Hudson’s Bay boys and girls squads feel like they are one team
VANCOUVER — Officially, there is a Hudson’s Bay girls basketball team and a Hudson’s Bay boys basketball team.
Ask the Eagles, though, and they are all just part of one basketball program, one team, and, yes, one family.
Stacia Mikaele, a freshman, said she prays for the Eagles before every game.
“God, please help us continue this journey. And send your angels over to the boys. We want them to get it done,” she says.
“We’re seen as one, not two separate teams,” she explained. “We play for each other. We look at them as our brothers. They look as us as younger sisters.”
“The guys have been really supportive, always helping us out,” added Jaydia Martin, another freshman who has given hope to the program.
The Hudson’s Bay basketball family had one of their biggest nights in years Saturday. Both squads played Evergreen in the same gym on the same day in an elimination game in the bi-district tournaments.
The Hudson’s Bay boys cheered on the Bay girls to a 55-54 victory at Heritage High School, a neutral court. Then the girls watched the boys to a 55-51 win.
Not too many expected the Eagles to make it to bi-district. The boys nor the girls. But here they were, both getting a win in each tournament. And now, here they are, still alive.
The squads won’t be in the same gym nor play on the same night this week, but they will be there for each other in spirit.
The girls take on Peninsula at 7:45 p.m. tonight at Foss HIgh School in Tacoma. The boys play Capital at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, also at Foss. Those are elimination games, as well.
They do not know how long their journeys will last this season, but getting this far has been an accomplishment. Getting this far, together, on the same night, just made it even more special.
Evergreen’s crowd seemed a bit bigger early in warm-ups, Mikaele said. Then the Bay supporters showed up strong.
“I looked over, and I was like, ‘Oh my …’ I didn’t realize how many people were there,” Mikaele said. “It was super cool.”
Leading the cheers were the boys basketball players.
“After the games, I think the boys were more excited for our win than their win,” Mikaele said.
The boys know how driven the girls have been this season.
“We haven’t had that good of a girls basketball team in a long, long time,” said Quadrese Teague, one of the senior leaders of the boys team.
Nate Buslach said it is great to be part of these Eagles, making believers out of the naysayers.
He knows other teams have said, “Oh, Hudson’s Bay. That’s a dub. We’re going to beat them.”
“We are a threat now. We can’t just be pushed around anymore,” he said. “We’re there.”
Was he talking about the boys team? Or the girls team? How about both?
“Over the past years, Bay has been turning all this stuff around,” Teague said. “We’re making progress.”
Because of this, the athletes support each other in every sport.
And with basketball, it just so happened the players could support each other on the same night in the same gym in the postseason.
This is rare for a Class 3A program in bi-district. The format usually calls for boys and girls to played on different nights. Also, only the top seeds from Clark County get a home game. All other games are scheduled to be played in the Puget Sound area.
However, if two Clark County teams end up facing each other, there is a chance the game can be moved closer to home. And if two teams face each other in both boys and girls, in the same round, those games can be moved to the same day.
That is how it came about Saturday night, Hudson’s Bay and Evergreen. Again and again.
Both programs lost in the first round of bi-district, and the brackets had them playing each other in the first consolation game.
On the court, the Hudson’s Bay and Evergreen boys are not exactly cozy.
“We know them. We are friends. When we are on the court, though, we are enemies,” Teague said. “The tension was a lot, built up. We knew they were hungry. We also came ready to play. We didn’t want our season to end. We knew we were the better team.”
The Hudson’s Bay boys started league play 0-7 this season before winning three in a row, then winning a tiebreaker just to finish fourth in league to get to the bi-district.
“When you get into the postseason, everyone is 0-0. Games can go either way,” Buslach said. “Your record doesn’t matter.”
Eli Hoover led the Eagles with 16 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Eric Ryapolov had nine points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
The girls game was a thriller. Jaydia Martin made two free throws with eight seconds left to give the Eagles the lead.
“Those were definitely nerve-racking free throws,” Martin said.
Evergreen had a chance to tie at the line, but missed. Mikaele grabbed the rebound to secure the win.
Martin finished with 18 points for the Eagles. Kamaelai Powell added 16 points. Mikaele grabbed 13 rebounds.
Soon enough the stats will fade from memory.
The night, though, will not be forgotten by the Hudson’s Bay basketball family.