2A Girls: Lynden Is State-bound; Sehome, Squalicum Still Alive

And the first Whatcom team to qualify for state is … the Lynden girls.

The Lions qualified for their ninth straight Class 2A state tournament by using a second-half blitz to defeat Archbishop Murphy, 52-42, in a District 1 semifinal Monday night, Feb. 13, at Mount Vernon High School.

“I’m always ready for Yakima,” said Lynden freshman Payton Mills of the state tournament in Yakima’s SunDome. “This is what I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid.”

For the Sehome and Squalicum girls, the dream will have to wait … at least for a few days.

The Mariners were outmuscled by Burlington-Edison in Monday’s other semifinal, 56-46, and now have to battle through the consolation bracket for the district’s third and final berth into the state regionals. They will play Anacortes in a loser-out contest on Wednesday.

Also in the consolation bracket is the Storm, which stayed alive with a dominating 65-32 victory at home over Lakewood on Monday. Squalicum will take on Archbishop Murphy on Wednesday in another loser-out game.

Meanwhile, Lynden can sit back and enjoy the week knowing it is guaranteed a spot in the state regionals on Feb. 24 or 25. But before that happens, the Lions will play for the district championship against Burlington-Edison on Friday night.

NEXT UP: More Whatcom teams will have a chance to qualify for state on Tuesday. The Lummi boys and girls play Class 1B quarterfinal games with the winners earning state berths. In a 2A boys district semi, Lynden and Sehome will battle with a state berth at stake. In the 1A consolation finals, the Lynden Christian and Meridian girls and the Blaine and Nooksack boys square off with the winners advancing to the bi-district crossover games. And in the 3A girls tourney, Ferndale seeks to stay alive when the Golden Eagles visit Everett. Check out all the latest action at WhatcomHoops.com.

Lynden 52, Archbishop Murphy 42

A 21-point third-quarter outburst was the difference as the Lions broke away from a halftime tie to take a 10-point lead they would never relinquish.

“When we went into halftime, we talked about our shot selection and ball movement,” said Lynden coach Vic Wolffis, whose top-seeded Lions raised their record to 19-4. “We changed up our offense a little and got in the middle of their defense.”

Doing most of the damage in the middle were Mills and junior Haylee Koetje. Mills was a 6-foot-1 force inside all game long with a team-high 19 points, eight of which came in the crucial third period. Koetje, a quick 5-9 forward, had seven points in the third quarter and all 11 of her points came after intermission.

“I had a feeling we would pull it out,” said Koetje of the comeback. “We wanted to stay consistent and play our game.” And what was their game? “To be steady and composed.”

The Lions were steady and composed especially on defense against two of the top offensive players in the district: Archbishop Murphy freshman sensation Brooke Blachly and sophomore star Ava Marr.

Blachly had 19 points despite being hounded all night by the likes of juniors Kalanie Newcomb and Mallary Villars, and Marr was held to 10 points by Koetje and the rest of the Lynden defense. 

“Our girls were phenomenal,” Wolffis said of his team’s defense, which only gave up three buckets in the fourth quarter. “When we gave them (Blachly and Marr) a window, they scored. But we only them a little window.”

Newcomb also finished with 12 points on four of Lynden’s six 3-pointers. Two of her buckets came in Lynden’s big third quarter. Senior Adia Newcomb added 6 points for the Lions.

Lynden 52, Archbishop Murphy 42

Archbishop Murphy        13       10       11         8—42

Lynden                             15         8       21         8—52

Archbishop Murphy: Blachly 19, Hookfin 7, Burns 2, Sullivan, Marr 10, Russell, Vick 4. 

Lynden: K. Newcomb 12, VanderYacht, Villars 4, A. Newcomb 6, Koetje 11, Mills 19, Stephan.

Burlington-Edison 56, Sehome 46

Sehome coach Kim Stensgar agreed. It was a bad day to have a bad day as the normally good-shooting Mariners missed nine free throws and only managed four 3-pointers against the rugged Tigers’ defense.

“They’re a tough team that’s super athletic,” said Stensgar, whose third-seeded team fell to 16-5. “We couldn’t get hot shooting, and we had too many mistakes.”

