Lady Hawks rally late for emphatic Tri-District victory

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Coming off a stellar 2nd place finish at the Northwest 1B District tournament, the Heritage Lady Hawks (13-8) were riding a wave of success. They had won 6 of their past 7 and gotten hot at the perfect time late in the season. 

Because of their recent success and high finish at Districts they were rewarded with a 1st round home game to open the Tri-District tournament. They played the Mustangs of Rainier Christian (5-15) on Saturday, February 15.

The first half was flat out ugly for the home team Lady Hawks. They were sloppy with their passes and not executing their offense anywhere close to what’s been expected. The defense wasn’t much better, allowing the Mustangs to get easy looks close to the basket.

At halftime, Tulalip trailed 19-31.

In the 2nd half, the girls flipped a switch and all of a sudden it was the winning style Lady Hawk basketball being played. The guards were making crisp, on-point passes to forwards Jacynta Myles and Krislyn Parks who were bulldozing their way over the much smaller Mustang players. 

Defensively, the team was locked-in. They contested every shot, kept their hands active to force turnovers, and battled for every rebound. Down 12 at halftime, Tulalip quickly bounced back in the 3rd quarter to tie the game at 39-39.

In the decisive 4th quarter, Tulalip kept going to the well and getting the ball to their forwards who were taking full advantage of their overpowering presence. In fact, at one point in the 2nd half, Jacynta and Krislyn combined to shoot an impressive 16/21 from the field. That hot shooting combined with the team’s lockdown defense forcing the Mustangs to shoot contested, off-balance shots meant victory for the Lady Hawks.

The start may have been ugly, but the finish more than made up for it enroute to an emphatic 57-45 home win. 

“We were not playing well at all in the 1st half,” said sophomore standout Jacynta following the comeback. “Personally, I had to change my energy and play more aggressive because we deserved a win. Once we got going in the 2nd half, the whole team’s energy changed and we knew we had the W.”

“Our coaches emphasized to us at halftime that we needed to play our game and quit trying to adjust to our opponent’s defense,” added co-captain Krislyn. “We needed to get the ball inside, pound them with post play, and quit settling for 3-point shots. We wanted to be a cleanup crew by grabbing every rebound and getting putback baskets.”

A 1st round Tri-District win is good all on its own, but making it even more special was it came on Krislyn’s 17th birthday, which was celebrated after the game by the group of delighted hoopers.

“Two years ago we played a 1st round game, loser-out, on my birthday and we lost,” shared the newly minted 17-year-old. “So this was redemption for myself being a much better player and being able to do more to help the team win.”

The Lady Hawks hit the road for a crucial matchup with rival Lummi at Mt. Vernon Christian High School. They’ll play a late game on Thursday, February 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45pm.

Hawks season comes to abrupt end at Tri-Districts

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

A season filled with much excitement and anticipation came to an abrupt end over the weekend, as the Tulalip Heritage boys basketball team (13-7) hosted Tacoma Baptist (16-7) in a 1st round matchup of the 1B Tri-District tournament.

The loser-out game was played on Saturday, February 15 at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium. The stakes were simple, win and be guaranteed two more Tri-District games or lose and be finished. 

Adoring fans filled the gym’s bleacher sitting prior to the game’s opening tip-off. 

Early in the game Tacoma Baptist was dictating tempo and shooting a high percentage of 3-point shots against the Hawks’ defense. Making matters worse, the Tulalip boys were struggling to find their rhythm offensively.

At the end of the 1st quarter, the home team trailed 7-21. That deficit grew to 18-35 at halftime. 

During the intermission, Tulalip coaches emphasized to their players to not scoreboard watch, but instead simply play their game: High energy on both ends and leave nothing for later because there might not be a later. 

In the 2nd half, trailing by 17 points, the boys kept their heads held high and came out determined to make a game of it. They came out hustling on defense, going all out to force turnovers, while routinely diving on the floor for loose balls. On offense, they finally found a rhythm and made a point of attacking the basket.

