1A Girls State: Nooksack Shuts Down Seattle Academy On Way To Semis

When you’re the defending state champion and ranked No.1, the bar is set pretty high. And the Nooksack Valley girls basketball team is getting closer and closer to reaching it.

The Pioneers continued their historic run by demolishing Seattle Academy, 60-22, in the Class 1A state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 29, in the Yakima SunDome.

The victory moves Nooksack Valley into the semifinals against Wapato on Friday at 7:15 p.m. and one step closer to capturing the school’s second state title. It also guarantees the Pioneers a top-six finish and another trophy.

“Obviously, you want to win,” Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers said after doing just that for the 24th time in 25 games. “But you’re always trying to hit the bar, to play to your potential. It doesn’t matter who you play.”

For the latest game stories and photos from all our state teams, keep checking Whatcom Hoops throughout the day.

On Thursday, the Pioneers played a Seattle Academy squad that was game but outmanned from the start. Still, the Cardinals weathered a 22-point Nooksack Valley first quarter and held the Pioneers to “only” 14 in the second quarter.

But Nooksack Valley raised the bar in the second half and surrendered only three points after halftime, shutting out the Cardinals in the fourth quarter.

“Even though we’ve been here and as experienced as we are, there’s still that first game,” said Wichers of the first state round in the SunDome. “I thought we settled in better in the second half.”

Someone who didn’t need to settle in was senior guard Devin Coppinger. The all-stater and University of Washington commit had 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

“I was proud of the girls,” said Coppinger, who wanted to praise reserves Alyxis Larson and Reagan Burke even though neither scored. “We definitely got our jitters out in the second half. We’re just excited to be playing two more games together.”

The Pioneers spread the scoring around with nine of the 11 girls scoring and 10 of them grabbing rebounds. Senior Tana Hoekema had 10 points and 7 rebounds, senior Lainey Kimball had 7 points and 8 rebounds, sophomore Payton Bartl hit a pair of 3-pointers for 6 points, and sophomore Grace DeHoog grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds.

While the Pioneers are heavy favorites to win the gold ball on Saturday night, Wichers has seen 27 years of upsets and isn’t counting his trophies until they are awarded.

“Whoever plays the best on any given night will win,” he said of playing fifth-seeded Wapato in the semifinals. “It doesn’t matter where you’re ranked. Tonight, we were ready to play.”

Tenth-seeded Seattle Academy (16-10) will now face Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) in a loser-out consolation game on Friday at 12:15 p.m.

Nooksack Valley 60, Seattle Academy 22

Seattle Academy    11         8        3       0—22

Nooksack Valley    22       14       11       13—60

Seattle Academy: Jolie Phirakhong, Sydney Lennard, 4 Divina Cortedano, Fiona Berhane, Ila Giblin 5, Taya Dukes 5, Maddie Jahn, Calla Nelson 5, Isley Whitehead, Makaila Johnson 3, Skylar Burkhart, Skylar Vela.

Nooksack Valley: Lainey Kimball 7, Kate Shintaffer 2, Payton Bartl 6, Chayleigh Davis 3, Alyxis Larson, Raegan Burke, Devin Coppinger 21, Tana Hoekema 10, Kaylee Anderson 3, Alayna Dykstra 4, Grace DeHoog 4.


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 59, Montesano 35 (loser out)

Seattle Academy 52, Bellevue Christian 49 (loser out)

King’s 53, Eatonville 40 (loser out)

Cashmere 47, Toppenish 30 (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

Wapato 69, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 64

Nooksack Valley 60, Seattle Academy 22

Lynden Christian 63, King’s 50

Deer Park 68, Cashmere 38

Friday, March 1

#6 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) (20-6) vs. #8 Seattle Academy (16-10), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

#4 King’s (17-11) vs. #9 Cashmere (20-6), 2 p.m. (loser out)

#5 Wapato (23-2) vs. #1 Nooksack Valley (24-1), 7:15 p.m.

#3 Lynden Christian (19-7) vs. #2 Deer Park (25-0), 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 2

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)

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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