By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
Coming off a very successful 26-1 season last year that saw the Hawks win a league championship, a district championship, and a tri-district championship, the expectations have been raised for our basketball program. It will be difficult to repeat the success of last year though, especially after losing so many senior players from last year’s team, most notably Northwest 1B League’s most valuable player Keanu Hamilton who is currently playing for Everett Community College.
This year’s Hawks team will consist of seniors Jesse Louie, Dontae Jones, Anthony McLean, Trevor Fryberg and Ayrik Miranda, along with juniors Robert Miles and Willy Enick. Coaches Marlin Fryberg and Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg have both retained their coaching positions from last season.
The Tulalip Heritage Hawks boys basketball team kicked off their 2014-2015 season with a home opener vs. the Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks junior varsity team. The game would be a true testament to the skill and strategy of both players and coaches as the Hawks only dressed five players for the game, meaning there would be no substitutions and in the event a player fouled out the Hawks would be forced to play a man down. Prior to tip-off, coaches Fryberg stressed playing smart, hard-nosed defense, while being patient and focused on executing the offense.
In the opening quarter the Hawks shot a lowly 4 for 15 from the field for only 9 points, however junior standout Robert Miles scored 7 points in the quarter to keep the score close at 9-10. The Hawks made a point of emphasis to move the ball on the offensive end in the 2nd quarter. Spreading the floor and passing to the open man allowed the Hawks to catch fire. Jesse Louie and Willy Enick each had 3 assists in the quarter, while the team connecting on 8 of 10 shots from the field. However, the extra focus on offense didn’t carry over to the defensive end. The MP Tomahawks were shooting uncontested 3-pointers and jump shots, seemingly at will against the lackadaisical Hawks team defense. Luckily, for the Hawks, the Tomahawks were struggling to knock down their outside shots and the Hawks led the game 30-26 after the 2nd quarter.
During halftime the five Hawk players were visibly exhausted from playing the entire first half without any substitutions. The halftime intermission allowed them to get a rest, rehydrate, and go over second half adjustments. Coaches Marlin and Bubba Fryberg emphasized the lazy defense the Hawks had played in the first half, pointing out the game would not be close if the Hawks played the tough, aggressive style defense they are known for. Bottom line, the Hawks needed to pick up their defensive intensity to pull out the win.
Message received. The Hawks came out of halftime and played their style of aggressive defense. They trapped the Tomahawk ball handlers, jumped the passing lanes, and hustled to every loose ball and rebound. Meanwhile Jesse Louie and Robert Miles attacked the basket at every opportunity, producing high efficient shots. The Hawks started the 3rd quarter on 9-2 run that led to a Tomahawk timeout, but the Tomahawk adjustments from that timeout didn’t work. The Hawks continued their relentless play and scored 14 unanswered points, putting them up 53-28. With 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, both teams traded a pair of buckets. In all, the 3rd quarter saw the Hawks outscore the MP Tomahawks 27-6 and enter the 4th quarter with a 57-32 lead.
The Hawks continued executing their offense to start the 4th quarter, and held a 66-40 lead with 4:21 left to play. With a Hawks victory clearly in sight the disadvantages of no bench players reared its ugly head. With 1:51 to play Trevor Fryberg fouled out of the game, forcing the Hawks to play 4-on-5. The MP Tomahawks, having the one man advantage, went on a 14-4 run from that point. Having built a 26 point lead the Hawks were easily able to overcome their lack of roster depth on this day. When the final game buzzer sounded the Hawks won their season opener 70-54.
Coach Bubba Fryberg said after the game, “That third quarter was the difference in the game. We put the pressure on high, we trapped, and everyone was moving. That’s the key. When we play defensively and everyone is moving we are going to be tough to beat. When we get a few more bodies here, a couple more kids get their grades up, then we are on the move. We are going to get better as we go.”
Key to the game: The Hawks dominant 27-6 3rd quarter.
Play of the game: In the 2nd quarter, Robert Miles pulled down a defensive rebound, went coast to coast, and drove through two Tomahawk defenders for a layup.
Coach’s corner: The Hawks need to cut down on turnovers. Had 23 tonight, including 10 in the 4th quarter.