MOUNT VERNON - Lummi coach Jerome Toby reacted honestly to what he called his team's worst shooting of the season.
"That seems too high," he said when told the top-seeded Blackhawks shot only 26 percent in their 40-37 loss to eighth-seeded Evergreen Lutheran in the quarterfinals of the Class 1B Tri-District Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Mount Vernon Christian.
Toby was proud of his young team's consistently intense man-to-man defensive effort, which he said normally would have been more than enough to win.
"But we just couldn't hit the basket," he said. "We got good looks, but the ball just wouldn't fall. Now we have to win three in a row to get to state."
The Blackhawks (17-4) will play Thursday, Feb. 14, against either Neah Bay or Muckleshoot Tribal at a site to be determined in an elimination game. The winner will play Monday, Feb. 18, for fifth place and the final Tri-District berth to the regionals, which will be a one-game survival test for the right to join the state's final Class 1B eight teams in Spokane.
The reason Lummi's shooting seemed even worse than it was for Toby was that senior forward Jordan Deardorff shot 6 for 12 for 13 points. He was the Blackhawks' lone player with more than six points.
The rest of Lummi's lineup endured 10 for 50 miseries for 20 percent and could not hit a 3-pointer.
Even so, the Blackhawks were in position to win. Lummi sophomore Dean Williams scored on a drive and a jumper in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, giving the Blackhawks their largest lead at 35-30.
But the Blackhawks could hit only one more basket - a drive by Deardorff for a 37-36 lead with 2:50 remaining - and finished 3 for 18 from the field in the final period.
"The kids have a lot of fight in them," said Toby, who said his group of hard-driving athletes has the potential to play well under loser-out pressure. "They just let this one get away."
Lummi's speed and athleticism could not intimidate 5-foot-6 Evergreen Lutheran freshman point guard Jeffrey Parker, who was the smallest player in the game but also one of the quickest and most alert.
Parker found his way to the hoop for a layup with 2:35 remaining, putting Evergreen (14-8) ahead for good. After frantic scrambling by both squads, Parker scored on another drive with 36 seconds left for the game's final points.
Earl Johnson's bid to tie the game for Lummi in the final second fell just short.
Parker, who finished with 13 points as the Eagles finished 17 for 41 from the field, made the game's only 3-pointers, one in each of the first three quarters. He wowed the crowd with a 3 from half court at the first-half buzzer - and that shot ultimately made the difference.
Parker's long shot gave the Eagles a 23-21 lead and foreshadowed a tough second half. Seconds before he made that memorable basket, Eli Wall took a pass from Williams to put Lummi up for the first time at 21-20.
Evergreen's 6-5 junior post Karl Leitzke, who rolled his ankle with 28 seconds to play, frustrated the Blackhawks with a game-high 14 rebounds. Senior forward Andrew Goyins scored 12 points.
EVERGREEN LUTHERAN 40, LUMMI 37
Evergreen Lutheran 13 10 7 10- 40
Lummi 9 12 10 6 37
Evergreen Lutheran: Jeffrey Parker 13, Andrew Goyins 12, Karl Leitzke 9, Jonathan Strong 4, Ben Baker 2, Ryan Gonzales, Christian Bond, Isaiah Bergemann. Team totals: 17-41 3-4 40.
Lummi: Jordan Deardorff 13, Kavarez Lane 6, Willie Jones 4, Joe Brady 2, Logan Toby 2, Dean Williams 4, Eli Wall 4, Charlie Wilson 2, Earl Johnson, Leo Scarborough, Kevin Cultee. Team totals: 16-62 5-5 37.
3-ptg: Evergreen 3 (Parker 3); Lummi 0. Rebounds: Evergreen 35 (Leitzke 14), Lummi 33 (Toby 7). Assists: Evergreen 7 (Parker 3); Lummi 8 (Williams 3). Fouls: Evergreen 11, Lummi 13.