1A District: Nooksack Girls, LC Boys Claim Titles, State Berths

 The defending state champion Nooksack Valley girls and Lynden Christian boys had their hands full but came away with victories on Saturday, Feb. 10, to claim Class 1A District 1 championships and earn berths in the state regionals.

The Pioneers had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to get by nemesis Lynden Christian, 53-45, and win their second straight district title. The LC boys rallied in the second half to defeat Meridian, 71-58, and will now be aiming for a third straight 1A state crown.

NEXT UP  FRIDAY: The 1A district tournament wraps up Friday with the consolation games at Lynden High. The Meridian and Nooksack Valley boys will square off for the third time this season at 5:30 p.m. and the Lynden Christian girls will face Meridian at 7 p.m. Both games are winner-to-state, loser-out contests. For all the action, check out Whatcom Hoops.

In consolation play Saturday, the Meridian girls scored in the last seconds to beat Blaine, 40-38, in a loser-out contest, and the Nooksack Valley boys won their loser-out game, eliminating Mount Baker, 66-47.

Here are the results from Saturday’s playoff action:


Seniors Rally Pioneers Past LC For Title, 53-45

No.1-ranked Nooksack Valley, which hadn’t lost to a 1A school in two years, was shockingly down by two points going into the fourth quarter. But that’s when the seniors rallied the Pioneers to the 53-45 victory over Lynden Christian.

All-state guard Devin Coppinger made all six of her free throws, Tana Hoekema had five points, Lainey Kimball made two buckets, and Kaylee Anderson had one of her two 3-pointers as Nooksack Valley put up 18 points in the final period for the comeback win.

“It was a good game … back and forth until we were able to get a little lead in the fourth quarter,” said Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers, whose team improved to 23-1.

Coppinger would finish with a game-high 21 points and 9 rebounds and went 13 for 14 from the line. Hoekema had 14 points and 8 rebounds, Anderson had 8 points, and Kimball finished with 6 points.

Lynden Christian fought back from an early deficit to take the lead with a 17-point second quarter. But the Lyncs only managed eight points in the fourth period to fall to 16-7 on the year.

Junior Grace Hintz, whose return from an ACL injury has sparked the Lyncs late-season run, had 10 of her team-high 17 points in the big second quarter. LC’s only senior, Tabby DeJong, had 10 points and sophomore Ella Fritz and junior Danya Dykstra had 6 points each with Dykstra and Hintz hitting two 3-pointers each.

Free throws turned out to be the big difference as the Pioneers made 17 of 20 from the line and Lynden Christian only had two free throws, making both.

Nooksack Valley 53, Lynden Christian 45

Lynden Christian       8       17       12         8—45

Nooksack Valley      12       11       12       18—53

Lynden Christian: Dykstra 6, Tveter, Hernandez 3, Fritts 6, Hintz 17, DeJong 10, Yun, Van Loo, Shumate 3.

Nooksack Valley: Kimball 6, Shintaffer 2, Bartl, Davis 2, Coppinger 21, Hoekema 14, Anderson 8, Dykstra, DeHoog.

Late Bucket Give Meridian Win Over Blaine, 40-38 

Meridian scored six points in the final 40 seconds with Malia McCauley’s layup with six seconds left giving the Trojans an exciting 40-38 victory over Blaine.

After tying the score off a couple of Blaine turnovers to tie the game at 38-all, sophomore point guard Brooklyn Fuller found McCauley open underneath for the layup. The Borderites managed to inbound the ball and get it over halfcourt but couldn’t get off a final shot and saw their season come to an end.

“That was the best team game we’ve played all season, and I couldn’t be more proud of this group for sticking together,” said Meridian coach Bree Joy, whose team improved to 7-16.

Meridian freshman Maddy Swanson had a breakout game with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. McCauley — the only senior on the roster after season-ending injuries to classmates Savannah Storgaard and Allie Richter — had eight of her 10 points in the fourth period.

Blaine was once again led by its four seniors, who played almost the entire 32 minutes and shined in their final game after playing four years on varsity together.

Deja Dube had 7 points, and Amelia Berkeley and Alia Ball had 6 points each. But none shone more than Jordyn Vezzetti, who returned after being injured in the semifinals on Thursday to score a game-high 18 points on Saturday.

“For our four seniors, it was both an honorable and difficult way to end,” said Blaine coach Vic Wolffis. “Difficult because it felt like we let one get away and honorable in that it was a fiercely contested game the whole way, and we lost to a team that completely honored the game in their fierce competitive style.

“These seniors have given so much to Blaine basketball and our staff loves them for it. They have honored the game, their team, and their community well.”

