High octane Hawks soaring over competition

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Buckets, buckets and more buckets. The Tulalip Heritage boys’ basketball team exceeded expectations last year by advancing all the way to the State tournament in Spokane. This season, with nearly every player returning and joined by several talented playmakers, the expectations are not only to get back to State, but to win-out this time and earn the coveted title of State Champion. 

In the early stages of the 2018-2019 season, the Heritage boys are displaying a level of play that warrants such lofty expectations. In their season opener, they made quick work of Shoreline Christian by playing at a scorching offensive pace that resulted in an 80-27 win. Heritage newcomer, sophomore guard Leno Vela scored a game-high 22 points, Alonzo Jones added 17 points and Isaac Comenote chipped in 14 points.

Two day later they didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well, but still easily outpaced Concrete, 58-22. Alonzo led the team with 17 points, while Isaac added 12 points.

With four days off between games, the team not only got in quality practice time but also saw their already deep roster get deeper with the return of guard Josh Iukes and forward Sam Fryberg. 

Providence Classical Christian had no idea what was in store for them, as the Hawks put on an offensive clinic on Tuesday, December 4. The boys drained 3-ball after 3-ball when they weren’t scoring easily at the rim. Tulalip finished only points shy of hitting the century mark in the blowout, winning 94-14. The scoring touch carried over days later when the Hawks traveled to Lopez Island and put a hurting on the Lobos. Behind a high octane offense, the boys cruised to a 92-45 victory. 

Undefeated at (4-0), the Heritage buzz was growing in anticipation of the always competitive rivalry game with the (2-0) Lummi Nation Blackhawks played on Saturday, December 8. Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium was jam-packed with spectators and rowdy fans representing both teams. 

In the opening minutes, the Hawks found themselves in an unfamiliar position as they trailed 0-6. They responded by finishing the 1st quarter on a 23-9 run behind timely outside shooting by Isaac and Sam Fryberg bulling defenders in the post.  As they often do, Tulalip and Lummi both raised their play especially on the defensive side to tighten the game through the 2nd and 3rd quarters. 

With four-minutes to go in the 4th quarter, the Hawks had a slim 63-60 lead. Chants of “Tulalip power!” echoed through the gym as the home crowd did their best to pump up their Heritage team. The boys responded by finishing the game on impressive 12-6 run fueled by a series of made jumpers by the team’s go to one-on-one scorers, Alonzo and Leno.

The decisive run sealed a 75-66 win over a quality Lummi team and kept the Hawks’ undefeated record intact. Leno had a game-high 18 points, while Alonzo and Isaac scored 14 points each. 

At (5-0), Tulalip has soared over all their opponents thus far by making full use of their roster’s rare combination of speed, shooting and pure athleticism. Their blistering pace has made it extremely difficult for teams to keep up with, let alone make it a close game. Through their first five games, the Hawks are scoring 80 points per game while only giving up a measly 35 per to their opponents. That differential makes for a whopping 45 point average margin of victory, domination at its finest.

Memorable season comes to a close for Tulalip Hawks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The (21-6) Tulalip Heritage Hawks basketball team earned their spot in the State Tournament after a strong postseason showing, culminating with a convincing 66-57 win over Pope John Paul II in the Regional round. The victory propelled Tulalip to Top 12 status among all division 1B schools in Washington and gave them the #11 seed at State.

Spokane Arena was home to the deciding tournament, where the winner would be crowned Washington State 1B Champions. For the Tulalip Hawks, their path to glory began with an all too familiar foe, the Lions from Cedar Park Christian. During the regular season and subsequent postseason games, the Hawks and Cedar Park had played each other four times, with the Hawks losing each of those games by an average margin of 21 points.

And so the Tulalip boys and their coaching staff took to the Spokane Arena court on February 28th looking to upset the #3 ranked Cedar Park in the 1st round of State.

Heritage started the game playing a zone defense in the hopes of keeping Cedar Park from the rim and attacking the hoop. Cedar Park countered that defense by shooting red hot from outside, to the tune of making five 3-pointers in the opening minutes. Midway through the 1st quarter the Hawks trailed 3-18.