Leading the comeback charge was junior forward Alonzo Jones. He connected on five straight shots at one point, capitalizing on the steals his fellow backcourt players were coming up with. The crowd was fully engaged and back into it, cheering madly for their squad to come up with a miracle comeback. 

The Hawks trimmed the Tacoma Baptist lead from 17 points all the way down to just 4, when they trailed 56-60 with just over a minute remaining in the 4th quarter. Forced to foul to preserve precious seconds of game play, they boys hoped their opponent would miss critical free-throws. Instead, Tacoma Baptist clutch free-throw shooting iced the game. 

Tulalip lost 59-67. Alonzo led his team with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Senior guard Leno Velo added 16 points and 3 steals in his final high school game. 

Heritage finished the season with a (13-8) record overall and, most impressively, continued the school’s streak of eight consecutive years making it to at least the Tri-District phase of postseason play.

Hawks bounce back at Districts with 3rd place finish

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage Hawks boys basketball team entered the Northwest 1B district playoffs as a #3 seed and as such had to play on the road on February 6 versus the #2 seeded Cedar Park Christian. These two teams matched up twice in the regular season, with both teams winning on the other’s home court. 

A 3rd matchup made for a highly entertaining game. It was a back and forth affair with both teams determined to execute game plans. Heritage wanted to push the tempo and run at every opportunity, while Cedar Park wanted to be more methodical and slow the game down. Cedar Park’s strategy won out on this day because Tulalip’s shooting went cold in the game’s final minutes and resulted in a 57-65 loss.

“Looking back, we played too conservative and that’s what cost us,” explained Coach Cyrus ‘Bubba’ Fryberg. “The style that best suits us is playing fast, fast, and more fast. That’s what our focus has to be.”

In a 2nd round matchup with Lopez, Tulalip lived up to the coach’s expectation of playing fast. From the opening seconds they came out firing on all cylinders. The defense was forcing turnovers and making everything difficult for Lopez shooters, while the Hawks offense caught fire from field. A double-digit halftime lead continued to grow in the 2nd half. Lopez was unable to limit the Hawks’ high flying attack and the boys went on to make quick work of their opponent, 75-51.

Tulalip matched up with Mount Vernon Christian on February 11 in a battle for 3rd place at Districts. The atmosphere was heated as the gym was at maximum capacity with fans cheering loudly for both teams. 

The Hawks aggressive style was on full display from the game’s opening tip. The boys took a 19-4 lead by coming up with one steal after another and converting those into transition buckets. Their opponent refused to go down quietly however, as the Hurricanes adjusted and took advantage of their size and mismatches down low. The Hawks lead was trimmed to just four points, 29-25 at halftime.

In the 2nd half, the Hurricanes continue to play to their strength and cut the Hawks lead to just a single point, 33-32. Tulalip felt the pressure and used it to bounce back with an amazing 20-4 scoring run. They were once again feasting on forced turnovers and everyone was getting quality looks at the basket. Their relentless attack of the basket eventually wore down the Hurricanes. Now leading 53-36, the Hawks could coast to victory.

Heritage won out 65-49 to claim 3rd place at Districts. They were led by a trio of eye popping stat lines, including Alonzo Jones’ 16 points – 9 rebounds – 5 steals, Leno Vela’s 15 points – 5 assist – 8 steals, and Josh Miranda’s 13 points – 8 rebounds. 

What’s not visible in the box score is the high energy and contagious competitive spirt role players Daron Fryberg and Tarel Gonzales brought from beginning to end.

“They bring so much energy to our team and by giving them more playing time their aggressiveness is infectious…it ignites the rest of our team,” said Coach Bubba after the 3rd place showing. “We’ll look to continue playing our style of play at Tri-Districts, taking good shots, and playing an aggressive defense. I like our chances vs. anybody.”

The 1B Tri-District tournament begins this weekend. The Hawks will host their opening round matchup. Opponent is to be determined, but game time will be 1:30pm on Saturday, February 15.

