Tulalip just a game away from state (slide show)

TULALIP — For the Tulalip Heritage girls basketball team, it's about "getting over the mountain."

Tulalip girls at a recent practice before regionals.

TULALIP — For the Tulalip Heritage girls basketball team, it’s about “getting over the mountain.”

That mountain is the 1B regionals game Feb. 27 at Everett Community College at 2 p.m., Tulalip coach Bubba Fryberg said.

The winner goes to state the following weekend in Spokane.

“You really have to prepare for that one game and get yourself over it.”

The opponent in front of them is Mary M. Knight — a team the Hawks faced in regionals two years ago, winning 68-42.

Tulalip was undefeated prior to losing in the tri-district championship Feb. 20 to Mount Vernon Christian 41-39, a team Tulalip defeated in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 5.

Rather than focusing on the loss, Fryberg is readying the girls for the loser-out game.

“This game means the season for us,” Fryberg said. “We want to get to state.”

Mary M. Knight entered the postseason with a 13-5 record. Guards Mary Koonrad, Kaylee Sowle and Jaycee Valley lead the Owls in scoring.

Fryberg doesn’t want to focus on the opponent, but rather preparation for his girls.

“If they can play at a high level, I don’t see us having a problem,” Fryberg said.

His practice plan focuses on building the girls’ confidence and intensifying it this week.

“The first couple of days I help keep their nerves down and prepare them for the next few days — show them what it takes to get there,” Fryberg said.

A big part of the Hawks overall game is 5-foot-10 post Adiyah Jones, who averages 20 points a game and 11 rebounds.

“I have one of the best big girls in the 1B and that makes it easier on the coach,” Fryberg said. “We surround her with good players and do our best.”

But she’s got several options to pass off to. One of those is her sister, Aliyah, who runs the point, averaging 15 points a game. There’s also sophomore guard Keryn Parks, who is the shooting guard. She specializes in the jump shot but also has come into her own with great ball-handling skills and scoring under the rim, Fryberg said.

Jones will also rotate with junior low-post Cyena Fryberg, who can also score and grab rebounds, averaging eight and 13 respectively, Fryberg said.

With the talent in Fryberg’s arsenal, he plans to keep the Owls off balance playing hard defense and going inside and out on offense.

“Once you get there [winning regionals], making the state title is what we look forward to,” Fryberg said. “Then we’ll go from there.”

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