The Nooksack Valley girls basketball team tipped off the Class 1A quadrupleheader of state regional games Saturday, Feb. 26, at Mount Vernon High And the Pioneers set the bar high, blowing out Colville, 71-41, to earn a trip to the state quarterfinals in Yakima.
But Lynden Christian girls weren’t to be outdone, blasting Seattle Academy, 61-21, to join the Pioneers in the SunDome on Thursday.
The two squads will be in opposite brackets with top-seed Lynden Christian (19-4) hitting the court first at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Colville and La Center. Second-seed Nooksack Valley (19-3) gets the 9 p.m. nightcap and will play the winner of Seattle Academy and Wapato.
But neither the Pioneers or Lyncs are looking ahead at a possible third meeting this season, which could happen in the championship game.
“Coach (Brady Bomber) tells us to just look at the team in front of us,” said LC junior Demi Dykstra.
“We’re just looking at what’s ahead of us,” said Nooksack Valley junior Hallie Kamphouse, “and that’s our next game on Thursday.”
Here’s what happened Saturday:
Lynden Christian Defense Dominates Seattle Academy
When you’re offense starts a little slow and only manages nine points in the first quarter, you turn up your defense. And then when your offense gets going, well, that’s when Lynden Christian turns a four-point lead after one period into a 61-21 victory over Seattle Academy in Saturday’s state regional.
And this wasn’t any patsy the Lyncs were playing. The Cardinals were seeded eighth and came into the game with an impressive 18-3 record, a 13-game win streak, and a District 2 championship. They will take all that into the consolation bracket in Yakima.
Because after the Lyncs’ unleashed a 24-point second period and held Seattle Academy to six or fewer points in every quarter, the only question was when the Cardinals would break into double digits (with 1:27 left in the third quarter) and when the running clock would start (with two minutes left in the game).
Now it’s LC with a 13-game winning streak as it prepares to head back to Yakima, where it won the 2020 state championship.
“It’s been a long journey to get to this point and to celebrate getting back to the SunDome,” said Bomber, whose teams also won the 2016 and 2018 state titles but missed a chance to defend their 2020 crown when COVID canceled last year’s state tournament.
“We’re very excited,” said Dykstra, who had a game-high and career-high 18 points. “We want to enjoy the moment, especially since we didn’t get to go last year.”
Joining Dykstra in double figures were senior Libby Stump with 11 points and freshman Grace Hintz with 10. Junior Daisy Poag came off the bench to nail three 3-pointers for 9 points and junior Katrin Fay had a pair of 3s in the final minutes to keep the crowd excited.
Lynden Christian 61, Seattle Academy 21
Seattle Academy 5 4 6 6—21
Lynden Christian 9 24 13 15—61
Seattle Academy: Skylar Burkart, Divina Cortedano, Ila Giblin 4, Taya Dukes 12, Katie Drais 3, Kyliah McRoy, Makaila Johnson, Sydney Lennard 2, Skylar Vela.
Lynden Christian: Libby Stump 11, Demi Dykstra 18, Taryn Herwerden 1, Lexi Kaptein 4, Alexie Hagen, Grace Hintz 10, Charley Dykstra, Katrin Fay 6, Daisy Poag 9, Reganne Arnold 2, Andi Anderson.
Nooksack Valley’s Depth Too Much For Colville
Nooksack Valley has one of the best players in the state — Devin Coppinger — but the Pioneers’ 71-41 victory over seventh-seed Colville showed why it’s the other 11 players that make them one of the best teams in this state.
Spreading the points and using perhaps the deepest bench in Class 1A, Nooksack Valley easily overpowered a solid Crimson Hawks team that came into the game with a 16-3 record. Nooksack Valley was in command the whole way but put the game away with a 15-3 fourth quarter when they only allowed the Crimson Hawks just three free throws.
“We have lots of kids who can play,” understated Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers, who got 24 points out of his bench. “I’m not surprised.”
The starters did their thing. Coppinger had her usually game — 19 points, a half-dozen or so assists, and at least two or three “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” from the purple-clad Nooksack Valley crowd after another amazing pass or WNBA move.
Junior Hallie Kamphouse hit three 3-pointers and had 16 points, senior McKenna Wichers and junior Taylor Lentz dominated the boards, and tiny Tehya Moore played in-your-face defense that included a blocked shot of a player a half-foot taller. “She’s a defensive menace,” said coach Wichers.
But then here comes the bench. Senior Ellie Van Berkum fires away for 10 points, Miss Energy Lainey Kimball adds 6 points and gives out at least that many bruises, and sophomore Tana Hoekema answers the bell with 8 points.
“We pride ourselves on our depth,” said Van Berkum. “We trains so everybody steps up when it’s their opportunity.”
Now the Pioneers get their opportunity to step up when they return to the SunDome, where the juniors and seniors played in the 2020 state tournament.
“I’m ready,” said Van Berkum. “I just want to enjoy every minute that I get to come out and play with these girls.”
Nooksack Valley 71, Colville 41
Colville 11 11 16 3—41
Nooksack Valley 19 20 17 15—71
Colville: Bayleigh Darnold 2, Morgan Palmer 4, Alli Petrey, Jordyn True 7, Olivia Ortner 3, AshNe’a Anderson 4, Ady Darnold 5, BrookLynn Martin 6, Kaelyn Malone 1, Navae Kinney, Mckenna Reggear 9, Eliza Fazzari.
Nooksack Valley: Lainey Kimball 6, Tehya Moore 6, Devin Coppinger 19, Hallie Kamphouse 16, McKenna Wichers 6, Ellie Van Berkum 10, Ranae Hoekema, Tana Hoekema 8, Kaylee Anderson, Taylor Lentz, Ella Perry.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Friday, Feb. 25
#15 La Center 52, #10 Annie Wright 48 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#13 Toppenish 60, #12 Tenino 55 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#3 Cashmere 57, #6 Freeman 23 (both to state tournament)
#9 Wapato 78, #16 Overlake 45 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#11 King’s 46, #14 Bellevue Christian 27 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
Saturday, Feb. 26
#2 Nooksack Valley 71, #7 Colville 41 (both to state tournament)
#4 Montesano 59, #5 Zillah 52 (both to state tournament)
#1 Lynden Christian 61, #8 Seattle Academy 41 (both to state tournament)
At Yakima SunDome
Wednesday, March 2
Freeman (15-5) vs. King’s (17-8), 3:45 p.m. (loser out)
Colville (16-4) vs. La Center (16-7), 5:30 p.m. (loser out)
Zillah (16-4) vs. Toppenish (17-7), 7:15 p.m. (loser out)
Seattle Academy (18-4) vs. Wapato (19-4), 9 p.m. (loser out)
Thursday, March 3
Montesano (20-1) vs. Freeman-King’s winner, 3:45 p.m.
Lynden Christian (19-4) vs. Colville-La Center winner, 5:30 p.m.
Cashmere (19-1) vs. Zillah-Toppenish winner, 7:15 p.m.
Nooksack Valley (19-3) vs. Seattle Academy-Wapato winner, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 4
Consolation game, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Consolation game, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Semifinal, 7:15 p.m.
Semifinal, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 5
Consolation game, 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation final, 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game, 9 p.m. (winner first, loser second)