Lady Hawks late season surge results in Top 2 showing at Districts

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News  

Just three short weeks ago, the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks basketball team had a (7-7) record and were looking to solidify their identity on the hardwood. The Lady Hawk coaching staff reviewed game footage and box scores to determine what they needed to focus on was defense.

In their seven wins, they held their opponents to a miniscule 31 points per game. But in their seven losses, they were giving up 46 points per game. The game plan was simple then, according to coaches, if the team locked in defensively they gave themselves the best chance to win.

“We decided we are going to control what our opponents do offensively by playing a box-and-1 style defense,” explained head coach Marc Robinson. “By taking away our opponents’ biggest threat and funneling everyone else towards our bigger and more physical interior defenders, we force a style that better suits us. If we play with those defensive principles we are difficult to beat.”

During their next four games vs. Grace Academy, Chief Kitsap, Cedar Park and Shoreline Christian, the Lady Hawks found a renewed sense of purpose and team identity anchored by their defense. The girls won each of those games by holding their opponents to 31 points or less, and rode the momentum of a 4-game winning streak into the Northwest 1B District playoffs. 

Kicking off on February 6, Tulalip earned the right to host a 1st round game at home in Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium. Led by their sophomore center Jacynta Myles dominating on both ends of the court, the Lady Hawks routed Lopez, 46-30. Jacynta scored a game-high 25 points. 

Next up, the girls hit the road to play the District’s #1 seed Grace Academy on February 8. In the regular season the two teams matched up twice and both times Tulalip was victorious. Before the game started it was obvious the Lady Hawks’ confidence was high and their defense was locked-in. They started the game riding their post-advantage by feeding the ball to Jacynta over and over. To her credit, Jacynta responded to her teammates trust by scoring one big bucket after another. 

The defense was impressive yet again as they held the top seeded Grace team to only 34 points, led by senior guard Deachae Jones and junior forward Krislyn Parks’ active hands and physical play. Tulalip game up big with an upset victory, 40-34, over rival Grace Academy to move on and play for the District championship. 

The District title game was held at Mt. Vernon Christian on February 11. The game pitted the Lady Hawks, who were on a 6-game winning streak, against the hosting Hurricanes, who had won eight of their last nine. Fans from both teams turned out and filled the gym with eager onlookers.

In the battle for 1st place, the intensity was turned up to the max. The Lady Hawks scouted their opponent and were determined to limit the Hurricanes best player. Unfortunately, Mt. Vernon had a team full of shooters who were ready to step up. Mt. Vernon’s role players showcased a 3-point touch that Tulalip was unable to shutdown. Meanwhile, Jacynta was seeing routine double-teams and even triple-teams to prevent her from scoring and the rest of her Lady Hawk teammates were having difficulty scoring the ball. 

Tulalip trailed 15-32 at halftime. They battled back early in the 3rd quarter with an 8-3 scoring run, but the Hurricanes continued to pile on with timely 3-pointers. The Lady Hawks daunting defense let them down this game, resulting in a 29-53 loss. Disappointed at the game’s results but still very much aware of the big picture, the Lady Hawks rejoiced in their 2nd place showing at Districts. 

“Throughout these playoffs we’ve really just had fun and enjoyed playing as a team,” shared co-captain Krislyn. “Our defense had been so good lately and our offense will continue to get better. We know we missed a lot of shots vs. this Mt. Vernon Christian team, but credit to them for playing as well as they did. 

“We will recoup and look forward to hosting a Tri-District game. At the end of the day, by finishing #2 here, we are super excited because we placed higher than the boys!”

The 1B Tri-District tournament begins this weekend. The Lady Hawks will host their opening round matchup. Opponent is to be determined, but game time will be 12pm on Saturday, February 15. Be sure to support your local hoopers on their quest for State.

M.P. prevails in berry bowl, the hardwood version

Tomahawk Elson Battle attempts a 3-pointer.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

M.P. vs. Getchell. Tomahawks vs. Chargers. The cross town rivalry lived up to all the hype when the green and gold Chargers (9-6) nearly toppled mighty Marysville-Pilchuck (14-2) on Friday, January 31. 