When the Hawks went to a man-to-man defense to close out on shooters and not give up uncontested jumpers, Cedar Park countered by playing through their bigs in the post. After only scoring 6 points in the 1st quarter, Tulalip’s offense got going in the 2nd, led by senior guard Josh Iukes. The boys scored 20 points in the 2nd, but were unable to slow down Cedar Park on the defensive end. At halftime the Hawks trailed 26-49.

After trailing by as much as 30 points, 28-58, the Hawks would rally in the 4th quarter, but it wouldn’t be enough as they lost 72-88. There’s no shame in getting beat to a team that’s simply bigger and better. The Hawks kept their heads held high and kept firing away even after going down big. Sophomore guard Josh Miranda showcased the fighting spirit well as he entered the game late in the 1st half and from the point on made six 3-pointers, including a half-court buzzer beater, to lead his team with 18 points. Paul Shay, Jr. scored 17 points, and Samuel Fryberg added 13 points.

Tulalip finished the season with a (21-7) record, the 21 Ws being the most since the 2013-2014 season, a well-earned showing at State, and made many exciting memories during the season for their graduating senior players.

Heritage Hawks come up clutch with 66-57 win at Regionals

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

In the biggest game of the season, with a trip to State on the line, the Heritage Hawks overcame an early deficit, managed their foul trouble, and rode the flaming hot-hand of Jr. Shay for an emphatic victory.

The game was played on a neutral site, Jackson High School in Mill Creek, on Saturday, February 24 between the Tulalip Heritage Hawks and the Eagles from Pope John Paul II. These two team previously played two weeks prior, with the Hawks earning a hard fought 50-44 W.

During the 1st quarter, the Hawks came out lethargic and found themselves in an early 2-8 hole. After making a couple substitutions to shore up the defense, Tulalip got engaged on both ends of the floor and tied the game at 10-10.

Trailing 15-18 entering the 2nd quarter, Hawks senior guard Jr. Shay started to make his imprint on the game in a big way. Jr. bailed out back-to-back possessions late in the shot clock by knocking down 3-pointers. The outside shooting was contagious as Josh Iukes and Alonzo Jones both got buckets from perimeter shooting as well. At halftime Tulalip led 31-28.

In the 3rd quarter, with the score tied at 36-36, center Rodney Barber picked up his 4th foul, sending him to the bench. As a team, Heritage collected its 7th team foul with 1:15 remaining, meaning their opponent would be in a bonus free-throw situation for the remainder of the 3rd and entire 4th quarters. For their part, the Hawks navigated their foul trouble admirably by playing straight-up defense and contesting jump shots without fouling.

The game turned when Jr. Shay knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the game, followed by Josh Iukes and Isaac Comenote both connecting on 3-pointers of their own. The offensive spurt put Tulalip ahead 49-39.

Down the stretch of the 4th quarter, Jr. Shay hit two more 3-pointers, giving him a season-high six 3-pointers made in the game. The Eagles from Pope John Paul II intentionally fouled to slow the game down, but the Hawks were hitting their free-throws to keep their lead in the double digits. When the final buzzer sounded, Heritage came away with the 66-57 win.

Jr. Shay led all scorers with 27 points, Alonzo had 13 points and team high 8 rebounds, and Josh Iukes added 12 points and 3 steals.

“My team was drive-and-kicking me the ball a lot because I was getting open, and I executed with six 3-pointers,” Jr. Shay stated with lots of energy following the W. “Me and Isaac were knocking down threes right off the bat and the team did a good job of riding the hot hand. If it wasn’t for the hustle of the guys down low, Rodney, Sammy, and Nashone getting into position and then kicking the ball back out to the guards, we wouldn’t have the outside shooting setup like we did.

“Honestly, as a senior today knowing this could be my final high school game, I had to take over at times because I wasn’t ready to go home. Now, we’re moving on to the Dome, to the State Tournament in Spokane. We’re going to try to make something special happen now.”

Heritage Hawks finish 4th at Tri-Districts,  on to Regionals

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

After defeating Pope John Paul II in the opening round of the Tri-District Tournament, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks (20-4) had two days to prepare for the #1 ranked Muckleshoot Kings. The game was played at Evergreen Lutheran H.S. in Tacoma on Thursday, February 15.

