NOTE: The playoff schedules will be updated whenever new information is reported. Keep visiting www.whatcomhoops.com for the latest news.
In a historic change, school officials have completely revamped the traditional Class 1A District 1 boys and girls tournaments because of the dangerous winter conditions the past two days, basically doing away with the first-round games.
The Meridian, Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley boys and girls teams will open play on Wednesday but against different opponents than who they were originally scheduled to play on Monday.
The changes were necessary to compress the six-day tournaments into four days so teams could advance to the bi-district tournament as scheduled next week.
The 1B District 1 girls contest between Lummi Nation and Lopez, originally scheduled for Tuesday, also was postponed to Wednesday.
It will be played at Lummi at 3 p.m. and will decide third and fourth places. Both Lummi (9-5) and Lopez (10-7) already have qualified for the District 1/2/3 tournament, which starts Saturday.
The weather also is affected the 2A and 3A District 1 boys and girls tournaments, which are scheduled to start Wednesday and Thursday.
With the Western Conference (Wesco) schools unable to complete their regular-season schedules this week, officials of the Northwest Conference, Kingco and Wesco will have to decide how seeding and scheduling will work.
The only local playoff team not affected by the weather (at least not yet) is the Lummi Nation boys squad. The Blackhawks (21-1) won the 1B District 1 championship Saturday night to earn a first-round bye in the tri-district tournament and will play at home for a state berth next Tuesday, Feb. 12.
1A Boys, Girls Jump Into Second Round
The easiest way to figure out the new 1A district tournaments is just to assume all the higher seeds won their first-round games and move everybody into Wednesday’s second round.
“It is the best case scenario in a not-so-good situation,” said LC boys coach Roger DeBoer. “It’s almost like we played the first-round games and are preparing for the second round. In some ways, it has the same feel.”
For the girls, the Northwest Conference’s top-seed, Meridian (16-4), will host North Sound League runner-up Cedar Park Christian of Bothell (12-6) in one semifinal at 7 p.m.
NWC runner-up Lynden Christian (17-3) will travel to Seattle to face North Sound champ King’s (16-4) in the other semifinal at 7:45 p.m.
In the boys semifinals, NWC champion Lynden Christian (20-0) will host Cedar Park Christian (11-9) at 7 p.m., and NWC No.2 Meridian (8-12) visits King’s (16-4) at 6 p.m.
The teams that got the worst deal are the Nooksack Valley boys and girls squads, who came in as the NWC No.3 teams. Even though they both had good chances for first-round victories, they were bumped into the consolation bracket by the new format.
“We don’t have a chance to play for the district championship, and that’s disappointing,” said Nooksack girls coach Shane Wichers. But noting that there were other possible scenarios that might have eliminated all but the top two seeds, he added, “But we’re glad we get to play, and can get to the next round.”
If there is a silver lining, it’s that the Pioneers will host both games against North Sound No.4 teams. The Nooksack boys (7-13) play Sultan (6-14) at 6 p.m. and the Nooksack girls (13-7) play Granite Falls (6-14) at 7:45 p.m. in loser-out games.
The consolation winners will go on the road to take on the semifinal losers — the boys on Thursday and the girls on Friday, both at 7 p.m. — in more loser-out games. The winners of those games qualify for the bi-district tournaments and play for third place on Saturday.
The semifinal winners will play for the district championship at Mount Vernon High School on Saturday — the boys at 5:30 p.m. and the girls at 7:30 p.m. The district champions earn automatic berths into the state tournaments.
All weather permitting … of course.
2A Boys Start Wednesday, Girls On Thursday
The 2A District 1 boys tournament is scheduled to open Wednesday and the girls on Thursday at the home courts of the higher seeds. All the first-round games are loser-out contests and start at 7 p.m.
In the boys tournament’s first round, sixth-seed Sehome (13-7) will host 11th-seed Sedro-Woolley (8-12), and 12th-seed Blaine (8-12) will be at fifth-seed Burlington-Edison (15-5).
Bellingham (8-12) currently is the eighth seed and will open on the road, but its final seeding and opponent have yet to be decided.
In the girls tournament, Bellingham (8-12), Blaine (6-14) and Sehome (7-13) have earned spots in the first round.
Blaine, the 11th seed, is scheduled to travel to Bellevue to play sixth-seed Sammamish of Bellevue (11-10). The Totems play in the 2A/3A Kingco Conference, which is finished with its its regular season.
Sehome, the 12th and last seed, is heading to Renton to play fifth-seed Liberty (9-11), another Kingco team.
Bellingham currently is sitting in the ninth spot, which would mean an opening-round trip to eighth-seed Sedro-Woolley (11-9) on Thursday, but that could still change. The Red Raiders, however, will definitely be on the road.
One thing for certain is that the Lynden boys and girls, by being in the top four seeds, will have first-round byes and will host second-round games.
The second-seeded Lynden girls (17-3) and the top-seeded Lynden boys (19-1) are scheduled to play Saturday at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively. Their opponents will be first-round winners.
3A Squalicum Boys, Ferndale Girls Await Opponents
The Squalicum boys and Ferndale girls are headed for their District 1 tournaments, which bring together the top 3A teams from the Northwest Conference and Wesco.
Squalicum (8-12) won its final four games to earn the district’s 10th and final berth and will play a “play-in” game at the yet-to-be-determined eighth seed on Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner advances into the double-elimination tournament, which starts Saturday. The loser’s season is over.
Ferndale (14-6) currently is the sixth seed, which would mean avoiding the loser-out play-in game and opening on the road against the third-seed on Friday. But, again, seeding and opponent have yet to be finalized.
(For full schedules and brackets, visit nwcathletics.com and nwbathletics.com.)
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.