Ready or not, it’s playoff time for all 22 of our Whatcom boys and girls teams as they begin district tournaments with the goal of reaching their respective state tournaments and getting a shot at the gold ball that is the state championship trophy.
Action starts this week with District 1 tournaments for our three largest classifications. The top finishers in each tourney will move on to the Class 1A, 2A, and 3A state regionals.
The 1B schools began their District 1 tournaments last week, and the Lummi Nation boys and girls already won their quarterfinal games on Saturday. The Blackhawks not only advance to the semifinals but Saturday’s wins guaranteed both top-four district spots, which qualifies them for the District 1/2/3 tournament.
State regionals for all classifications are Feb. 23 and 24 at local venues with the state tournaments in Spokane (1B), Yakima (1A and 2A), and Tacoma (3A) from Feb. 28 to March 2.
You can follow all the coverage at WhatcomHoops.com each day. Until then, here’s a look at each classification and how our teams fit in.
The District 1 boys and girls tournaments started last week with Lummi Nation and the rest of the Northwest 1B League joining the smaller schools from the Northwest 2B/1B League in 12-team playoffs.
On Saturday, the top-seeded Lummi Nation boys won their quarterfinal game against Shoreline Christian, 74-36. The second-seeded Lady Blackhawks also won their quarterfinal Saturday, beating Concrete, 78-28. The semifinals are Tuesday and the championship finals are Thursday.
The top five teams at district move on to their tri-district tourneys starting Saturday with play-in games. The top five placers in the tri-district tournaments qualify for the state regionals.
BOYS: With their Saturday win, the Blackhawks (17-1) advance to the district semifinals on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at home against Orcas Island. Lummi Nation is riding a 17-game winning streak and is the state’s top-ranked 1B team. Win or lose Tuesday, the Blackhawks are guaranteed a spot in the 12-team District 1/2/3 tournament.
GIRLS: Like the boys, the Lady Blackhawks (15-6) easily won the Northwest 1B League title and with Saturday’s win advance directly to the district semifinals where they will host Darrington on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Lummi Nation won their first meeting on Dec. 4, 52-26. The second-seeded Blackhawks also have clinched a spot in the District 1/2/3 tournament.
All 10 Whatcom teams automatically qualify for their District 1 tournaments, which are, in essence, league tournaments. The format is the same as last year with a play-in game between the fourth and fifth seeds and the winner advancing to the double-elimination portion of the tourney.
The championship games will be played Saturday afternoon and the consolation finals on Feb. 16.
But there is one important difference. The top two boys and girls teams do not have to play crossover games with District 2 squads this year and instead will advance straight to the state regionals.
BOYS: Two-time defending state champion Lynden Christian (19-2) and Nooksack Valley (11-10) earned the top two spots into Wednesday’s district semifinals. The top-seeded Lyncs will host the winner of Monday’s play-in game between Mount Baker (3-17) and Blaine (4-16), and the Pioneers will host third seed Meridian (11-10).
GIRLS: Top-ranked and defending champion Nooksack Valley (21-1) and Lynden Christian (16-4) are once again the top two seeds and looking to play for the state title for the third year in a row. Mount Baker (3-17) is at Meridian (5-15) in Monday’s play-in game with the winner taking on the host Pioneers in one semifinal on Wednesday and Blaine (10-10) traveling to Lynden Christian in the other semifinal.
All eight of our Whatcom teams are in the 10-team District 1 tournament, which opens Monday for the boys and Tuesday for the girls with two play-in games for seeds 7 through 10.
The two play-in winners in each tourney advance along with the top six seeds into the double-elimination portion starting with the quarterfinals on Wednesday for the boys and Thursday for the girls. The championship games are Feb. 14.
Unfortunately for local teams, District 1 only gets two state berths this year. That means the championship game loser will drop into the consolation final with the winner of that game getting the final state slot. The consolation finals will be played on Feb. 17 for both boys and girls.
BOYS: Seventh-seeded Squalicum (9-11) will host 10th seed Archbishop Murphy on Monday at 5 p.m. in a loser-out. Should the Storm win, it would play at second seed Cedarcrest on Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the other loser-out game Monday, Sedro-Woolley is at Burlington-Edison.
In the other quarterfinal games on Wednesday, top-seeded Lynden will host the Sedro-Burlington winner, fifth seed Bellingham is at fourth-seeded Lakewood, and sixth seed Sehome is at third-seeded Anacortes. All games are at 7 p.m.
GIRLS: Tenth-seeded Bellingham (3-16) opens the tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a loser-out game at seventh-seeded Lakewood (8-9) with the winner traveling to Everett to face the second seed Archbishop Murphy (16-4) in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday. In the other loser-out contest, Sedro-Woolley is at Cedarcrest.
In Thursday’s other quarterfinals, fifth seed Squalicum (14-7) is at fourth seed Sehome (11-9), the Sedro-Cedarcrest winner is at top seed Lynden (20-1), and sixth-seeded Anacortes (10-10)is at third-seeded Burlington-Edison. All the games are at 7 p.m.
The top 10 teams from the Western Conference (Wesco) and top two from our Northwest Conference qualify for the District 1 tournaments.
The top four seeds move directly into the quarterfinals and the other eight play loser-out rounds on Wednesday (boys) and Thursday (girls). From there it is double elimination with the top four teams advancing to the state regionals.
BOYS: Ferndale (7-13) is back in the playoffs after missing last year and as the 11th seed will play at seventh-seeded Marysville-Getchell (15-5) on Wednesday in a loser-out game at 7 p.m. The winner will hit the road to take on third-seeded Arlington (15-6) on Friday at 7 p.m.
GIRLS: Ferndale (11-9) is seeded sixth and will host 10th-seeded Monroe (10-10) in the loser-out game on Thursday at 7 p.m. Should the Golden Eagles win, they would play at third-seeded Snohomish (14-5) on Saturday.