Muckleshoot entered the game riding a 15-game winning streak and had earned the #1 seed in the tournament. Meanwhile, Tulalip was coming off an exciting home win, but they would be without two key contributors in Nashone Whitebear (ankle) and Paul Shay, Jr. (personal).

In the early going, the Hawks held their own especially on the defensive end where they did a stellar job of keeping the high-octane Muckleshoot offense at bay. Muckleshoot averages 90 points per game and has hung a 100+ on five teams during the regular season. At the end of the 1st quarter, Tulalip trailed 7-14.

In the 2nd quarter, the Hawks would get to within five points, 9-14, but then the defense that had been doing such a good job containing Muckleshoot finally gave way. In only a matter of minutes the Kings went on a 24-3 tear to end the 2nd quarter. Tulalip didn’t have the fire power to mount a comeback and without a full squad it was difficult enough to keep players from exhausting themselves on defense. Tulalip would lose the game 51-88. Josh Iukes led his team with 13 points, while Isaac Comenote added 9 points.

Nothing helps a team forget a loss like returning to the court and getting a W, and the very next day, February 16, the Hawks played Mt. Rainier Lutheran in an epic clash. After a back and forth 1st quarter that saw the teams go bucket for bucket, the score was tied 15-15.

Mt. Rainier got the Hawks in foul trouble and was knocking down their free-throws. The Hawks repeatedly sending their opponent to the free-throw line had put them in a 33-40 hole entering the final quarter. But in the 4th quarter, when it mattered most, the Hawks responded with one of their best stretches of basketball. They were contesting everything on defense and did it without fouling, while on offense Josh Iukes was controlling the tempo and finding his guys for in rhythm buckets. The Hawks won the 4th quarter 19-7 to pull off a crucial 52-47 comeback. Josh led all players in scoring with 17 points.

The victory over Mt. Rainier Lutheran put the Heritage Hawks in the 3rd/4th place game where they would once again play the Lions from Cedar Park Christian. On the year Tulalip had only lost four games and of those four, three had come at the hands of Cedar Park. The inside presence of two strong post players and a highly talented guard had been too much for the Hawks to handle in their previous matchups. Would the fourth time be the charm?

The answer would be no. The Hawks put up a good fight in the 1st half, matching the intensity of Cedar Park. The boys played their best quarter in terms of defense against Cedar Park standout Erwin Weary, holding him to zero buckets in the 1st quarter. That being said, Tulalip still trailed 21-31 at halftime. Then Erwin and Cedar Park got hot in the 3rd quarter to put the game away. Tulalip was outscored 12-25 in the 3rd quarter and went on to lose the game, 50-68.

Even with the loss, the Heritage Hawks had finished 4th in the Tri-District Tournament and clinched a berth in Regionals. They will play on Saturday, February 24, at 2:00p.m. at Jackson High School in Mill Creek. Their opponent is Pope John Paul II, a team the Hawks have already beaten once this year. If they win again, then they’ll be on to State.

Two dominant playoff Ws give Hawks chance at 1B District crown

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Heritage Hawks basketball team ended the regular season with a (17-3) overall record, which included a (12-2) record in league play. Both those two inner-league losses came at the hands of a Cedar Park Christian team that finished their season undefeated. When the NW1B District playoff bracket was announced, many expected Tulalip and Cedar Park to meet in the Championship game.

Tulalip entered the tournament as the #2 seed, which allowed them to host an opening round game. Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium was jam packed with friends and family who came out to root on their team on February 1st, when then hosted Shoreline Christian.

These two teams had faced off twice during the regular season and in each the Hawks came away with 30+ point victories. Because of the lopsided nature of those wins, the Hawks started the game sluggish. The defensive rotations weren’t there and the boy just weren’t playing hard. At the end of the 1st quarter, the home team only led by 1 point, 17-16.

During intermission, the Hawks coaching staff lit a fire under the team to get them playing their usual brand of up-tempo, aggressive basketball. The whole squad responded, but none more so than senior guard, Jr. Shay. He was absolutely on fire in the 3rd quarter, scoring 18 points on 7/8 shooting. His intensity was contagious and defensively the Hawks only allowed 16 points the entire 2nd half.