Many thought M.P. basketball would take a step backwards this year after losing all-state standout RaeQuan Battle to the University of Washington. They were wrong. The red and white Tomahawks have piled up one big win after another on their quest to get back to the State tournament. They were a perfect (10-0) in league play when the upset minded Chargers, led by junior phenom Malakhi Knight, entered the gym.

Three Tulalip tribal members are among the M.P. roster – senior T.J. Severn, Alec Jones and Elson Battle. Unfortunately, T.J. and Alec were unavailable to play in the rivalry game due to injury. 

A ruckus Marysville Pilchuck gymnasium grew louder and louder as the game played out. Tied at halftime, 27-27, the Tomahawks had no answer for Charger’s do-it-all player, Knight. He would finish the game with an impressive 34 points, but his scoring barrage wasn’t enough to outduel an M.P. team full of experienced seniors who are unafraid of the big moments.  The Tomahawks executed their plays in the game’s critical moments and capitalized on their home floor to secure the W, 61-57. 

Hawks come up short in back and forth game vs. Blackhawks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Riding a 5-game winning streak, the (7-2) Heritage Hawks hosted the (11-2) Lummi Blackhawks at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium on the evening of January 17th. A large contingent of both teams’ fans turned out to watch the matchup of tribal heavyweights play out on the hardwood. 

The Hawks found themselves facing an early deficit, 0-7, after failing to score a single point midway through the opening quarter. However, the tide turned dramatically after senior guard Josh Miranda hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 12-3 run by Tulalip and take the lead, 12-10.

The stands filled with energetic supporters cheered the loudest they have all season when the 2nd quarter began and their Hawks extended their lead to 14-10. After a series of plays in which Heritage players thought they were fouled, but the refs didn’t blow the whistle, the frustration boiled over when senior point guard Leno Velo got T’d up arguing a non-call. Now trailing, 16-19, Lummi sharpshooters caught fire and found success shooting 3-pointers against the Hawks’ zone defense.

By the end of the 3rd quarter, Tulalip struggles to keep up with the offensive pace of Lummi and lack of foul calls led to a 27-40 deficit. In the 4th quarter, Coach Bubba kept with his starters and urged them to keep playing their game. They responded by shocking Lummi with a 23-13 run in the final quarter. Led by Leno, Josh and Isaac Comenote all hitting 3-pointers and shots from the perimeter, while Alonzo Jones nabbed rebounds and steals, the boys fought back and got within one possession, 50-53, with under a minute to play. 

  An Isaac 3-point attempt with 20-seconds remaining rimmed just short. The bucket would have tied the game, but instead capped off a near stellar comeback by the Hawks. Lummi would hit their free-throws in the closing moments to seal the game. On an evening of back and forth runs, Tulalip’s late game surge nearly overcame a big deficit. With the 50-56 loss came an end to the Hawks’ season best winning streak.

Josh Miranda led his team in scoring with 21 points, while Alonzo double-doubled with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

“I liked our team’s hustle tonight, for sure,” reflected Coach Bubba following the game. “We played really hard and felt the game out possession by possession. We mixed up our defense throughout to give Lummi different looks. At halftime we were down by 13 points, but in the locker room we were focused on playing our game and urged the boys to push the ball for quick shots. In the last five-minutes, the boys got loose and let their shots go naturally and that’s when the game turned in our favor. Another minute or two and we could have won that game.”

The Hawks play two home games this week – January 22nd vs Lopez and January 25th vs Chief Kitsap Academy. Senior night is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th vs Cedar Park Christian.

Lady Hawks fall to Lummi, 32-41

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In a battle between the Northwest 1B’s top two teams, record-wise, the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks hosted the Lummi Nation Blackhawks on January 17th. Heritage entered the game winning three of their last four games and looking to avenge their nail-biting 43-45 loss to Lummi earlier this season.

