Now that it is basketball season, Gary Alexander of the Lopez Island Historical Society takes a look back at some pivotal Lobos wins.
In the early 1950s, Miss Jean DeLurme coached the Lopez Island high school basketball and football teams. Since then, Lopez has always fielded a competitive quintet, and some were truly outstanding.
Lopez Girls Win in Spokane, 1982
March Madness first came to Lopez Island on March 6, 1982, when the Lopez girls returned home from winning their first game at a Washington State tournament. Playing in the Northwest “B” League, posting an 18-9 win-loss record, the Lobos headed to the state tournament at Spokane, where they won one of three games. Coach M.R. Buffum said they played their best game against the 1981 champions, Cathlamet, losing 61-56 (Lopez led at halftime, 29-22, and once held an 11-point lead).
The Lopez girls won their next game, but were eliminated after a second loss. The Lobos’ leading scorer was 5’6” senior Tori Plummer with 46 points in three games, followed by Tammy Barber (41 points), Jennifer Pickering (24), Sue Perkins (18), Sharon Orcutt (12) and Tosha Bartholomew (8). Sue Phillips, Shawnie Spang, Inge Schwartz, Karen Budlong, Kim Buzzard and Kris Marean rounded out the squad.
The trip home included a huge rally at the ferry dock on March 6. First, the incoming ferry tooted its horn in celebration as the island welcomed the girls, their coaches (M.R. and Debbie Buffum) and supporters. There was a caravan led by the sheriff’s car and fire engine, escorting them to the Galley, where a gala reception was held in their honor, with Jim and Barbara Budlong serving as MCs.
2010 Lopez Boys Win Their First State Tournament Game
It took 28 years, but the Lopez boys finally matched the 1982 girls with their first win at state last March. With a senior-dominated team that had played together since the third grade, the 2010 Lobos’ win against Oakville marked the first state tournament playoff win in Lopez boys’ basketball history. Their proud coach M.R. Buffum, said “I’ve known most of these boys since they were babies. In the third grade, they told me, ‘We’re going to go to state someday and we’re gonna get a trophy.’ Well, they went to state…”
Coach Buffum said the Lobos played spectacular defense throughout the tournament. “Our defense was absolutely incredible. I have never seen us play defense like that; I was in awe.”
Unfortunately, their offense wasn’t strong enough to win more than one game. First, they lost to the Rosalia Spartans, then beat the Oakville Acorns, 62-50, with Mica Arps scoring 15 points and 14 rebounds in the second half alone.
Finally, the Lobos were bounced from the tournament by two points, losing to the Pateros Billygoats, 33-31, with Alex Buffum leading all Lobos scorers with 11. Coach Buffum was proud. 2010 seniors included forwards Mica Arps, Alex Buffum, K.J. Naylor, Leland Nopson, and guards Tucker Hoffman and Colton Jardine.