Heritage ended up routing Shoreline 70-39 in front of a crowd of cheering fans. Jr. Shay led all scorers with 21 points, Alonzo Jones added 14 points, and Rodney Barber chipped in 12 points.

Moving onto the 2nd round of the tournament, the Hawks traveled to Lummi where they played the Grace Academy Eagles on February 3rd.  During the regular season Tulalip had defeated Grace by 20+ in both their matchup. This game would mirror those previous ones.

Grace had no answer for the length and athleticism of the Tulalip boys. Center Rodney Barber was corralling rebounds on both ends of the floor and scoring at the rim over the shorter Grace players. After the 1st quarter, the Hawks led 17-12 and would balloon their lead from there.

Hawks players continued to move the ball well offensively, leading to all five starters finding their groove and knocking down shots. Defensively, the Hawks hounded the Grace ball handlers into committing several turnovers. In the 2nd quarter Grace would only score 8 points because of the defensive pressure.

When the buzzer sounded signaling end of game, the Hawks had notched a 67-46 victory, advancing them to the Championship round. Rodney led the Hawks in scoring with 15 points, Nashone Whitebear added 14 points, and Alonzo chipped in 11 points.

Next up, the Hawks will face off against Cedar Park Christian tonight for the NW1B crown. The Hawks nearly beat them the last time they matched up and are looking to ride their recent momentum to an upset victory over the undefeated Cedar Park.

After suffering first L, Hawks bounce back with three Ws

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Heritage boys basketball team opened the season undefeated with a (9-0) record. As they powered through the NW1B league, so did league foe Cedar Park Christian (11-0). This set up a battle of the unbeaten on January 5 at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium.

Cedar Park proved during the game that their bigger, stronger backcourt was able to keep Heritage off the boards and prevent them from attacking the basket. The Hawks had lots of difficulty manufacturing points in the 1st half and trailed 13-34 at halftime. In the 2nd half, the Hawks got back to running and playing their style, but their deficit was too large. Their winning streak was snapped with a 43-60 defeat.

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Hawks responded by putting up a season-high in points when they whooped Shoreline Christian, 87-53. They followed that up with a 70-32 blowout win over Providence Classical Christian.

Next up was rival Lummi Nation, in a home game played on Tuesday, January 16. With the gym packed full of fans for both sides, the environment was prime for a competitive game. Lummi came out with a solid game plan of slowing down the pace of play to throw the Hawks off their game. It worked over the first three quarters. The Hawks are so accustomed to playing up-tempo and using their combination of speed and athleticism to get transition buckets that Lummi’s slow, methodical pace gave them fits.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the game was tied at 34-34. In the 4th quarter, the Hawks were finally able to bust the game open with their senior players leading the offensive charge. Josh Iukes hit two clutch 3-pointers and Nashone Whitebear scored 8 points in a four-minute frenzy, giving Tulalip the momentum to take home victory. Up by several baskets, Tulalip focused in on Lummi’s key scorer and prevented him from scoring down the stretch.

When the final game buzzer sounded, the Hawks had earned a hard fought 52-40 W. Josh led the Hawks in scoring with 13 points, while Nashone, Jr. Shay, and Rodney Barber each added 10 points.

The Hawks look to keep getting better in their half-court sets, as a looming matchup with Cedar Park on January 26 will surely go a long way to dictating who wins the NW1B crown. Next up for the Hawks is a road game at Lopez before returning home on Tuesday, January 23, for Senior Night versus Grace Academy.

Heritage Hawks remain unbeaten and atop NW 1B standings

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Seven games played, seven games won. The Tulalip Heritage Hawks basketball team (7-0) opened their season with three straight wins versus class 2B schools, then entered league play where they have been crushing it on both ends of the floor.

Their last four opponents have all been within the NW 1B league and the Hawks came away with convincing victories in each game. They defeated Providence Classical Christian 70-32, Orcas Christian 62-46, Lummi Nation 60-43, and Lopez 78-34. That’s a whopping margin of victory by 29 points per game during that span.