The 1st quarter was a struggle to score points for the home team, as rising star Jacynta Myles was forced to sit out the opening eight-minutes. Without her domineering presence holding down the painted area, the girls had difficulty executed their offense. Sophomore forward Shalana McLean scored on a running floater to give her team their first points nearly five-minutes into the game. A few plays later, Krislyn Parks muscled in a layup to give the Lady Hawks their second score. 

Heritage trailed 4-10 entering the 2nd quarter, and received a boost when Jacynta checked into the game. She immediately made an impact by scoring in the post and grabbing one rebound after another against the much smaller Lummi players. However, Lummi did a good job of adjusting their game plan and focused on perimeter shooting. 

The Lady Hawks trailed by double digits for most of the 2nd half until going on a late surge in the 4th quarter. An 8-2 scoring edge in the game’s final minutes cut their deficit to 29-36, but the girls couldn’t build upon that spark. Critical turnovers stopped their momentum and the Lady Hawks fell to Lummi, 32-41. 

Krislyn led her team with 14 points, while Jacynta finished with 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

“It was a difficult week with all the school closures and delays because of the snowy weather. Because of that we only practiced once all week,’ said Krislyn postgame. “We need to get back to practicing our passes because in this game especially we turned the ball over a lot on bad passes. We did have moments where we played really well together, but will focus on our chemistry and cutting down the turnovers.

“Our defense has really gotten better and showed in this game. We held Lummi scoreless for stretches and considering both our match ups were really close, we feel like we can beat them if we play again.”

The Lady Hawks play a home game January 25th vs Chief Kitsap Academy. Senior night is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th vs Cedar Park Christian.

Bringing home a championship

Submitted by JP Miranda, B&GC Athletic Director

 On January 11, 2020 the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club hosted a tournament at Seattle University. This tournament was for 5th and 6th grade boys and girls. The Muckleshoot tribe and Lummi were also in attendance.

All throughout the (2) Tulalip teams played tough, showed lots of heart, and were determined to make it to the championship game. In the 5th and 6th grade boys championship game, we saw Lummi route Muckleshoot to take the boys trophy, and in the 5th and 6th grade girls championship game the Tulalip girls beat a very talented Muckleshoot team by 1-point, 12-11.

The Tulalip girls’ team consisted of Monet Clemens, Hayleigh Enick, Annie Martinez and Saylah and Salma Lopez. The event at Seattle University was also a great success because of the Assistant Athletic Director Joe Knight and all of the student athletes that helped. I would also like to thank all parents that made the trip to support their respective Tribes and families.   

Hawks get routed by Darrington, then blowout Providence by 50+

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage boys basketball program is coming off of back-to-back years in which the team won at least 20 games and made it past District, Tri-District and Regional playoffs, all the way to State. An historic achievement for any program. 

Now, entering the 2019-2020 season, the Hawks look to repeat past success with its current roster of rez ball hoopers. Gone are four seniors from last season, but in their place are five current seniors including standout guards Leno Vela, Josh Miranda and Isaac Comenote. They took to the court on Saturday, December 7 in their season opener. A home game versus the Darrington Loggers.

Tulalip struggled mightily from the jump. Shots weren’t falling, no one was rebounding and meanwhile Darrington took advantage of every opportunity afforded to them with a taller, heftier lineup.  The score was 4-19 after the opening quarter, and that deficit ballooned to 11-40 at halftime. 

In the 2nd half, the home crowd was anxious for some kind of spark to ignite their team’s offense. It never happened. Instead, the lack of shot making and rebounding continued. Tulalip ended up on the wrong side of a lopsided 32-68 loss. It was the lowest scoring output from a Tulalip Hawks team in nearly 3 years; a December 28, 2016 defeat to Lummi, 31-65.

With only two days between games, the boys had to make use of some selective amnesia and quickly forget about everything that went wrong vs. Darrington and focus on their next opponent. Tulalip hosted the Highlanders from Providence Classical Christian on Monday, December 9.

