Holiday Tourneys: Meridian, Nooksack Girls Notch Big Wins

The Meridian Holiday Tournament and the Lynden Christmas Classic managed to get in a second day of action before the snows hit — and more teams canceled — with the Meridian and Nooksack Valley girls wrapping up their holiday week with impressive victories on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

The Trojans put the clamps on Lincoln of Seattle, 61-13, to complete the two-game sweep in their own tournament. The Pioneers once again filled in ably in Lynden Christian’s tournament by shutting down Mount Si, 63-48.

The host Lyncs couldn’t quite pull off the major upset on Wednesday, falling to top-ranked Tumwater in their own tournament.

“These are always fun,” said Meridian junior Avery Neal of the holiday events. “With COVID you never know when you’ll play your last game. So it’s fun just playing with your teammates. I love it.”

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s tournament action:

Meridian 61, Lincoln (Seattle) 13

It’s hard to top what the Trojans did on Tuesday, limiting Bellevue Christian to five first-half points and only 12 through three quarters. But obviously nobody told the Trojans, who raised their record to 7-2.

Meridian held the Class 3A Lynx (3-6) to only six points — yes, six points — in the final three quarters and shut out Lincoln in the fourth period.

“We played incredible defense,” said Meridian coach Bree Park. “And not just the first person, but all the way down the line. We’re still working on some things, so we’re going to get better.”

They couldn’t have gotten much better on Wednesday. With seniors Skyleigh James and Ellie DeWaard dominating in the paint, and Neal leading the quick-handed guards, the Trojans only gave up one field goal in each of the first three quarters. That’s three for the game.

Meridian’s big three also led the Trojans in scoring with James putting in 21 points, DeWaard having a dozen, and Neal adding 10.

But once again it was the reserves who were the big news. In addition to playing stingy defense, sophomore Allie Richter scored 7 points including a 3-pointer, sophomore Morgan Adams hit a pair of 3s, and freshman Sofia Brooks canned a 3-pointer.

But if they were giving out a game ball, it might go to someone who only scored two points. Brooklyn Fuller, only a freshman and the smallest player on the court at 5-foot-3, was a fill-in starter at point guard when senior Kadance Blankers was forced to miss the game.

Fuller not only ran the offense effectively but her in-your-face defense was a pain to the Lynx backcourt.

“I love it when our bench steps up,” said Neal, one of the team’s co-captains. “They are filling in when they need to.”

In an earlier tournament game on Wednesday, Bellevue Christian defeated another late fill-in, Mount Vernon, 47-38. But the best game of the Meridian tourney had to be the warm-up Wednesday when the Trojans’ JV squad scored in the last 10 seconds to defeat the Lincoln JV, 35-34.

Nooksack Valley 63, Mount Si 48

In a near-repeat of Lynden Christian’s victory over the Wildcats, the Pioneers shut down the Class 4A team (4-3). Before taking on the two Class 1A powers this week, Mount Si’s only loss was to undefeated Class 4A Eastlake.

“We really focused playing better defense tonight,” said Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers, whose team raised its record to 6-2.

Sophomore Devin Coppinger led Nooksack Valley with 26 points, including 12 in the fourth period. Sharp-shooting junior Hallie Kamphouse hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, and sophomore Lainey Kimball had 12 points, including a pair of 3s. “Lainey shot the ball well for us,” said Wichers.

A 23-6 edge in the second quarter put the Pioneers in control and a 21-point fourth period was enough to hold off the Wildcats, who will finish off the tournament against Tumwater on Thursday.

Tumwater 70, Lynden Christian 57

The Class 2A Thunderbirds (8-0) once again showed why they were ranked by MaxPreps as the top team in the state regardless of classification by putting up 21 points in the first quarter against LC’s proud defense and then never letting the Lyncs (6-4) back in the game.

“They (the Thunderbirds) are the real deal,” Lynden Christian coach Brady Bomber, whose squad was still looking on Wednesday for an opponent to complete the three-day tournament on Thursday.

Senior post Alli Van Kooten was 6-of-8 from the field, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers, to lead the Lyncs with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Freshman Grace Hintz came off the bench to have another outstanding game with 13 points, and senior Libby Stump had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Meridian Holiday Tournament

Tuesday, Dec. 28

Sedro-Woolley 50, Lincoln (Seattle) 42

Meridian 45, Bellevue Christian 22

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Bellevue Christian 47, Mount Vernon 38

Meridian JV 35, Lincoln (Seattle) JV 34

Meridian 61, Lincoln (Seattle) 13

Lynden Christmas Classic

Tuesday, Dec. 28

Tumwater 76, Nooksack Valley 61

Lynden Christian 62, Mount Si 49

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Nooksack Valley 63, Mount Si 48

Tumwater 70, Lynden Christian 57

Thursday, Dec. 30

Mount Si vs. Tumwater, 12:30 p.m.

Lynden Christian vs. TBA, 2:15 p.m

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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