Coach Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg points to two key factors for the Hawks success on the hardwood. First, is defensive hustle; with a team full of athletic wings who can switch at several positions, the Hawks are putting much more emphasis on man-to-man defense instead of zoning up. This defensive intensity makes it difficult for opponents to get into a groove. Secondly, the Hawks consistently play all-around team ball on the offensive end; the ball movement is solid with players routinely making the extra pass to an open teammate. This has led to several Hawks averaging double-digit points.

On the calendar for early next month is a home showdown with also unbeaten Cedar Park Christian (6-0) on Friday, January 5. The matchup will be a barometer for both teams to see who has the advantage for taking home the NW1B crown.

Hawks start season with perfect 3-0 record

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

This time last year, the Tulalip Heritage boys basketball team was (0-4) and in desperate search of a W. What a difference a year makes. Coach Bubba Fryberg has taken over head coaching duties for the boys team, assisted by Jared Parks and Marc Robinson, and together they’ve coached their team to a (3-0) start to the new season. Most impressive, all three Ws have come against 2B schools, a division higher than Heritage’s 1B classification.

In their home opener, the Hawks hosted the Mount Vernon Christian Hurricanes on November 29th. Family and friends filled the bleachers to watch a very entertaining game. It couldn’t have started any better for the Hawks; they jumped out to an 11-0 lead and pushed that to 17-4 at the end of the 1st quarter. The ball was moving and every starter had scored points.

Defensively, the Hawks weren’t allowing anything at the rim or in the paint. The Hurricanes were forced to settle with contested jumper after contested jumper.

Over the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the ball continued to move well for the Hawks and the point distribution continued. Going into the final quarter the Hawks led 38-24.

The 4th quarter saw a blowout turn into a grit and grind game. Suddenly, the Hurricanes couldn’t miss and the Hawks couldn’t buy a bucket. The lead dwindled by the minute and with only 21 seconds remaining the Hawks led 41-40 with Mt. Vernon Christian inbounding the ball. Tulalip played solid defense that resulted in a contested 3-pointer that missed, giving the Hawks the W in a front of a frenzied home crowd.

Freshman Alonzo Jones-Smith led all Hawks with 12 points, Rodney Barber scored 10 points, and Paul Shay Jr. chipped in 7 points.

Two days later, on December 1, Tulalip traveled to Darrington High School and won 45-37. The very next day they played again. This time taking on the La Conner Braves. In a heated game that saw multiple runs by both teams, the Hawks pulled out an impressive 49-45 victory. The (3-0) start is the first such undefeated start since the 2013-2014 team that made it all the way to State.

Coach Bubba attributes the team’s early season success to “defensive hustle, more emphasis on man-to-man defense rather than running zone, and all around team effort on offensive.”

Celebrating athletic accomplishment

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy Heritage H.S.

Tulalip Heritage High School faculty and coaches honored their Fall and Winter sports participants with a joint celebration and banquet-style potluck on Wednesday, March 29 in the Heritage Commons.

With friends and family in attendance, the players took center stage and received recognition for their dedication to practice, constant improvement and teamwork during the sports season.

Bringing cheer and halftime entertainment to every home and playoff game were the Heritage cheerleaders. They always kept a positive attitude, smiles on their faces, and were determined to keep the home crowds upbeat.

 

The Hawks football team was short on eligible players this past season, but that didn’t stop them from showing up come game day and leaving their all on the field. After a narrow 2-point loss in their opening game, the football program showed out the very next game for a 51-26 victory in front of the home crowd.

 

Lady Hawks volleyball had another productive season under coach Tina Brown. The girls opened the season with five straight victories on their way to a 9-6 regular season record and a trip to the postseason. At the 1B District playoffs, they dropped their first match before bouncing back with back-to-back Ws and earning a trip to Tri-Districts.

 


Coaches Marlin and Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg made the best of a rebuilding year for their boys basketball program. With so many new faces on the team there was a steep learning curve. The Hawks opened the season 1-6, but soon after found their identity and went 7-5 down the stretch to clinch a playoff spot. In the postseason, the boys played their best basketball and defeated two teams with better records to earn a Tri-District berth.

