Girls: Whatcom Hoops Midseason Report Cards

Happy New Year! Believe it or not, we just wrapped up Week 5, which means we’re halfway through the girls basketball regular season.

So instead of our weekly Whatcom Hoops recap, we’re going to look at each team and where they stand at the halfway point of their season. (And if you want to check on how your teams did in holiday tournaments last week, check out each day’s roundup at Whatcom Hoops roundups.)

Like we did last year, we’ve come up with midseason report cards for each team using the following elementary school grading system:

Outstanding: Teams that have reached their high goals so far this season or that have done better than expected.

Satisfactory: Teams that are about where they were expected to be after the first half of the season and have a chance to do even better.

Needs improvement: Teams that will need to up their game in the second half of the season to reach their preseason goals.

Incomplete: Teams that are difficult to judge because of early-season scheduling, injuries, and other circumstances. 

For a look at the midseason report cards for our county boys teams, check out Whatcom Hoops boys midseason grades.

Here’s where our girls teams stand after Week 5 (Dec. 26-30):



Overall record: 10–1

Northwest Conference record: 6-0, tied for first place

Week 5 results: Defeated Seattle Prep, 51-29, and Mead, 47-30, and lost to Lake City (Idaho), 55-48, in the Top of the Peak Tournament

Why outstanding: When it takes the second-ranked team in an entire state (in this case Idaho) to beat you, you know the Pioneers are doing something right. The defending Class 1A state champions have it all — talent, experience, confidence, and depth — and so far have outclassed everyone else they’ve played including 3A Mead and 2A Lynden, both of which are top-ranked in their classifications. Only injuries or catastrophe will keep the Valley from being the favorite come March in Yakima.


Overall record: 11-1

NWC record: 5-1, fourth place

Week 5 results: Defeated White River, 58-47; Prosser, 64-35; and Snohomish, 52-38, to win the Lynden Christmas Classic

Why outstanding: It’s not surprising that Lynden has risen to No.1 in the 2A RPI rankings. After all, like Nooksack Valley, the Lions have all the pieces — size, speed, shooting, defense, and depth. What’s shocking is how quickly the pieces have come together as witnessed by the total annihilation of previously unbeaten Prosser on Friday. And while there are some outstanding 2A teams (starting with two-time defending state champion Ellensburg and its 60-game winning streak), no one will want to be playing the Lions in March.



Overall record: 7-4

NWC record: 5-0, tied for first place

Week 5 results: Lost to Holy Names Academy, 48-37, on Thursday (Mallory Butenschoen 11 points, Jillea Fox 8, Naomi Stanley 7)

Why satisfactory: The Golden Eagles have certainly benefitted from a schedule that is back-loaded with all the powerhouse teams, but you can’t get any better than being unbeaten in league play and tied for first. If the Ferndale youngsters continue to improve and the Golden Eagles prove they can stand up to the best of the NWC (Nooksack, Lynden, Burlington), then they’ll be ready to take on the best of the 3A Western Conference in the playoffs.


Overall record: 7-4

NWC record: 4-1, tied for fifth place

Week 5 results: Defeated Inglemoor, 42-30; lost to Snohomish, 52-38; and defeated Prosser, 48-42, in the Lynden Christmas Classic

Why satisfactory: Even when LC is in a rebuilding year, it doesn’t seem to matter — the Lyncs still reach the 1A state finals, which they’ve done six of the past seven tournaments. But this year is different. They only have one senior, no returning starters, and lost an all-state player to injury. Yet while the young squad has suffered through some tough losses, they’ve also notched some big wins. So as they keep improving, expect the Lyncs to be dangerous come playoff time — again.


Overall record: 5-5

NWC record: 4-1, tied for fifth place

Week 5 results: Lost to Mountainside (Ore.), 54-40; Wells (Ore.), 43-38; and Sunset (Ore.), 56-38, in the Holiday Classic

Why satisfactory: The senior-laden Mariners have taken care of business so far with solid wins over middle-of-the-pack teams. But a 21-point loss to Burlington-Edison is a reminder of how tough and physical the 2A district will be. Sehome will be one of the contenders for sure, but they’ll need to get hot from outside to upset one or two of the favorites if they hope to return to the state tournament.


