by Corey Wiscomb
The Orcas Ladies’ Basketball team continued its post-season journey with two games last week. The first match was Tuesday, Feb. 7 against the higher seed Lummi Blackhawks. The Vikings played a solid game of team ball with an emphasis on defense. Execution of a solid game plan led them to a definitive 55-34 win over the Blackhawks and moved them to the next round.
Thursday, Feb. 9 found the Lady Vikings on the exact opposite side of things with a 33-55 loss to the Mount Vernon Christian Hurricanes. Despite the loss, the girls’ season will continue, and the players were quick to find the positives in the game.
“We lost to them by over 40 points earlier in the season. Each time we play them we keep getting closer and closer,” reflected Orcas guard Sofia Mahoney-Juaregui. Her teammates agreed with the signs of improvement and revel in the fact that they are such a young team. They are gaining confidence.
The next outing for Orcas will be a Tri-District home-court advantage match once again against the Lummi Blackhawks. Ironically, after the win earlier in the week the Vikings are now the higher seed in the tournament. This game will be the final home game this season, and the Vikings will be hoping for a special Valentine’s Day gift as the game will be on Feb. 14th, with tipoff at 4 p.m. If the Orcas Girls win the game they will qualify for the state tournament. If they lose then there will be one final chance to play in a “loser out” game that will either take them to state or to the end of the season.
by Jefferson Freeman
The trip to Lummi wouldn’t be the day the boys’ team was hoping for. A back-and-forth battle would see both teams take leads and take them back. The Vikings found themselves in trouble late but made a push to get right back in it led by Diego Lago. However, the Blackhawks had a run of their own. A run that would hold out until the final buzzer for a 59-52 Lummi win.
The Vikes got their opportunity to get things right two days later when they met Grace Academy for the District third-place game. The Eagles were coming off a loss to MVC and had recently beaten Lummi. But if you watched the game you wouldn’t believe that. It was all Vikings all the time. They allowed 8 or fewer points in every quarter and had four players with double-digit points. Along with that the Vikings dominated in every column of the stat sheet, they out-rebounded a Grace team who had been very good on the glass all year and they had a plus-20 in the steals column and a plus-23 in assists.
After receiving the sixth seed in the Tri-District seeding the Vikings hosted Tulalip Heritage. The Heritage Hawks had finished fifth in the district tournament after beating Lopez to reach this point. The Vikings were favorites for this game but that message wasn’t communicated to the Hawks who came out guns blazing and had the Vikings on their heels. The game would be going in Tulalip’s favor early and that got their crowd engaged. If it wasn’t for the logo at mid-court you wouldn’t have known where the game was being played. Despite all the energy from both the Hawks and their crowd, the Vikings held onto a slight lead 23-21 after just a quarter. Diego Lago would get into early foul trouble, and without their leading scorer things were looking scary for the home team. The rest of the team was able to pick up what was needed and the Vikings got to the half up 43-39. Halftime flipped a switch, whether it was the energy running out for the Hawks or picking up for the Vikings it didn’t matter as the Vikings found their groove and went on a 25-8 run to close the third quarter 68-47.
They would keep control through the rest of the game and take home a high-scoring victory 88-71. Aidan Murray had a huge game for the Vikings, almost reaching a triple-double with 20 points and 8 rebounds and assists.
The Vikings are now set to travel to Neah Bay on Feb. 14 where they will settle the season split between the two teams. Orcas won the first matchup in Mount Vernon, and the Red Devils took down the Vikings the last time they met in Neah Bay.