Girls Preview: Old Favorites, New Faces Ready To Go

Whatcom County boys and girls basketball teams are tipping off the 2021-22 season, and Whatcom Hoops wants to prepare our fans to watch their favorite teams … and all the teams.

Here’s a look at our 11 girls teams almost half of which have new head coaches. For the boys preview, check out Whatcom Hoops boys preview. 

Bellingham senior guard Mazy Wright

Bellingham Bayhawks

Coach: James Wolverton

Last season: 6-7

Top returnees: Mazy Wright (Sr.), Kaycee French (Sr.), Ellie Wolverton (Jr.), Genevieve Blum (So.)

Top newcomers: Harmony Smith (Jr.), Katie Knies (Fr.), Malia Hanks (Fr.)

Outlook: Having graduated all-Whatcom Hoops standouts Alexa Mee and Adi McKay, Bellingham will have a young squad. The leader will be four-year starting point guard Mazy Wright. Look for the Bayhawks to be competitive, play hard every game, and continually improve as the season goes along.

Coach’s quote: “This is an amazing group of young women who will be called on to build a foundation for future Bayhawks teams.”

Blaine senior forward Hailey Pike

Blaine Borderites

Coach: Ryan Pike

Last season: 5-8

Top returnees: Hailey Pike (Sr.), Krystin Kamrath (Sr.)

Top newcomers: Alia Ball (So.), Deja Dube (So.), Jordyn Vezzetti (So.)

Outlook: Blaine again will be one of the youngest squads in the NWC and will depend on a talented sophomore class that saw a lot of action as freshmen. Pike and Kamrath, both named all-Whatcom Hoops last season, will provide senior leadership and the foundation for the youngsters as the Borderites look to make an impact at the 1A level.

Coach’s quote: “It will be fun working with the same group for another year and seeing the progression to being more competitive. If we come out on top that game, great. If not, as long as we have competed and had great sportsmanship, we will be happy with the outcome. If we have great effort and great attitude every day, we will have a successful season.”

Ferndale senior guard Hannah Barlean

Ferndale Golden Eagles

Coach: Terri Yost

Last season: 5-6

Top returnees: Kaelee Bungard (Sr.), Hannah Barlean (Sr.), Ellie Ochoa (Jr.), Madisyn Butenschoen (So.), Cailyn Kessen (So.)

Top newcomers: Tatum Fox (Jr.), Melissa Blanke (Jr.), Ashley Lang (Jr.), Tia Gildan (So.), Maleah Singson (So.), Mallory Butenschoen (So.)

Outlook: Ferndale will be led by its returning starters — all-Whatcom Hoops standout Bungaard, Barlean, and Ochoa — but the Golden Eagles’ success will depend on their deep and athletic junior and sophomore classes.

Coach’s quote: “We are excited to be back in the gym together. This is an amazing group of athletes who push themselves and each other every day to get better. We have a lot of new talent this season, and we will rely on our seniors to lead us.”

Lummi Nation junior guard Raven Solomon

Lummi Nation Blackhawks

Coach: Krista Jefferson

Last season: 5-6

Top returnees: Aleisha Solomon (Jr.), Raven Solomon (Jr.), Hazel Haley (So.), Keyonee Morris (So.), Serenajo Pantalia (So.)

Top newcomers: Louella Toby (So.), Anika Sanchez (Jr.), Graciela Kapuina-Lopez (Fr.), Ashley Solomon (Sr.), Lena Williams (So.), Aubrey James (Sr.)

Outlook: All-Whatcom Hoops forward Raven Solomon and first cousin Aleisha Solomon, who have played together on the varsity since eighth grade, give Lummi Nation state experience and talent on both ends of the floor. But this group of Blackhawks will be young — the other varsity returnees are only sophomores — and inexperienced with more than half the team new to the varsity level.

Coach’s quote: “I’m looking forward to being in the gym with these girls every day.”

Lynden junior guard Adia Newcomb

Lynden Lions

Coach: Vic Wolffis

Last season: 8-6

Top returnees: Adia Newcomb (Jr.), Chloe Wittenberg (Jr.), Haylee Koetje (So.)

Top newcomers: Claire DeVries (Sr.), Ella Selcho (Jr.), Mya VanderYacht (So.), Mallary Villars (So.), Naomi Stanley (So.)

Outlook: With only Newcomb returning from the 2020 state championship team, this group will have an opportunity to write its own chapter in Lions history. A season-ending injury to Kalanie Newcomb, one of the league’s top freshmen last season and the graduation of its tallest players will be challenges for Lynden. Nothing will come easy in the NWC, and the Lions will have to use their speed, quickness and agility to continue their stay in the top tier of the league.

Coach’s quote: “Handling the pressures that varsity competition brings in the Northwest League will be challenge No.1 for this year’s Lions. To meet that challenge, we will rely on the experience and leadership Adia Newcomb, Haylee Koetje, and Chloe Wittenberg bring.”

