The Best of the Best #6 (tie): 2012
Whatcom County high schools have produced some amazing basketball seasons, but of those 100-plus years of state championship seasons and all the other great successes at state tournaments, which years were the best for the county as a whole?
Well, we at www.whatcomhoops.com came up with our top 12 greatest years of boys basketball. Why 12? Because a top 10 just wasn’t enough.
Before you start arguing with our picks, remember that any time you pick the “best” or “greatest” you have to be somewhat subjective. That is really true when looking at seasons that span more than a century of changes.
For example, from the first state tournament in 1923 until 1957, our county’s schools, both big and small, almost always competed in the one “big” state tournament that included all the big-city teams. It may be no coincidence that we had to wait until the new Class A tournament for smaller schools was formed in 1958 for our first state title.
Then there’s the fact that we have more schools now — 12 — than we had for most of the past 100 years, and they are competing in four different classifications (3A, 2A, 1A and 1B). So it’s easier for more teams in the 21st century to qualify and place at state than it was in the 20th century.
Finally, this is not meant to rank the greatest teams or even best tournaments, which would be completely subjective (and maybe we’ll do that sometime in the future).
Our goal was to rank the county’s best years by looking at all the county teams’ accomplishments, particularly their state finishes. The only accomplishment we required to be eligible for the top 10 was that at least one county team had to have won a state championship that year.
And now, let’s count down the top 12 years for Whatcom County boys basketball:
In a repeat of 1999, the county had four teams qualify for state and came away with two state titles. Lynden took the 2A championship and Lynden Christian won the 1A crown. Dak Shagren led a hot-shooting group of junior Lions on a rampage that ended with a 21-point rout of White River in the 2A championship game. All-state center Isaac Reimer and the Lyncs survived two last-second state victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals before a surprisingly easy 12-point win over Zillah in the finals. The other state qualifiers were Squalicum, which in the previous three years had won two 2A state titles and placed second, and Lummi Nation in the 1B tournament, but neither the Storm nor the Blackhawks earned trophies that season.
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.