by Jefferson Freeman
The Orcas Island Vikings have the state play-offs well within their sight. The boys needed just one win between Feb. 17 to 18 to book their ticket to this season’s tournament. They will be playing for 5th place in the Tri-District after their loss to Neah Bay on Feb. 14.
The Vikings made the grueling seven-hour trip to Neah Bay where the third-seeded Red Devils awaited them. The Vikings got out to a hot start and seemed to be clicking until Neah Bay found their footing and got themselves back into it. From that point out it would be a dogfight as the Devils seemed to slowly edge away with every possession. The game would be sealed in the fourth quarter and the final score would be 81-67.
The Vikings turned to Muckleshoot on Feb. 17 (after the Sounder went to press). If they win, it gets them into state and gives them the opportunity to play the winner of 12th seed Crescent against 1st seed Sound Christian.
by Corey Wiscomb
One final chance to view the Orcas High School girls’ basketball team in action and at home took place in a lovely way on a lovely day: Feb. 14.
In a new format, and with a higher seed ranking, Orcas qualified to have a home tri-district postseason match against the Lummi Blackhawks. It was the second time the two teams have played in the postseason. With the season on the line, both teams carried an intensity into the game that was thick and could have been spread over toast. The nerves of the players definitely helped excite their feet on defense and added jitters to their shooting hands-on offense, creating a defensive showdown between the two teams. At the end of the first quarter, the score was Orcas 7, Lummi 3.
The Blackhawks used fast passing and guard play to keep the Vikings working hard when on offense, and a full-court press on defense. While Lummi had a lot of speed, they didn’t have the post-play that Orcas can go to. Sophomore Lili Malo and Junior Bethany Carter were instrumental in opposing inside shots and dominating the glass on rebounding. Quick outlet passing and strong pushes up the floor by Ava Ashcraft and Sofia Mahoney-Juaregui helped avoid the Lummi backcourt press, and finally broke the scoring lid open in the second half. The Vikings maintained solid defense in the final two quarters and put 34 additional points on the scoreboard.
One of the highlights for team members and Head Coach Jay Sack alike was the final score of the game coming from senior Shaye Spinner in her last basketball game to ever be played in the OHS gymnasium.
The 59-35 win qualifies the OHS girls’ team for the State Tournament grand finale in which Orcas and the remaining teams will duke it out for the state title. Games prior to state will be to finish the tri-district tournament and determine state seeding.