Bellingham, Wash.—The undefeated Lummi Nation Blackhawks were recently named “Team of the Year” by Gov. Jay Inslee for their historic basketball championship win.
The high school game marked a series of firsts for Native tribes. It was the first time two Native American teams faced off for a state championship in Washington. On March 7, Lummi Nation’s Blackhawks defeated the Makah Tribe’s Neah Bay Red Devils 54-33 to become the first Native team to win the championship.
Blackhawks coach, Jerome Toby, was also named Coach of the Year in Class 1B —the first time the honor was given to a Native coach.
“We’re proud of our players for putting in all the hard work that led to victory,” Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council said in a news release. “Hard work leads to wins on and off the court. We look forward to the continued success of all our students at the Lummi Nation Schools.”
Both players and coach ended their undefeated 27-0 season with numerous awards. Lummi Nation School seniors, Dino Williams and Austin Brockie, were selected for First Team All-Conference and played in the Whatcom County All-Conference. Kavarez Lane, also a senior, was selected for Washington’s All-State game. Trazil Lane was named Most Valuable Player for the Northwest Conference. Lane is a sophomore, and according to Coach Toby, is someone to watch over the next few years.
“For me, when you get a group of boys who play unselfishly, play for the right reasons and have fun doing it, it makes it easy to coach,” Toby said. “I’ve just got to be out there for the boys.”