Seniors Help Lummi Nation Girls, Boys Sweep Tulalip

On a special evening when Lummi Nation School honored its senior basketball players, those seniors paid it back by leading the Blackhawks to a doubleheader sweep of Tulalip Heritage in their regular-season finale on Monday night, Jan. 30.

With much of the Lummi Nation community in attendance, the Lady Blackhawks overpowered the Lady Hawks, 79-12, in the opener. After a slow start in the boys nightcap, the Blackhawks held the Hawks at bay for a convincing 67-48 victory.

From the opening ceremonial playing and dancing of the Lummi Nation national anthem by adults and youngsters with traditional instruments and traditional clothing, to honoring the eight senior players and one senior cheerleader and their families and friends with balloons and flowers, to both Lummi teams starting all their seniors in their last regular-season home game, it was … well, let’s let some of the seniors describe it.

“It was meaningful with all my family and friends and sisters here,” said Raven Solomon.

“The atmosphere with friends and family sharing the love … it was a special night,” said Peyton Brockie, captain of the boys team. 

“It’s sad,” said Aliesha Solomon, who along with cousin Raven has played on the varsity since eighth grade. “But we’ve been here a long time.”

Lummi Nation coach Krista Jefferson agreed. “It was an emotional night,” she said. “It was hard to keep the focus on the game.” Of course, you wouldn’t have known it by the Blackhawks’ performances.

Whatcom Hoops January-31-2023
The Lady Blackhawks cheer for a teammate’s basket.


Lummi Nation 79, Tulalip Heritage 12

Having beaten the Hawks by 48 points just three weeks ago, there was little doubt of the outcome. What doubt there was was erased in the first two minutes when the Blackhawks’ press prevented Tulalip from even crossing halfcourt as Lummi Nation jumped to a 7-0 lead.

Even with Jefferson mercifully calling off the press a minute into the second quarter and playing her bench more than her starters, the Blackhawks still only gave up four points in the second half, two of those coming on a bucket at the final buzzer.

The seniors led the way as they have much of their five-year careers. Raven Solomon had 24 points and two 3-pointers, and Aliesha Solomon also outscored the entire Tulalip team with her 15 points. Juniors Keyonee Morris and Serena Pantalia added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Blackhawks. 

Lummi Nation, which is eighth in the Class 1B state RPI rankings, raised its overall record to 15-2 and 11-0 in the Northwest 1B League. Tulalip Heritage fell to 9-7 overall and 8-4 in league play.

Having already clinched the league title, the Blackhawks will host a District 1 semifinal on Feb. 7 against an opponent yet to be determined. Win or lose, they will advance to the tri-district tournament and play for a state berth.

Jefferson said the team’s two losses against the second- and third-ranked 1B teams in the state in the Mount Vernon Christian Holiday Tournament inspired the girls to set their sights on Spokane, were the state tournament is held.

“We saw some of the competition and we decided we were going to work hard every day,” said Jefferson. “We definitely want to be a team that brings home a (state) trophy.”

In addition to the two Solomons, senior forward Justine Haley, senior cheerleader Onna Joe, and five seniors on the boys team were honored between the two games.

Lummi Nation 79, Tulalip Heritage 12

Tulalip Heritage               5         3         2         2—12

Lummi Nation                21       22       23       13—79

Tulalip Heritage: Chance, Jefferson, McLean 2, Jefferson 5, K. McLean 5, Cortez, Grace.

Lummi Nation: H. Haley 3, M. Morris, A. Solomon 15, R. Solomon 24, James 7, Kapuni-Lopez, Jones 6, Pantalia 10, K. Morris 11, J. Haley 2, Williams, Toby.

Whatcom Hoops January-31-2023
Lummi Nation coaches and players are having a good time on Senior Night.


Lummi Nation 67, Tulalip Heritage 48

Lummi Nation coach Jerome Toby honored his five seniors — Richard Wilson, Rylee Mahle, Payton Scott, Frank Solomon, and Brockie — by starting them.

“It was great that the community came out and showed its support for them,” said Toby. “They were so excited and nerves got to them. They wanted to score so badly.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much scoring by either team as the Blackhawks led by an uncharacteristic 8-7 score after one period. But then they got rolling, building up a 24-point lead going into the final period that held up despite a Hawks’ rally that cut the margin to 11 with four minutes to go.

Fittingly, it was the Lummi Nation seniors who again led the way. Wilson, who normally starts, had his usual explosive game with 24 points. Scott had a great first half with eight of his 10 points before intermission, and Brockie took over after halftime with all eight of his points in the second half.

Toby was especially happy for Brockie, who started in the basketball program as a manager, finally making the varsity as a junior but missing the district and tri-district tournaments last year because of COVID.

“I am proud of him,” said the coach. “He’s one of the greatest teammates we’ve had in our program. He keeps the morale high and we appreciate that. He’s had this coming.”

In addition to the seniors, freshman point guard Jerome Toby Jr. kept the offense under control and tossed in 13 points, including a 6-for-6 performance at the free throw line.

The Blackhawks (14-6 overall and 10-1 in league) are still waiting for the district tournament seeding, but having finished second in the Northwest 1B League after last Saturday’s one-point loss to first-place Grace Academy, they appear to be a shoo-in for a top-four spot.

That means they’ll be hosting a district quarterfinal contest on Saturday, Feb. 4, also against an opponent yet to be decided. And coach Toby can’t wait.

“The boys are hungry for the postseason,” he said. “This is a new group that’s had to develop its own identity. They want to get back to Spokane. We’ll be ready on Saturday for whoever it is we play.”

Tulalip Heritage, which was led by the 30 points of Louis Gallagher, wrapped up its regular season at 12-6 overall and 9-4 in league and will join Lummi Nation in the district playoffs.

Lummi Nation 67, Tulalip Heritage 48

Tulalip Heritage               7       12       10       19—48

Lummi Nation                  8       21       22       14—67

Tulalip Heritage: L. Gallagher 30, Guzman 2, Shopbell, Black Tomahawk 6, B. Gallagher 8, Pablo 2, Miranda, Rhoads.

Lummi Nation: Toby 13, Perkins, Francis 6, Johnson 2, Day, Mahle, Wilson 24, Scott 10, Bailey, 2, Solomon, Brockie 8, Edwards 2.

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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