Overall record: 5-5

Northwest 1B League record: 4-0, second place

Week 5 results: Lost to Mount Vernon Christian, 59-25; Forks, 57-29; and Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), 52-21, at the Mount Vernon Christian Holiday Tournament

Why satisfactory: While their record looks average, the Lady Blackhawks’ losses have either been to top-10 1B teams or much bigger schools. And when it comes to league play, they’ve demolished every opponent so far. The hope is that the tough non-league schedule will prepare Lummi Nation for the playoffs, where the Blackhawks could see four of the state’s top 1B squads in the tri-district tournament that will determine who goes to Spokane.



Overall record: 5-5

NWC record: 0-4, 14th place

Week 5 results: Defeated Bellevue Christian, 48-43; Blaine, 55-33; and Stanwood, 43-38, to win the Trojan Storm Winter Classic

Why needs improvement: A league schedule front-loaded with good teams has the Storm at the bottom of the NWC standings … for now. But with a slew of freshmen and sophomores and a core of upperclassmen, the Storm is improving with every game as shown in three impressive wins over the break. Yet if they are to break through at the 2A district tournament, they’ll have to improve even more to prove they can play with the state contenders.


Overall record: 5-5

NWC record: 1-4, tied for 10th place

Week 5 results: Defeated Overlake, 47-42; lost to Squalicum, 55-33; and defeated Friday Harbor, 50-26, at the Trojan Storm Classic

Why needs improvement: It would be easy to call the Borderites’ season satisfactory, since they’ve beaten teams they should beat and lost to favored squads. But with a senior class that has been playing on varsity for four years, Blaine is no longer satisfied with morale victories. If there’s a chance to have playoff success, this is the year … and to take that step the Borderites will need to show they can produce an upset victory or two.


Overall record: 3-6

NWC record: 1-4, tied for 10th place

Week 5 results: Lost to Stanwood, 33-22; defeated Overlake, 46-16; and lost to Bellevue Christian, 54-33, at the Trojan Storm Winter Classic

Why needs improvement: The Trojans are another team that had to deal with a difficult early schedule with five of their losses coming to 2A or 3A teams. Even so, Meridian still has been in many of its games and with its solid defense always has a chance for an upset. Unfortunately, no one knows better than the Trojans how hard it is to break up the Big Two (Nooksack and LC) and advance to the state tournament and Meridian will have to knock off one of them to get to Yakima. 


Overall record: 3-7

NWC record: 0-5, 15th place

Week 5 results: The Mounties were off during the Christmas break.

Why needs improvement: With a three-game winning streak to start the season, the Mounties showed they were an improved team. But the NWC is not kind to young squads and it won’t get easier with the upcoming three-game stretch of Lynden Christian, Burlington, and Lynden. But this is indeed a better Baker squad that is building to the future.  


Overall record: 2-8

NWC record: 0-6, 16th place

Week 5 results: Lost to Marysville-Getchell, 33-28 (Malia Hanks 9 points, Merritt Jensen 8 points, Mark Lockhart 7 points)

Why needs improvement: If there’s an ongoing theme in the rough NWC, it’s that young teams better be ready to take their lumps especially this season. And the Bayhawks are the poster child for “young” with no seniors and only one junior. While they have taken their lumps, the expectations aren’t for Bellingham to make a deep playoff run but just that the team will enjoy the ride and improve enough to make its mark in the next couple of years. That’s something the youngsters can do.



It’s showdown time in the Northwest Conference and the Northwest 1B League. Nooksack Valley is at Lynden Christian on Friday in a rematch of the past two Class 1A state championship games. On Thursday, Lummi Nation travels to Tulalip Heritage with first place in the NW1B on the line.


Tuesday, Jan. 2: Meridian at Burlington-Edison, Squalicum at Mount Vernon

Wednesday, Jan. 3: Lynden Christian at Mount Baker, Oak Harbor at Sehome

Thursday, Jan. 4: Lynden at Bellingham, Blaine at Sedro-Woolley, Anacortes at Squalicum, Lummi Nation at Tulalip Heritage

Friday, Jan. 5: Ferndale at Oak Harbor, Sehome at Lakewood, Friday Harbor at Lummi Nation, Nooksack Valley at Lynden Christian

Saturday, Jan. 6: Mount Vernon at Meridian, Blaine at Squalicum, Burlington-Edison at Mount Baker

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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