The Lummi boys’ basketball team is headed back to Spokane for the first time in four years, and the Blackhawks took the Fast Lane to get there.
Finding itself in an unexpectedly close battle in the single-elimination regional round of the Class 1B State Tournament against Mount Rainier Lutheran — a team it beat twice earlier in the season including a double-up victory just 11 days earlier in the first round of the tri-district tournament — the Blackhawks turned to brothers Trazil and Kavarez Lane in the fourth quarter.
The Lane boys responded with a 17-3 run of their own to give top-ranked Lummi the breathing room it needed in a 59-42 victory on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Mount Vernon High School. The Blackhawks (25-0) move on to the state quarterfinals on Thursday, March 5, at Spokane Arena. They’ll find out their quarterfinal opponent on Sunday, March 1.
“It feels great,” Kavarez said. “We haven’t been there in a while. It’s my first time, too.”
Kavarez scored seven of his 13 points during the crucial run that made that trip happen, while his younger brother recorded the other 10 of his game-high 21 during the spurt. Each also had a crucial steal to spur the run.
“They play well together,” Lummi coach Jerome Toby said. “They’re brothers, so they probably developed their chemistry playing together in the backyard all the time.”
It was particularly rewarding to see Kavarez play such a key role, considering what the senior had to overcome just to get to this point.
As a freshman, he tore an ACL in his knee during football. More than two years later, he suffered another torn ACL in the fourth quarter of the district championship game in a freak accident when he fell over another player.
“The kid has battled,” Toby said. “He’s blown out his ACL twice. For him to work through one and then two, I credit how much hard work he puts in at the gym to be able to come back from those devastating injuries, and I’m happy to be able to see him have an opportunity to play in Spokane. He’s earned it. He goes out and gives us 32 minutes every night. He’s earned this along with the rest of the boys.”
During the opening quarter, it looked like Kavarez and the rest of the Blackhawks would have no trouble punching their ticket to Spokane, as they hit 8 of their first 12 shots and built a 20-9 advantage after the first quarter.
The Hawks quickly made them realize Saturday wasn’t going to be anything like Lummi’s 64-32 tri-district victory on Feb. 17, though.
“The adjustments that they made, and the boys came in knowing that we beat them twice, as coaches we try to make adjustments,” Toby said. “They came out and executed a different game plan right away. I’m kind of glad. It got our guys to focus up.”
By the end of the half, Rainier Lutheran and trimmed the Blackhawks’ lead to three, and with one of Theo Tel’s five 3-pointers, they took their first lead, 30-28, with 5:21 left in the third. Lummi only managed to take a lead into the fourth thanks to a 3-pointer in the waning seconds from Austin Brockie, who gave the Blackhawks three players in double figures with 12.
Still leading by 3 early in the fourth, Trazil got a steal and went coast-to-coast for a lay-up and a 42-37 Lummi lead. A Brockie steal led to another Trazil bucket with an assist from his big brother.
“We’re brothers, so we know when to step it up,” Kavarez said. “We know where we’re at and stuff. We know how to push it and push it, especially in the fourth quarter.”
And they kept pushing it from there.
Kavarez followed with a bucket and hit one of two free throws following a steal, before Trazil put back his own miss to make Lummi’s advantage 49-40 midway through the fourth. Two more free throws and another put-back bucket by Trazil followed by Kavarez making three of four from the line made the lead 16 with two minutes to play, and Lummi was able to empty its bench and start making plans for Spokane.
“The past couple of years we’ve had some good teams — just came up a little short,” Toby said. “This group from Day 1 was, some way or another, they wanted to get back to the arena. We said, ‘OK, if that’s the goal, these are the steps, and this is the journey we’re going to have to take.’ The boys committed to it and worked hard. We’ve still got some things to polish up. But this group, they’ll be ready to get back to the gym tomorrow and get ready for whomever we face.”
Lummi 59, Mount Rainier Lutheran 42
|Mount Rainier Lutheran|
Mount Rainier Lutheran: Jason Palinsky 6, Ryan Wolf 2, Mitchell Pelissier 12, Theo Tel 19, Davide Castellano 0, Cruz Stidham 0, Dawson Faker 3, Guido Miniucchi 0, Jacob Perdue 0. Totals: 15-34 5-6 42.
Lummi: Dean Williams 0, Jacob Roberts 4, John Ballew 1, Jason James 9, Willie Jones 6, Austin Brockie 12, Jeff Cultee 2, Trazil Lane 21, Kavarez Lane 13, Adam Lawrence 0, Alex Jefferson 0. Totals: 20-42 14-23 59.
3-point field goals — Mount Rainier Lutheran: 7-19 (Tel 5); Lummi: 5-14 (Brockie 4). Rebounds — Mount Rainier Lutheran: 15 (Pelissier 7); Lummi: 32 (Trazil Lane 8). Assists — Mount Rainier Lutheran: 10 (Pelissier 4); Lummi: 11 (Williams 5). Fouls — Mount Rainier Lutheran: 18 (Palinsky fouled out); Lummi: 7. Turnovers — Mount Rainier Lutheran: 15; Lummi: 13.