The Meridian and Nooksack Valley boys basketball teams earned impressive victories at the Class 1A District 1 tournament Saturday night, Feb. 15, and both will go into the next round on a high note.
The Trojans defeated Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) for the second time in the tournament, 64-54, to take third place. And the Pioneers took fifth place by beating South Whidbey, 70-37, in a loser-out contest.
The good news is that both Whatcom County teams advance to the Bi-District 1/2 tournament. The bad news is that only one of them has a chance to make it to the regional round of the state tournament.
Nooksack Valley starts bi-district play on Monday at 7 p.m. when the Pioneers travel to Redmond to take on Overlake in a loser-out game.
Should the Pioneers win, they would play at Meridian on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the third meeting between the two teams. The winner would need one more victory to earn a state berth; the loser would see its season come to an end.
The county’s other 1A entry, Lynden Christian, finished second in the district tournament and would host a bi-district game on Thursday. The Lyncs would qualify for state by winning Thursday’s game or a consolation final on Saturday at Shorewood High School in Shoreline.
Trojans Use Senior Power To Beat CPC
Meridian had senior night during the regular season, but the seniors had another good night Saturday to lead the Trojans (15-7) over Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) (15-9).
It was closer than their opening-round meeting — a 28-point Trojan win — but Meridian’s senior guards made sure the result was the same.
Senior post Joseph Plagerman led the way with 21 points, and then came the senior guards: Jackson Short had 16, Ryan Johnson had 11, Corey Hemenway had 10, and Jordan Veenstra had 6.
Pioneers Blast South Whidbey In Second Half
With its tournament life on the line, Nooksack Valley (11-13) put together one of its best games of the year in blowing out South Whidbey and avenging a one-point loss to the Falcons in the opening round.
The Pioneers turned a four-point halftime lead into a comfortable 14-point lead going into the final period, and then turned it into a rout in the final period.
“Defensively, the boys stepped up, only allowing eight points in the second half,” said Nooksack Valley coach Rich Skillman.
Skillman also praised senior forward Zach Johnson, who had a game-high 19 points. Senior forward Clancy Coppinger added 16 points, junior guard Cody Coppinger added 9 and senior guard Matt Pratt had 8.
Nooksack Valley 47, South Whidbey 37
Nooksack Valley 14 19 14 23—70
South Whidbey 19 10 4 4—37
Nooksack Valley: Matt Pratt 8, Colby Wickers, Ryan Veening 5, Carson Fullner 3, Ryan Van Berkum 4, Cody Coppinger 9, Zach Johnson 19, Clancy Coppinger 16, Keldon Weidkamp 1, Easton Zylstra, Cole Eldridge 4, Dawson Kimball.
South Whidbey: J. Ng, N. Young 5, D. Jokinen 7, B. Hezel 2, L. Rookstool 2, K. Nelson, S. Patton 4, L. Buck 17.
CLASS 1A DISTRICT 1
Saturday, Feb. 8
Mount Baker 69, Coupeville 48 (loser out)
Monday, Feb. 10
Meridian 77, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 49
King’s 83, Mount Baker 42
South Whidbey 47, Nooksack Valley 46
Lynden Christian 87, Sultan 53
Wednesday, Feb. 12
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 76, Mount Baker 59 (loser out)
Nooksack Valley 68, Sultan 53 (loser out)
King’s 77, Meridian 42
Lynden Christian 72, South Whidbey 37
Thursday, Feb. 13
Meridian 71, Nooksack Valley 47
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 64, South Whidbey 23
Friday, Feb. 14
King’s 69, Lynden Christian 57 (winner first, loser second)
Saturday, Feb. 15
Nooksack Valley 70, South Whidbey 37 (winner fifth, loser out)
Meridian 64, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 54 (winner third, loser fourth)
(Top five advance to Bi-District)
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.