Meridian Girls, Boys Sweep Mount Baker

Meridian and Mount Baker played two games, but the script was the same for both the girls and boys as the Trojans took command early and held off the visiting Mounties in Northwest Conference action Thursday night, Jan. 5.

In the first game, the Meridian girls held Mount Baker to three second-quarter points and notched their first league win, 51-32.

The victory raised the Trojans record to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the NWC. The Mounties fell to 2-7 overall and 0-6 in league.

In the nightcap, the Meridian boys jumped to a 17-point first-quarter lead and then withstood the Mounties’ comeback attempts to win, 77-55.

Meridian improved to 7-3 overall and 3-3 in NWC play. Mount Baker is now 2-5 overall and 0-5 in the conference.

Whatcom Hoops January-6-2023
Jojo Lindsey’s rebound gets the Baker fans and bench excited.


Meridian 51, Mount Baker 32

The Trojans scored the first 11 points of the second quarter and gave up only one point in the period until Mount Baker’s Maddy Barter hit a layup at the buzzer. By then the lead had stretched to 14 points and the Trojans’ stingy defense never let the Mounties get back in it.

“We love defense,” said Meridian senior Avery Neal, who also loves offense enough to score a game-high 27 points. “We knew stopping them would be a challenge. Getting our first conference win is really exciting.”

Neal got help from her backcourt mates — fellow senior Maris Baklund and sophomore Brooklyn Fuller — who combined for 13 points and hounded the Mount Baker guards … and forwards … and posts.

“We played great team defense,” said Meridian coach Bree Park. “We knew we’d have to lock down on a couple of their shooters. We really needed this one.”

The Trojans were successful in locking down Barter, one of the league’s top scorers, at least in the first half when she only managed three points. She would finish with 12  to lead the Mounties.

Taking up some of the scoring slack for Mount Baker was junior Faith Wilson with 9 points and senior Jojo Lindsey with 8.

“They were a little more physical and aggressive than we were,” said Wilson, who just started to play organized basketball this year. “But we kept our composure and didn’t give up. Now we need to work hard in practice and then win the games that are winnable.”

Mount Baker coach Tiffany Ramirez reminded her team that while all five Class 1A teams qualify for the District 1 playoffs — which are basically a Northwest Conference tournament — the Mounties will need to improve if they want to advance very far.

“I told the kids that you’ll get a playoff game, but if you want to make a mark, you have to beat these teams,” she said. “The opportunity is there if you want it.”

The Mounties continue league play Saturday when they travel to Burlington-Edison. Meridian also is on the road Saturday taking on Mount Vernon.

Meridian 51, Mount Baker 32

Mount Baker            10         3         9       10—32

Meridian                   11        16       10       14—51

Mount Baker: Holz, Madera 3, Contreras, Abitia, Barter 12, Jefferson, Lindsey 8, Haynes, Wilson 9, Brown, VanLiew.

Meridian: Fuller 6, McCauley 2, Baklund 7, K. Neal, Storgaard 5, Bressler, A. Neal 27, Benson 4.

Whatcom Hoops January-6-2023
The Meridian bench was a happy bunch Thursday night.


Meridian 77, Mount Baker 55

Meridian used its fullcourt press to turn Mount Baker turnovers into a 22-5 blitz to start the game, and even though the Mounties played Meridian even in the second half, they never got the lead under a dozen.

“Our backcourt pressure in the first half kind of stunned them,” said Meridian coach Shane Stacy. “But Baker, they kept fighting. They hung around.”

A big reason — or two big reasons — that the Mounties couldn’t come back from the big deficit were Meridian sophomores Talon Jenkins and Jaeger Fyfe.

Jenkins had 18 points to spark the Trojans’ big first half and would finish with 22 points. Fyfe had 13 in the second half and finished with a game-high 24. Junior Cohen Fuller added 8 points and senior Hunter Jones had 7.

“We want to make it to state,” said Jenkins, who also hit four 3-pointers. “That’s our goal. We really want to win it all. Why not us?”

For the Mounties, their two big men kept them in the game. Senior Ethan Larson had 16 points, 14 of them in the second half, and junior Jesse Harward had 13 points despite being hampered by foul trouble. 

“The first half was a little iffy,” said Larson, who missed all of last season with an injury. “We knew it would be a physical game. We’re looking up, we’re on the rise, and we want to keep getting better and be the best we can be.”

First-year coach Tony Clark was disappointed with the loss but not with his team’s efforts. And considering the Mounties didn’t win a game all of last season, he was excited about the future.

“I was proud of the boys’ resiliency,” said Clark. “We wanted to fight back, and we closed the gap to make it respectable. For a lot of these guys, this is their first time playing together. We still have to jell.”

The Mounties’ next game is at home against Burlington-Edison on Saturday, while the Trojans host Mount Vernon also on Saturday. 

Meridian 77, Mount Baker 55

Mount Baker             10       16       16       13—55

Meridian.                  22       25       14       16—77

Mount Baker: Wade 3, Je. Harward 13, Powell 4, Jo. Harward 6, Madera, K. Hill 6, C. Hill, Larson 16, Scott, 3 Kruse 4, Toner.

Meridian: Jenkins 22, Fuller 8, Fyfe 24, Nagra 3, Short, Amundson 4, Hedahl, Burks 6, James, 3 Jones 7, Clawson, Brooks.

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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