What a difference a game makes. The Hawks came out firing on all cylinders offensively, while relentlessly locking up Providence defensively. Jumping out to a 25-9 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, the boys kept the pedal to the metal and took a 39 point lead into halftime, up 52-13. 

During one stretch, senior point guard Leno Vela went on a 16-0 run all by himself. He caught fire from downtown hitting four consecutive 3-pointers and then came up with back-to-back steals that he converted into layups. His scoring barrage fired up the home crowd and his fellow teammates who cheered him on.

“My shooting felt really good and my teammates found me when I got hot,” said Leno afterwards. “They trusted me and I was able to come up with buckets.”

The Hawks defense continued to feast on a Providence team that struggled with ball handling and routinely coughed up the ball via steal or bad pass. And with every turnover forced came the accustomed run-and-gun offense Tulalip is known for. All the starters scored multiple buckets in transition and hit a 3-pointer. 

At the end of the 3rd quarter, Tulalip led 73-18. With the result no longer in doubt the bench came in to finish the game. The final score was 81-27. Leno led all scorers with 33 points, while Josh Miranda added 13 points.

A 54 point victory over Providence is a good way to wash away the stain from their opening loss to Darrington. 

“We played our style of basketball tonight. I wanted them to be aggressive and attack the basket because we really didn’t do that in our last game,” explained Coach Fryberg after the blowout win. “Their aggressiveness resulted in lots of looks close to the basket and got them to the free-throw line. Defensively, we locked in early and pressed the issue throughout.”

Tulalip basketball is on the road for their next 3 games. They’ll return home on Thursday, December 19 for a matchup with Grace Academy. 

Lady Hawks basketball returns with home opener vs. Darrington

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage girls basketball team opened their 2019-2020 season with a home game on Saturday, December 7. They hosted the Darrington Loggers at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium.

Last season the Lady Hawks finished with a lackluster (4-12) record. In the weeks leading up to this new season the coaching staff opted to focus on pace of play and defensive hustle as their areas for improvement. Assistant coach Jeff Monsegur said, “We spent a lot of time working on cardio, just running and more running, so that we can have a quicker tempo on offense and keep our defense up in the 2nd half of games.”

With a few weeks of hearty conditioning and practice reps the Lady Hawks were prepared to make their team debut with a renewed sense of vigor and upbeat energy.

In their opening game against Darrington, their girls showcased a quicker pace right out the gate. They took an 8-2 lead after back-to-back buckets by Krislyn Parks and a 3-pointer by Deachae Jones. Darrington fought back and tied the game at 12-12 early in the 2nd quarter before employing a full-court defense that stymied the Lady Hawks. At halftime the home team trailed 19-21.

The second half was a highly competitive affair with both teams routinely diving on the hardwood for loose balls and coming up with timely buckets. Darrington opted to double team Jacynta Myles, forcing the Lady Hawks guards to create for themselves. Led by the aggressive driving of Krislyn, who earned a whopping 14 free-throw attempts by drawing fouls, Tulalip stayed within a bucket or two the entire game. 

Down 36-37 with just over two minutes remaining, Darrington went back to their full-court defense and forced Tulalip to commit errant passes that led to three quick turnovers. Even so, with only seconds remaining, the girls had a chance to capture victory when Deachae shot a potential go-ahead 3-pointer. Unfortunately, her attempt fell just short and clanged off the rim for a miss. Tulalip 37, Darrington 41.

Krislyn led the Lady Hawks with 14 points, while Jacynta collected over 20 rebounds. 

“We did so much running over the past three weeks so we wouldn’t burn out in the 2nd half of games, like we did last season. All that running really showed tonight,” reflected Krislyn following the game. “We’ll continue to work on our team hustle and never giving up on any plays.”

“Even when we lost our lead we stayed positive and kept cheering each other on. That attitude really helped us stay in the game,” added Jacynta. And on her huge rebounding total? “Because of my height the team relies on me to get rebounds. I don’t want to let them down so I try to get every one that I can.”

Tulalip basketball is on the road for their next 3 games. They’ll return home on Thursday, December 19 for a matchup with Grace Academy.