by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
The Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks (23-1) were one of only eight teams in the entire state to have the opportunity to play in the 2016 WIAA 1B State Girls basketball tournament. The state tournament took place March 3 – March 5 at Spokane Arena.
After finishing their regular season undefeated and easily winning their district playoffs, the Lady Hawks saw their quality of opponent get better and better with every game. First it was in the Tri-District tournament where they played one good team after another before suffering their first loss of the season in the championship round. Then at Regionals they trailed early on before stepping up the defense and securing their bid to State with a win.
Now at State, the Lady Hawks found themselves among eight of the best teams in Washington. At this level every team had the stifling defense and explosive offense that the Lady Hawks showcased all season.
Their quarterfinal opponent was the #2 ranked Knights from Sunnyside Christian. The Knights lost in the State championship game last season and were undefeated to this point. By far this would be the highest quality opponent the Lady Hawks had faced all year.
In the 1st quarter, the Lady Hawks were slow getting their offense going and trailed 0-8 minutes in. The Knights featured three girls 5’10 or taller, so they were sure to keep two of them around Adiya at all times. Adiya struggled with her shot against the stifling defense put on by the Knights, shooting 2-8 in the opening quarter. The score was 5-16 when the Lady Hawks got some good ball movement going that resulted in consecutive 3-point buckets by Keryn, Michelle, and Keryn again. At the end of the 1st quarter they were very much in the game, trailing 14-20.
Both teams struggled to score any points early in the 2nd quarter as both defenses tightened up, contesting all shots. The score was still 14-20 midway through the 2nd until Adiya sank two free-throws. Seeing the ball go in the net got Adiya going and she added five more points for her team before being called for her 3rd foul and forced to sit. With Adiya on the bench, the Lady Hawks were unable to get any more offense going and trailed 21-30 at halftime.
In the 2nd half, some quick whistles against the Lady Hawks led to many Knight free-throws, and unfortunately Adiya fouled out with 2:05 remaining in the 3rd quarter with her team trailing 24-41.
Things continued to get worse as Lady Hawk turnovers and fouls made it impossible to mount any kind of a comeback. When the final game-buzzer sounded the Lady Hawks lost 31-65.
As a team, the Lady Hawks shot 10-43. Adiya finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds, Keryn added 9 points, Aliya and Michelle both had 3 points.
It’s always easy to complain about officiating, and yes the free-throw shooting was lopsided in the Knights favor, but it was also easy to see that Sunnyside Christian was the better team. With their speed and size they made it extremely difficult for Adiya to get in her usual offensive groove near the rim, evident by her settling for outside shots and shooting a season high four 3-point attempts. Also, the Lady Hawks were sloppy with the ball, to the tune of a season high 30 turnovers, which a team like the Knights was able to turn into easy transition buckets. At this point in the season it’s all about execution and taking care of the ball.
Contact Micheal Rios, firstname.lastname@example.org