by Jefferson Freeman
Orcas Island High School
The Orcas Island boys’ basketball team secured its spot in the 2022 State Playoffs after an incredible battle against Puget Sound Adventist finished with a score of 71-70 on Thursday, Feb. 17.
The week started on Tuesday with both teams traveling to face the respected two seeds in their brackets. The girls made the trip out to Neah Bay where they would play their first playoff matchup while the boys headed to Lummi for their third matchup with the Blackhawks on the year.
The girls didn’t have the best of nights, taking on an 85-35 loss, which sent them to the must-win round of tri-districts. In the win/loss column the boys didn’t do any better but they did find themselves going blow for blow with one of the state’s most dominant forces in Lummi basketball. A close game all night ended up falling to the BlackHawks but only by the score of 63-51. Aidan Murray led the charge for the Viking offense and even had them holding a lead at one point in the matchup.
Thursday was win or go home for both squads as they would both face top-tier teams in Mount Vernon. The girls got a matchup with the Lummi squad and though they gave it 110% their shots weren’t quite falling at the rate they needed, ending an incredible season for this very young squad by a score of 61-50.
The boys’ game saw another clash of former soccer foes with the Vikings getting a matchup with the Puget Sound Adventist Sharks. In a game that was back and forth with the lead changing almost every play, every play matters and the Vikings took advantage. With 19 points apiece from Diego Lago and Aidan Murray, the Vikings were up 69-68 with just seconds left to go until a layup that seemed to sit on the rim forever fell in, giving the Sharks a 70-69 lead with just 6.9 seconds left.
Lago brought the ball down with speed and maneuvered inside before being forced to dump the ball off to his brother Remy Lago who was fouled, putting the game in the hands of the freshman. First free throw. Good 70-70. Timeout Sharks. And with both teams’ seasons hanging on one shot, the younger of the Lago brothers got his moment to shine. The shot went up and in — 71-70. A full-court heave from Puget Sound found nothing, meaning the Vikings are heading to the state tournament!