by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
On Saturday, February 13, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks (14-9) traveled to Seattle Lutheran High School to play their opening game of the Tri-District Tournament. Their opponent was the Shorewood Christian Lions (16-3). It would be a matchup of #2s, as the Hawks finished #2 in the Northwest 1B league and the Lions finished #2 in the SeaTac 1B league.
The Hawks were hoping to build off their play-in victory over the Muckleshoot Kings just days before.
In the 1st quarter, the two teams traded baskets repeatedly with Robert Miles doing his best to match the scoring output of the Lions’ best player, Jovi Fevaleaki. At the end of the quarter the Hawks were very much in it, trailing by only 1 point 14-15.
However, things turned drastically for the Hawks in the 2nd quarter. The offense completely disappeared for the Hawks. They repeatedly settled for long-range, contested jumpers and were unable to attack the rim. Add in their turnovers and it’s no wonder that the Lions opened the quarter with a 15-0 run. The Hawks didn’t score until late in the quarter when Willy Enick connected on a 3-pointer. Willy added in another basket to give his team their only 5 points of the 2nd quarter. At halftime the Hawks trailed 19-36.
Following the halftime intermission things didn’t get any better for the Hawks. The offense continued to struggle with the size and athleticism of the Lions, while defensively they were unable to contain Jovi Fevaleaki who finished with a game high 27 points.
The Hawks lost the game 48-68, and would be put in a loser-out game vs. their league rivals the Orcas Christian Saints.
Hawks defense steps up big time in 43-37 win
Following the loss to Shorewood Christian, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks (14-10) found out their post-season hinged on a loser-out game vs. in league rivals, the Orcas Christian Saints (15-2). It wasn’t a matchup that appeared to be in the Hawks favor, as they had lost all three regular season matchups with the Saints. In fact, the Saints had won those three games by an average margin of 18 points per game. But in the playoffs anything can happen.
After the 1st quarter the Hawks found themselves trailing 7-11 and struggling to find their offense. On the positive side, the Hawks were liking their defensive intensity, especially on Saints point guard Michael Harris. Harris, who had given the Hawks defensive fits all season long, was constantly hounded by Nashone Whitebear.
Things continued in the 2nd quarter with the Hawks not converting their shots, but continuing to play strong defense and not letting Harris beat them. At halftime the Hawks trailed by only 4 points, 15-19. It was by far the lowest scoring 1st half the Hawks had been a part of all season.
During the intermission, the Hawks realized the ball was sticking too much on offense and wanted to move the ball more in the 2nd half; more passing to open up quality looks for their shooters. On defense, they just wanted to keep up the tempo and to continue making everything difficult for Harris while continuing to crash the boards.
In the 3rd quarter, the Hawks finally got their offense going. They scored 15 points in the 3rd, as much as they scored in both the 1st and 2nd quarters combined. The solid defense was still in effect and to this point they had held the Saints best player to only 3 points. Going into the final quarter the Hawks had taken a 30-29 lead.
The ball continued to move well for the Hawks and they found open looks for Josh Iukes who came up huge for his team in the clutch. Josh and Robert Miles both scored a game-high 15 points and it would be good enough in the low scoring game to take the victory. After losing their first three matchups with the Saints, they made the necessary adjustments and found the will to win in a 43-37 thriller for the Hawks. With the victory the Hawks season remained alive and they were guaranteed two more Tri-District games.
Tulalip Hawks get pummeled by Neah Bay, 45-106
Just when things were looking up for the Heritage Hawks (15-10), after a hard fought victory over the best team in our league, things came to a crashing halt at the hands of the Neah Bay Red Devils (16-3). The two teams played on Wednesday, February 17, at Evergreen Lutheran High School in a 3rd round matchup of the Tri-District tournament.
The game started out as a competitive one, with the Hawks and Red Devils both executing their offense. Just under four minutes into the 1st quarter the game was tied at 11-11. Then it all went south for the Hawks. The Red Devils finished the quarter on a 20-2 run to take a commanding 31-13 lead.
The Hawks did what they could offensively, scoring 17 points in the 2nd quarter, but they just had no answer defensively for the Red Devils who were shooting lights out. At halftime the Hawks trailed 30-55.
Things only got worse in the 2nd half for the Hawks, as Neah Bay continued to pile on the points with little fight from Tulalip. Getting outscored 6-27 in the 3rd quarter and 9-24 in the 4th quarter added up to a 45-106 loss for the Hawks. This game goes down as easily the worse loss for the Heritage Hawks basketball program in years.
Luckily, the Hawks get a shot at redemption with a huge upcoming game against Lummi Nation. With a win, the Hawks will play on at Regionals, but if they lose their season will be over.