game, and we want to see how far we can get,” said Lummi coach Kevin Day.
“The girls are excited (about the playoffs). I tell them it’s a good time for them them to feel that way. We feel we can play with anybody.”
Because there are less 1B Northwest League schools playing girls basketball, the six-team district tournament includes an extra squad — Mount Vernon Christian.
The Hurricanes come in with a 17-1 record and are ranked No.4 in the state. They would be Lummi Nation’s opponent in the district semifinals on Saturday at Marysville-Getchell if the Lady Blackhawks win their opener.
Mount Vernon Christian won an early-season meeting between the two teams, 39-25.
If they beat Mount Vernon Christian, the Lady Blackhawks would move to the district championship game at Marysville-Getchell, possibly against top-seeded Grace Academy of Marysville (12-3), which has two victories over Lummi this season.
A loss in the semis would put the Lady Blackhawks in the consolation final at Lummi for third place. Both the championship game and consolation final are on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
The Lummi girls are led by their senior guards, Dezirae Toby and Shelby-Rae Jacobs, and junior Ashtin McElderry, and sophomores Alayna Solomon and Rian Greene.