They call it the Nooksack standard. It’s not as poetic as the Purple Wave or maybe Pioneer Power.
But when it happens — well, Bellevue Christian was the latest to find out as the Nooksack Valley girls basketball team crushed the Vikings, 65-16, Friday night, Feb. 24, in the Class 1A state regionals at Mount Vernon High School.
With the victory, the Pioneers move to the state quarterfinals in the Yakima SunDome on Thursday, March 2, against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Annie Wright and the loser of Saturday’s Cashmere-Lynden Christian game.
Be sure to check out Whatcom Hoops for stories and photos from all the playoff games.
“I told the kids that in postseason, anything can happen,” said Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers. “But our goal is to play to the Nooksack standard.”
And, boy, did they.
Bellevue Christian scored on its first shot and was only behind, 3-2, after the first 30 seconds. Not only was that as close as they’d get to a win, but it was just about the Vikings’ only highlight.
The top-seeded Pioneers, who raised their record to 24-1, went up 22-4 after one quarter, 37-7 at the half, and had the running clock going by the third quarter break when they were ahead, 54-10.
“Our goal was to come out and jump on them, and give it your best effort,” said Wichers. “We got that.”
Nooksack Valley’s all-state guard, Devin Coppinger, agreed.
“We’re mainly playing to our standard,” said the junior, who led the team with 16 points. “I thought we did that tonight.”
And don’t let the score fool you into thinking B.C. was just another patsy. The Vikings were seeded eighth in the state with a 21-1 record.
Not that it matters when the Pioneers are playing up to their standard. Nooksack Valley had a balanced attack with eight of the 10 Pioneers scoring. Senior Hallie Kamphouse added 14 points, junior Kaylee Anderson had 12 points, junior Lainey Kimball had 10, and junior Tana Hoekema finished with 7.
“That’s something about this team,” said Coppinger. “Everybody is able to contribute.”
The Nooksack Valley offense was especially effective from deep early in the game with Kamphouse and Anderson hitting two 3-pointers apiece and Nooksack hitting five of their 10 3s in the first quarter. Kamphouse and Anderson would finish with four 3-pointers each.
But while Nooksack Valley’s 65 points were no surprise, the Vikings’ 16 points were — unless, of course, you’ve seen the Pioneers’ defense before. Bellevue Christian had never scored less than 37 points all season and only given up more than 40 twice.
Anderson said the team’s success is a by-product of its closeness, something they’ve had for a while.
“A lot of us have played together since kindergarten,” said Anderson. “Our relationships on and off the court are really strong. We have so much fun.”
And will they continue to meet the Nooksack standard as they head to Yakima next week? Anderson and Coppinger thought so.
“We knew what to expect,” Anderson said of Friday’s game. “We needed to play feisty and aggressive. That will prepare us when we’ll have to be feisty and aggressive (in Yakima).”
“On the bus ride home we’ll be celebrating,” said Coppinger right after the game. “But tomorrow we’ll be back preparing for the next game.”
Bellevue Christian (21-2) also gets to go to the SunDome but will play a loser-out contest on Wednesday, March 1, against Freeman.
Nooksack Valley 65, Bellevue Christian 16
Bellevue Christian 4 3 3 6—16
Nooksack Valley 22 15 17 11—65
Bellevue Christian: Emily Betts, Eve Henry 2, Kayla Wilgus, Kianna Skogstad 5, Olivia Reynolds 5, Rocklyn Osborn, Addi Taylor 2, Jackie Hergott 2.
Nooksack Valley: Devin Coppinger 16, Hallie Kamphouse 14, Taylor Lentz, Lainey Kimball 10, Tana Hoekema 7, Kaylee Anderson 12, Ella Perry 2, Kate Shintaffer, Payton Bartl 2, Grace DeHoog 2.
CLASS 1A GIRLS STATE REGIONALS
Friday, Feb. 24
#1 Nooksack Valley 65, #8 Bellevue Christian 16 (both to state tournament)
#9 Freeman 47, #16 Hoquiam 19 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#15 Annie Wright 48, #10 College Place 40 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
Saturday, Feb. 25
#12 Seattle Academy (15-6) vs. #13 Seton Catholic (20-3) at Bellevue CC, noon (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#3 Wapato (22-1) vs. #6 Deer Park (20-2) at Davis High, 2 p.m. (both to state tournament)
#2 Lynden Christian (22-3) vs. #7 Cashmere (15-4) at Mount Vernon High, 4 p.m. (both to state tournament)
#4 Montesano (21-3) vs. #5 King’s (21-3) at Tumwater High, 4 p.m. (both to state tournament)
#11 Zillah (17-7) vs. #14 Sultan (13-9) at Davis High, 4 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)
At Yakima SunDome
Wednesday, March 1
Zillah-Sultan winner vs. Wapato-Deer Park loser, 9 a.m. (loser out)
Annie Wright (18-8) vs. Lynden Christian-Cashmere loser, 10:25 a.m. (loser out)
Seattle Academy-Seton Catholic winner vs. Montesano-King’s loser, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Freeman (19-5) vs. Bellevue Christian (21-2), 2 p.m. (loser out)
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.