Vezzetti and Ball would finish with two 3-pointers each as the four seniors scored all but one of Blaine’s points. The loss finished the Borderites’ season at 10-12.

Meridian 40, Blaine 38

Meridian     10       10         9       11—40

Blaine           9         9       12         8—38

Meridian: Fuller 3, McCauley 10, Koning, Bernardy 3, Neal 3, K. Storgaard, Swanson 17, Benson 4.

Blaine: Ritter Von Trautmann, Vezzetti 18, Berkeley 6, Ball 6, Bring, D. Dube 7, Berentzen, T. Dube 1.


Saturday, Feb. 10

At Lynden High

Consolation round

Meridian 40, Blaine 38 (loser out)

Championship game

Nooksack Valley 53, Lynden Christian 45 (winner to state regionals)

Friday, Feb. 16

At Lynden High

Consolation final

Lynden Christian vs. Meridian, 7:15 p.m. (winner to state regionals, loser out)


Wrights Leads LC To District Title Over Meridian, 71-58

Senior post Jeremiah Wright proved nearly unstoppable in amassing 30 points but Lynden Christian had to rally in the second half to overcome Meridian in the district championship game, 71-58.

With the Trojans leading 33-30 at the half, Wright scored 13 points in the third quarter when the Lyncs put up 24 points to take a nine-point lead and eventually the win.

With the victory, the two-time defending state champion Lyncs are now 21-2. Joining Wright in double figures was senior Dawson Bouma with 12 points. Senior Kayden Stuit had 9 points, and junior Gannon Dykstra added 7 points.

Juniors Talon Jenkins and Jaeger Fyfe led the Trojans, who fell to 12-11. Jenkins had 22 points and three 3-pointers, and Fyfe had 16 points thanks to a 10-of-13 effort from the free throw line. Senior Taran Burks added 8 points, and junior James Hedahl had 6 points for Meridian.

Lynden Christian 71, Meridian 58

Meridian                  15       18       12       13—58

Lynden Christian     16       14       24       17—71

Meridian: Jenkins 22, Fuller, Fyfe 16, Amundson 4, Short, Burks 8, Clawson 2, Hedahl 6, Payne.

Lynden Christian: Hintz 4, Bouma 12, Dykstra 7, Blair 1, Howell, Van Kooten 5, Veldman, Bosman 3, Wright, 30, Stuit 9.

Nooksack Valley Knocks Out Mount Baker, 66-47

In an almost identical result to their previous meeting this season, Nooksack Valley defeated Mount Baker, 66-47, to eliminate the Mounties and move into the consolation final against Meridian.

Nooksack Valley improved to 12-11 with the win, which was a near-repeat of the 66-44 triumph over Mount Baker on Jan. 20, and will now square off with the Trojans for the district’s final state spot.

The Pioneers took command in the second quarter Saturday going up by 13 at the half and holding Mount Baker to 22 points in the second half to secure the win.

Leading the Pioneers were juniors Brady Ackerman with 18 points, Colton Lentz with 16 points, and Caden Heutink with 11 points. Senior Wayne Silves and sophomore Dane Ackerman had 6 points each with Silves netting a pair of 3s.

“Brady and Colton had really good games inside scoring and rebounding,” said Nooksack Valley coach Jason Heutink.

Junior Darius Gilstrap had 18 points and two 3-pointers for Mount Baker, which ended its season with a 4-19 record. Sophomore Carter Hill had 8 points, and junior Luke Smith and freshman Kell Reardon added 7 points each.

“The Mounties worked hard this year and improved,” said Mount Baker coach Tony Clark, who returns all but seniors Braeden Scott and Tyson Rightmire. “We’re excited for the years to come.”

Nooksack Valley 66, Mount Baker 47

Mount Baker            14       11         9       13—47

Nooksack Valley      19       19       12       16—66

Mount Baker: Smith 7, Bailey, Lukes, Abitia 3, Hill 8, Armbright 2, Scott 2, Reardon 7, Gilstrap 18.

Nooksack Valley: Coppinger, Olney 5, Lentz 16, Heutink 11, Brown 2, Vigre, Lanhaar, Silves 6, Hickey 2, D. Ackerman 6, B. Ackerman 18.

Saturday, Feb. 10

At Lynden High

Consolation round

Nooksack Valley 66, Mount Baker 47 (loser out)

Championship game

Lynden Christian 71, Meridian 58 (winner to state)

Friday, Feb. 16

At Lynden High

Consolation final

Nooksack Valley vs. Meridian, 5:30 p.m. (winner to state, loser out)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

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