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The Meridian and Lynden Christian girls both won in impressive fashion Wednesday night in the Class 1A District 1 semifinals — although in totally different ways — setting up a second showdown for the rivals.
The Trojans started fast and never let up on offense or defense in overwhelming Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), 73-25, at home. The Lyncs went on the road to knock off a strong King’s squad, 65-48.
With their victories, Meridian and LC automatically qualify for next week’s District 1/2 tournament, and the two will now square off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School with the district title and a state berth at stake.
Nooksack Valley made it a clean sweep for the Northwest Conference on Wednesday night by overpowering Granite Falls, 56-29, in a loser-out contest.
The Pioneers will face Cedar Park Christian in Bothell on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. in a loser-out contest with the winner qualifying for the bi-district tournament. The game originally was scheduled for Friday, but was moved up a day because of weather concerns and will be played after the Nooksack Valley-Cedar Park Christian boys game, which starts at 6 p.m.
Lexi Groen (23) and Jolee Sipma (32) look for another turnover to turn into a Meridian fast break.
Meridian Off And Running Into Championship Game
It was only appropriate that the game was played with a running clock the last quarter and a half because the Trojans (18-4), the top-seeded team out of the NWC, never stopped running in trampling over Cedar Park Christian (12-7).
“That’s our game,” said senior Lexi Groen, who got the Trojans off and running with eight points in the first quarter. “We’re going to run. We’re going to keep pushing.”
For more pictures from the Meridian game, check out the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
With its full-court press causing numerous turnovers leading to fastbreak layups, Meridian was up by 20 early in the second quarter, up 50-17 at the half, and bringing out the running clock by going up by 40 in the third quarter.
“We were so ready to play,” said Jolee Sipma, whose 21 points almost outscored the short-handed Eagles. “It was definitely our fastbreak and defense. We wanted to push from the get-go.”
Freshman Skyleigh James led a strong bench performance with 11 points as 10 different Trojans scored.
“The seniors are built that way … to go, go, go,” said Meridian coach Mark Gilmore of senior starters Groen, Makenna Holz, and Lindsey Moore. “And we have the kids who can do that. It was a good team effort.”
Meridian 73, Cedar Park Christian 25
Cedar Park Christian 9 8 6 2 — 25
Meridian 25 25 12 11 — 73
Cedar Park Christian: Parker Reymore, Abby Perrigoue 4, Lauren McNamara, Irena Korolenko 12, Tia Johnson 2, Jaden Chappell-Waters 2, Sela Flynn 5.
Meridian: Madeline Bowler 7, Kayla Aalpoel, Amanda Schleimer 2, Finley Claeys 4, Makenna Holz 6, Lexi Groen 9, Lindsey Moore 7, Jolee Sipma 21, Skyleigh James 11, Ellie DeWaard 4, Ella Zander 2.
Lynden Christian Unleashes 3-pointers To Down King’s
The visiting Lyncs (18-3) came out firing and 11 3-pointers later, they’d taken down the North Sound League champion Knights (16-5).
“We jumped on them,” LC coach Brady Bombers said of the Lyncs’ 23-5 first-quarter onslaught. “It was the best game we’ve played in a while.”
Riley Dykstra did the scoring early with eight-first quarter points and the junior forward finished with 12 points. Isabela Hernandez added 11 first-half points and finished with 16, and Grace Sterk tossed in another 13 for Lynden Christian.
But it was senior guard Josie Bocci who did the most damage, hitting six 3-pointers for a game-high 18 points. And when the Knights tried to cut into the Lyncs’ 22-point lead by scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, LC just bombed in five more 3-pointers — two by Bocci — and scored 21 points in the final period.
“Riley Dykstra was strong early to get us going, and then Josie was huge for us,” said Bomber.
Lynden Christian 65, King’s 48
Lynden Christian 23 14 7 21 — 65
King’s 5 13 10 20 — 48
Lynden Christian: Libby Stump, Josie Bocci 18, Isabela Hernandez 16, Kiley Roetcisoender, Riley Dykstra 12, Liv Mellema 3, Emily Mellema 3, Kenadi Fay, Grace Sterk 13.
King’s: Dominique Kirton, Mia Flor 14, Ashley Gray 2, Peri Weldi, Emma Storkson, Annika Ruud, Jada Wynn 16, Claire Gallagher 12, Jadyn Kirton 4.
Nooksack Takes Care Of Business, Ousts Granite Falls
The Pioneers (14-7) never let the Tigers score more than nine points in a quarter and never scored less than 11 in outplaying visiting Granite Falls. The Tigers ended their season at 5-15.
For more pictures from the Nooksack Valley game, check out the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
“We didn’t shoot real well,” said Nooksack coach Shane Wichers. “But when you play good defense it gets you going. And we can really defend.”
Sophomore guard Maya Galley led Nooksack with 17 points and Jenna Tenkley, the team’s only senior, added 12 points. The Pioneers also attacked the basket enough to get 35 free throws, sinking 21 of them. And they had 18 offensive rebounds, five by freshman McKenna Wichers.
Nooksack Valley 56, Granite Falls 29
Granite Falls 9 4 7 9 — 29
Nooksack Valley 13 18 11 14 — 56
Granite Falls: Ashley Palfrey, Rylee Downs, MacKenzy Petit, Morgann White 5, Nicole Jacobi Fernandez, Jennifer Rodenbaugh 7, Hannah White 9, Alex Chavez, Jasmin Myers, Makena McGill, Hailey Nelson, Sadie Hutchinson 6, Olivia Harmon 2, Vicky Rodenbaugh.
Nooksack Valley: Kora Larsen 7, Tehya Moore 2, Maya Galley 17, Vanessa Galindo 4, McKenna Wichers 6, Lexi Strong 2, Jenna Tenkley 12, Jenna Compton 1, Kaity Paz 3, Aubree Bird 2.
CLASS 1A DISTRICT 1 GIRLS TOURNAMENT
First-round games (Wednesday)
Nooksack Valley 56, Granite Falls 29 (loser out)
Coupeville 48 Sultan 37 (loser out)
Meridian 73, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 25
Lynden Christian 65, King’s 48
Consolation round (Thursday)
Nooksack Valley (14-7) at Cedar Park Christian (12-7), 7:45 p.m. (loser out)
Coupeville (9-9) at King’s (16-5), 7:30 p.m. (loser out)
Consolation Final (Saturday)
Nooksack Valley-Cedar Park Christian winner vs. Coupeville-King’s winner at Mount Vernon High School, 3:45 p.m. (winner third, loser fourth, both advance to bi-district)
Championship final (Saturday)
Meridian (18-4) vs. Lynden Christian (18-3) at Mount Vernon High School, 7:30 p.m. (winner first, loser second, both advance to bi-district, winner to state)
(Full schedule and bracket at nwcathletics.com)
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.