Boys District: Blaine One Step From State; Lummi On Its Way

The Blaine boys basketball team capped a difficult day with an emotional 58-37 victory over Nooksack Valley in the Class 1A District 1 consolation final on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

It was emotional for several reasons, not the least of which was that the Borderites moved to within one step of their goal of reaching the state tournament while the Pioneers saw their season come to an end.

By placing second in the district tournament, Blaine will join District 1 champion Lynden Christian in playing in the District 1/2 crossover round on Saturday. The winners of those two games advance to the state regionals.

Lummi Nation boys didn’t need that extra step. On Tuesday, the Blackhawks defeated Orcas Island in the Class 1B District 1/2/3 tournament, 63-51, to become the third Whatcom County team to qualify for state. The Lynden and Sehome boys qualified with victories on Monday.

Here’s what happened Tuesday night:

1A: Blaine Tops Nooksack In Emotional Contest

The Blaine boys weren’t just playing for a spot in the District 1/2 crossover round that will determine who goes to state. The Borderites were playing for their head coach, Brett Farrar assistant coach Jessy Farrar, who found out Tuesday that their father had passed away from cancer earlier that morning.

“I’m emotionally spent,” said Brett Farrar after taking time to hug his mother and their family. “It hit me pretty hard. He was the rock of our family. He was my friend, my confidant. Ultimately, he’s not suffering any more. He’s where he’s wanted to be. That’s what he’s preached all his life.”

The Borderites got another emotional lift with the return of injured senior Jaxon Kortlever, who had been starting before he suffered a bruised knee three weeks ago. Despite not practicing all that time and coming off the bench for just a few minutes at a time, his defense and hustle sparked the Borderites.

“We were playing for Brett and playing for his Dad,” said Kortlever, whose only basket of the game drew the loudest cheer from his teammates. “We wanted to put everything out there, to give it everything we had.”

Blaine, which improved to 13-6, did that right from the start, jumping out to a 12-0 lead and holding the Pioneers to two first-quarter points.

With balanced scoring from senior Scott Baldwin (13 points), seniors Cole Thomas and Avery Dohner (11 each), and juniors Matthew Russ (9) and Carson Lehnert (6), the veteran Borderites held off Noosack Valley the rest of the way.

“Our kids showed up,” said Brett Farrar. “It was a unique situation in a lot of ways — a loser-out game, here at Nooksack (even though Blaine was the home team by virtue of seeding), one team going on and one team packing up their uniforms.”

The game was emotional for Nooksack Valley as well, and despite facing the early deficit, having their only senior — Dawson Kimball — go down with a sprained ankle a minute into the second quarter, and having their leading scorer Bennett DeLange in foul trouble the entire second half, the Pioneers didn’t pack it in. 

Behind sophomore Joey Brown’s outside shooting, Nooksack cut the margin to four just before halftime but Baldwin and Dohner hit two free throws each to build the lead back to eight at the break.

Then when Brown hit two more 3s and Nooksack Valley threatened to cut the margin to single digits, Baldwin hit two more free throws to end the third quarter and end the Pioneers’ threat.

“Blaine is really good and they were playing with extra emotion,” said Nooksack Valley coach Rich Skillman, who se team finished thee year 6-12. “They’re a group of seniors who’ve played together and they’re hungry.”

But even with the sadness of having his team’s season end, Skillman could see a bright future. The Pioneers started three freshman and only have three upperclassmen on the roster. Brown finished with a team-high 14 points and four 3-pointers, and DeLange, a junior, had 12 points, including a pair of 3s.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” said Skillman. “They filled the stands again. To win six games and do that, it tells you a lot. They won’t quit.”

Blaine will play the fourth-place finisher from the Emerald Sound tournament — the loser of Wednesday’s Overlake-Cedar Park Christian game — for the right to go to the state regionals.

Lynden Christian will play the fifth-place finisher from the Emerald Sound tournament — the winner of Wednesday’s Bear Creek-Sultan game — for the right to go to the state regionals.

Blaine 58, Nooksack Valley 37

Nooksack Valley            2       16         6       13—37

Blaine                           14       10       13       21—58

Nooksack Valley: Caden Heutink 4, Bennett DeLange 12, Cory Olney, Jorgen Viger 3, Colton Lentz, Wayne Silves, Dawson Kimball, Tristan Kamphouse, Joey Brown 14, Brady Ackerman 4, John Stremler, Dalton Hickey.