The first half would prove to be the difference as second-seeded Burlington-Edison held the Mariners to 17 first-half points and took a 10-point lead into intermission thanks to dominating the offensive boards.

Sehome would cut the margin to eight with a chance to make it five several times in the second half but each time the Tigers had an answer.

Usually that answer was sophomore guard Lily Atkins, who had a game-high 26 points, 17 of which came in the second half when Sehome was trying to rally.

“It was frustrating,” said junior Madi Cooper, who led Sehome with 18 points. “It took a while for us to get going. But we’re still in it and we’re still excited. I think we’ll get after it more (next game).”

Junior Kylie Watson gave the Mariners a big spark off the bench with 10 points, and senior Mac Cooper added 6 points.

Sehome, which hasn’t been to state since 2015, will need to win two loser-out contests to reach the state regionals. Burlington-Edison, which took second in last year’s state tournament, improved to 17-5 and, like Lynden, has already earned a state berth.

Burlington-Edison 56, Sehome 46

Sehome                            8         9       17       12—46

Burlington-Edison         12       15       18       11—56

Sehome: Mad. Cooper 18, Aven, Hart 5, Watson 10, Brewer 2, Gaston, Sargent 2, Mac Cooper 6, Hogan 3.

Burlington-Edison: Ad. Ray 2, Holmes 12, Bishop 5, Anderson, Atkins 26, Whitlock 5, Slotemaker 6. 

Squalicum 63, Lakewood 32

The Storm, who struggled offensively the last couple of games, had no struggles Monday as they blasted the visiting Cougars in a loser-out contest.

Junior Makayla Heaton bounced back after a tough quarterfinal loss to Sehome to hit five 3-pointers and collect a game-high 21 points for Squalicum. 

Callie McEachran, the team’s lone senior, made her final game on her homecourt a memorable one with 13 points, including eight points and two of her three 3-pointers in the first quarter as Squalicum jumped to a 14-5 lead and never looked back.

“I was proud of Heaton for sticking with her shooting and getting into her groove,” said Squalicum coach Jenny Brown, whose squad improved to 11-11.

“Another favorite moment was getting to have such a great playoff win with Callie on our homecourt. I was really happy we were able to win again at home for her. There were tears at the end of the game in celebration.”

Junior Caitlyn Richardson added 8 points and junior Mari Binning had 7 for the Storm, which held Lakewood to one point in the fourth quarter.

Squalicum is seeking to return to state for the first time since 2010 and for only the third time in the school’s history.

Squalicum 63, Lakewood 32

Lakewood                5       14       12         1—32

Squalicum              14       22       16       11—63

Lakewood: Tocco 2, Hine, Riveira 14, Raymond 9, Barber, Jones 2, Agee 2, Powers 3. 

Squalicum: Murphy-Kangas 3, Richardson 8, Khosa, Stewart 7, Heaton 21, Binning 7, McEachran 13, Goering 4, Pethick, Paz.


Play-in games

Wednesday, Feb. 8

#7 Lakewood 63, #10 Sedro-Woolley 20 (loser out)

#9 Cedarcrest 42, #8 Bellingham 29 (loser out)

First round

Friday, Feb. 10

#2 Burlington-Edison 80, Lakewood 37

#3 Sehome 50, #6 Squalicum 38

#5 Archbishop Murphy 57, #4 Anacortes 47

#1 Lynden 71, Cedarcrest 19

Monday, Feb. 13

Consolation games

Squalicum 65, Lakewood 32 (loser out)

Anacortes 52, Cedarcrest 25 (loser out)


At Mount Vernon

Burlington-Edison 56, Sehome 46

Lynden 52, Archbishop Murphy 42

Consolation games

Wednesday, Feb. 15

At Mount Vernon

Squalicum (11-11) vs. Archbishop Murphy (12-10), 5:30 p.m. (loser out)

Sehome (16-5) vs. Anacortes (12-9), 7:15 p.m. (loser out)

Friday, Feb. 17

At Mount Vernon

Consolation final

Consolation winners, 5:30 p.m. (winner third, to state regionals, loser out)

Championship game

Lynden (19-4) vs. Burlington-Edison (17-5), 7:15 p.m. (winner first, loser second, both to state regionals)

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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