 

The Lady Hawks basketball program achieved the most this year. The girls carried a stellar record all season long on their way to battling for the NW1B regular season crown. Led by their Big 3 (Aliya Jones, Keryn Parks, and Deandra Grant), they finished the regular season 16-3. With two decisive victories to open the playoffs, the Lady Hawks matched up with inner-league foe Cedar Park Christian for the third time in the NW1B championship game. Back and forth for nearly the whole game, Cedar Park pulled away in the final minutes. It was a heartbreaking game for the Lady Hawks, but they bounced back admirably to win two more games at Tri-Districts and clinched consecutive trips to Regionals.

Coach Bubba Fryberg was recognized as Coach of the Year in the Northwest 1B League, while three of his players (Aliya, Keryn, and Deandra) were named to the All-League 1st Team. Additionally, Aliya earned All-State recognition with an honorable mention by the Associated Press.

Hawks finding their identity, get 2nd W 

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The (1-4) Tulalip Heritage Hawks were coming off their first W of the season when they defeated Summit Sierra, 51-46, back on December 20. They traveled to Puyallup on Tuesday, December 27, to play the (4-2) Chief Leschi Warriors. Tulalip only had 5 players for this one.

The Warriors were just the better team, especially with the Hawks missing guys, and had their way on both ends against Tulalip. The Hawks hadn’t played an opponent like Chief Leschi and struggled to matchup with their athleticism. With only five guys the burden would fall on guard Josh Iukes to carry the team, but the Warriors knew this as well and constantly threw a double-team at him, forcing Josh to give up the ball.

Tulalip trailed 8-21 after the 1st quarter and the deficit only increased at halftime when they trailed 16-48. When the game was over Tulalip lost 28-75. The only bright spot for the Hawks was forward Samuel Fryberg finding a rhythm and getting buckets in front of his cheering family. Sam knocked down three 3-pointers and led his team with 13 points.

 

 

Lummi Nation hosted the Tulalip Hawks the very next day. The game played out very similar to the Leschi game, with Lummi opting to press and double Tulalip’s key ball handler. The strategy worked again as Tulalip committed many turnovers on errant passes that led to easy transition buckets for the Blackhawks. Tulalip would lose the game 31-65.

After losing back-to-back games to fellow tribal schools, the Hawks returned home to host (2-5) Grace Academy on Tuesday, January 3. These two teams matched up very well on paper and with a large crowd turn-out, the people were expecting a highly competitive game. Got to give the people what they want.

 

 

In the 1st quarter, Nashone Whitebear caught fire by making three straight baskets. Trailing 6-9, freshman Josh Miranda found his spots in the offensive sets and made Grace pay for leaving him open. Josh splashed in consecutive 3-pointers to keep his team close. At the end of the opening quarter, Tulalip trailed 14-18.

After some quick buckets by the home team, it was a 19-20 game before Grace went on a 12-2 run. Trailing 21-31, Tulalip called a timeout. The Hawks players were strongly urged to turn up their defensive intensity and stop giving up uncontested buckets if they were going to get back in the game. Paul Shay responded, coming up with two timely steals and going on a 6-0 run of his own. Tulalip finished the quarter strong and cut their deficit to only 4 points, 31-35 at halftime.

Starting the 2nd half, Miranda hit another 3-pointer to bring his team within one point, 34-35. However, this time it was Grace finishing the quarter strong, leaving Tulalip to trail 41-48 with one quarter to play.

In the 4th quarter, the Hawks as a team collectively willed their team to victory. Everyone was scrambling on defense to not give up any easy buckets, they were crashing the boards, and hitting the deck diving for loose balls. Nashone once again got the hot hand and scored three straight baskets. With just over five minutes to go, the Hawks took their first lead of the game 49-48. With the defense still turned on full throttle, Grace Academy was at a loss on the offensive end. They were held to only 5 points in the quarter.

In the game’s biggest moments down the stretch, guard Josh Iukes was clutch. Josh hit a corner 3-pointer to give his team a 52-49 lead and then he sealed the deal draining another 3-pointer with only seconds remaining. Tulalip played their best team game of the season and earned their second victory, 55-53.

Nashone and Josh both led all scorers with 16 points each, Miranda with his three 3-pointers scored 9 points, while Paul and Rodney both added 8 points.