Blaine: Lucas Smith 4, Lawrence Creasey Pulphus, Matthew Russ 9, Jaxon Kortlever 2, Cole Thomas 11, Scott Baldwin 13, Avery Dohner 11, Anden Holley, Alex Censale, Carson Lehnert 6, Noah Tavis 2.


Tuesday, Feb. 8

#4 Meridian 66 #5 Mount Baker 46 (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 10

#3 Nooksack Valley 58, Meridian 36 (loser out)

Friday, Feb. 11

Championship game

#1 Lynden Christian 86, #2 Blaine 57 (winner first, to bi-district playoff)

Tuesday, Feb. 15

Consolation final

Blaine 58, Nooksack Valley 37  (winner second, to bi-district playoff, loser out)


At King’s High School

Saturday, Feb. 19

Lynden Christian vs. District 2 #5, 4 p.m. (winner to state regionals, loser out)

Blaine vs. District 2 #4, 6 p.m. (winner to state regionals, loser out)


Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday-Saturday, March 2-5

1B: Lummi Nation Rallies To Beat Orcas Island

After the Blackhawks beat Orcas Island by 45 during the regular season and by 40 a week ago in the district tournament, nobody probably expected their District 1/2/3 quarterfinals matchup to be close. Except this game had a state berth on the line.

“Credit them for coming to play tonight,” said Lummi Nation coach Jerome Toby. “Our boys had to gut out the win tonight.”

The Blackhawks trailed 45-42 to start the fourth quarter, but senior star Tyran Lane scored eight points and sophomore Tobias Francis had seven points as Lummi Nation put together a 21-point final quarter to pull away at the end.

Lane finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Francis had 10 points. The unexpected hero was little eighth-grader Jerome Toby, who had a game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers, and 10 steals. Older brother Duncan Toby had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals.

It was the Blackhawks’ 14th straight victory against just one loss, and marked the 10th time Lummi Nation has gone to the state tournament in the past 14 seasons.

The Blackhawks will play Northwest Yeshiva (14-2) in the tri-district semifinals on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. Evergreen Lutheran High School in Tacoma.

Orcas Island (9-8) will need to win its consolation game on Thursday to be one of the six teams from the tri-district to qualify for state.

Lummi  Nation 63, Orcas Island 51

Orcas Island                9        19        17          6—51 

Lummi Nation          13        16        13        21—63

Orcas Island: Sam Sutton 3, Matthew Eggenberg 5, Andrew Garcia, Diego Lago 22, Romero Lago 3, Jefferson Freeman 1, Paxton White 6, Aidan Murray 11.

Lummi Nation: Jerome Toby 21, Tobias Francis 10, Duncan Toby 11, Adam Bello, Richard Wilson 2, Tony Abrams 4, Tyran Lane 15, Peyton Brockie. 


Saturday, Feb. 12

Play-in games

#6 Puget Sound Adventist 64, #11 Crescent 30 (loser out)

#7 Orcas Island 61, #10 Muckleshoot Tribal 34 (loser out)

#5 Neah Bay 65, #12 Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood) 25 (loser out)

#8 Grace Academy 53, #9 Sound Christian Academy 35 (loser out)

Tuesday, Feb. 15

First round

#3 Northwest Yeshiva 63, Puget Sound Adventist 51

#2 Lummi Nation 63, Orcas Island 51

#4 Mount Vernon Christian 58, Neah Bay 33

#1 Crosspoint 60, Grace Academy 42

Thursday, Feb. 17

Consolation round

Orcas Island vs. Puget Sound Adventist (loser out)

Grace Academy vs. Neah Bay (loser out)


Lummi Nation vs. Northwest Yeshiva

Crosspoint vs. Mount Vernon Christian

Saturday, Feb. 19

Consolation games

Consolation winners (winner fifth, loser sixth, both to state regionals)

Semifinal losers (winner third, loser fourth, both to state regionals)

Championship game

Semifinal winners (winner first, loser second, both to state regionals)


Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26


At Spokane Arena

Wednesday-Saturday, March 2-5

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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