Lynden Christian senior forward Alli VanKooten

Lynden Christian Lyncs

Coach: Brady Bomber

Last season: 12-0

Top returnees: Libby Stump (Sr.), Alli VanKooten (Sr.), Charley Dykstra (Sr.), Alexa Kaptein (Sr.), Demi Dykstra (Jr.),

Top newcomers: Reganne Arnold (Jr.), Katrin Fay (Jr.), Alexie Hagen (Jr.), Taryn Herwerden (Jr.), Daisy Poag (Jr.), Grace Hintz (Fr.)

Outlook: LC’s talented Class of 2021 missed out on a chance to repeat as Class 1A state champions and reach the state title game for the fourth year in a row because of COVID. Now it’s time for the Lyncs to rebuild or, in their case, reload behind all-Whatcom Hoops first-team guard Stump, several experienced seniors and a talented junior class looking for its chance to reach Yakima.

Coach’s quote: “We are excited for this group of girls and the opportunity we have to play this season. We hope to enjoy each day and strive to be the best we can be.”

Meridian senior forward Ellie DeWaard

Meridian Trojans

Coach: Bree Park

Last season: 9-5

Top returnees: Skyleigh James (Sr.), Ellie De Waard (Sr.), Kadance Blankers (Sr.), Maris Baklund (Jr.), Avery Neal (Jr.)

Top newcomers: Brooklyn Fuller (Fr.), Allie Richter (So.)

Outlook: Meridian returns a solid group of determined veterans, many of whom were part of the Trojans’ incredible playoff run two years ago and part of this fall’s volleyball state team. With James inside and a swarm of athletic guards, Meridian’s starters can line up with any team. 

 Coach’s quote: “This team does not show up to just go through the motions. We come to practice every day and compete. So whatever we may lack in height, we definitely make up for in heart. Do not count this Meridian team out because we believe that not one player is bigger than this team and that is one dangerous mindset.”

Mount Baker senior forward Taite Reardon

Mount Baker Mounties

Coach: Tiffany Ramirez

Last season: 4-9

Top returnees: Taite Reardon (Sr.), Madison Barter (Jr.), Lauren Valum (So.)

Top newcomers: Jasmine Jefferson (Jr.), Nika Canete (Fr.)

Outlook: Mount Baker will be young and fairly inexperienced with only five varsity returnees. That will leave new underclassmen to fill the remaining seven spots. Having school canceled because of the flooding hasn’t helped. But all-Whatcom Hoops first-team guard Barter and veteran Reardon will bring the leadership the youngsters need.

Coach’s quote: “We are prepared to faces the challenges this season brings and grow from them. Thus far, we have bought in and worked hard to prepare for the season.”

Nooksack Valley senior guard Tehya Moore

Nooksack Valley Pioneers

Coach: Shane Wichers

Last season: 12-1

Top returnees: McKenna Wichers (Sr.), Tehya Moore (Sr.), Ellie VanBerkum (Sr.), Hallie Kamphouse (Jr.), Renae Hoekema (Sr.), Taylor Lentz (Jr.), Devin Coppinger (So.), Lainey Kimball (So.)

Top newcomers: Tana Hoekema (So.), Ella Perry (Jr.)

Outlook: Nooksack Valley lost only to top-ranked Lynden Christian last spring and is experienced with eight returnees, talented with all-Whatcom Hoops first-teamers Coppinger and Kamphouse leading the way, and deep both inside and outside. Expect the Pioneers to build off last season and to be among the Class 1A favorites come March.

Coach’s quote: “I’m excited to get back on the court and pick up where we left off last spring while incorporating some new faces.”

Sehome senior guard Maddie Schumacher

Sehome Mariners

Coach: Anye Turner

Last season: 6-5

Top returnees: Maddie Schumacher (Sr.), Ava Lunny (Sr.), Mac Cooper (Jr.), Madi Cooper (So.)

Top newcomers: Maya Sargent (Jr.), Natalie Brewer (So.)

Outlook: All-Whatcom Hoops standouts Schumacher and Lunny give the Mariners experience, but the Mariners will be young and not as tall as they’ve been the past couple of years. Hard work in the summer and fall should make the youngsters ready to contribute on the varsity.

Coach’s quote: “Our toughness and defense will be a factor in how many wins/losses we’ll have. How we trust, support, and work together will be the biggest determinant in how successful we are.”

Squalicum junior guard Callie McEachran

Squalicum Storm

Coach: Ray Ootsey

Last season: 4-8

Top returnees: Mari Binning (So.), Callie McEachran (Jr.), Makayla Heaton (So.)

Top newcomers: Kylie Blackwell (Jr.), Shelby Smithson (Jr.), Caitlyn Richardson (So.), Corinthian Sykes-Stewart  (So.)

Outlook: All-Whatcom Hoops standouts Binning and McEachran return after breakout seasons last spring and with Heaton they give the young Storm a firm foundation. With the move down to Class 2A, the Storm will look to compete when the playoffs roll around.

Coach’s quote: “This group is excited to compete especially with all that everyone has had to endure last year and to start this season. In terms of working to overcome the obstacles the community has faced, our athletes continue to show resilience and determination.”

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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