Outlook: With Playoff Spots Up In The Air, Which Teams Are Going To State?

NOTE: The playoff schedules will be updated whenever new information is reported. Keep visiting www.whatcomhoops.com for the latest news. 

So with the winds and snow making a mess of the playoff picture, which Whatcom County teams are still alive and where will they be playing this coming week? Well, you’ve come to the right place for all the answers.

Of our county’s 22 boys and girls high school teams, 14 are still playing with the first week of tournament action completed. And starting Monday, districts, bi-districts and tri-districts will start up again as our teams compete all this week for spots in the 1B, 1A, 2A and 3A regionals.

Here’s a quick look at each tournament, the upcoming games and our teams’ chances of moving on to their respective state tourneys. And remember, the weather could change everything.

The Lummi Nation girls are looking to have more fun in the tri-district tournament.

CLASS  1B GIRLS TRI-DISTRICT

The Lummi Nation girls host Tacoma Baptist in a first-round, loser-out game Monday at 6 p.m. The Lady Blackhawks (10-5) are 15th-rated in the state’s latest RPI rankings, and the Crusaders (16-7) are 16th, so the homecourt advantage may make the difference.

Should Lummi win Monday, the Lady Blackhawks would play Concordia Christian Academy of Tacoma (20-3) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Evergreen Lutheran High School in Tacoma. The winner will advance to the tri-district semifinals and earn a state berth. The loser will have to win another game to qualify for state.

OUTLOOK: The young Lady Blackhawks are looking to take that next big step and reach state. They can do it, but they’ll need to play two of their best games of the season to make it. 

The Lummi Nation faithful — young and old — will be out supporting the Blackhawks.

CLASS 1B BOYS TRI-DISTRICT

The Lummi Nation boys (20-1) ran their winning streak to 18 games by taking the District 1 championship a week ago and earning a first-round bye into tri-district. On Tuesday at 6 p.m., the Blackhawks will host the winner of Monday’s Evergreen Lutheran-Fellowship Christian game.

A victory Tuesday would be big for the second-ranked Blackhawks giving them an automatic berth in the state tournament and moving them into Thursday’s tri-district semifinals.

OUTLOOK: Tuesday will be Lummi’s final home game of the year, so if you haven’t seen them yet or don’t want to leave Whatcom County, you’d better come out and watch them. Because after this, the Blackhawks will be on the road … all the way to Spokane for state.

The Meridian girls can’t stop smiling after qualifying for Monday’s district title game.

CLASS 1A GIRLS DISTRICT

The weather has wreaked havoc with the 1A district tournaments, but even snow and wind can’t stop the Meridian, Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley girls.

With impressive semifinal victories, the Trojans (17-4) and Lyncs (18-3) will square off for another heavyweight battle in the district championship game on Monday at Mount Vernon High School at 8 p.m.

Both teams have already qualified for next week’s bi-district tournament, but Monday’s winner will also earn a bye into the bi-district championship game next Saturday in Lakewood and an automatic berth in the state tournament.

The loser will host a winner-to-state, loser-out game at bi-district next Friday.

The Pioneers (14-7) will play King’s (17-5) in the district’s consolation final on Monday at 7:30 p.m. but at Mount Vernon Christian High School. Both teams have qualified for bi-district, but the winner will host a first-round, loser-out game on Wednesday, while the loser will have to play on the road.

OUTLOOK: The county is guaranteed of at least one state entry, and favored to earn two. And with a few breaks, we could see all three in Yakima.

The Lynden Christian boys have had a lot to shout about in going undefeated so far.

CLASS 1A BOYS DISTRICT

Lynden Christian and Meridian have already qualified for next week’s bi-district tournament, but they’ll be playing for important seeding on Monday.

The top-ranked Lyncs (21-0) will meet King’s (17-4) for the district championship at 6:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School. The winner advances to the bi-district title game next Saturday in Lakewood and earns an automatic state berth. The loser will host a winner-to-state, loser-out game on Thursday.

The Trojans (8-13) will play Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) (12-10) in the district consolation final Monday at 6 p.m. at Mount Vernon Christian High School.

The winner will place third and host a loser-out first-round bi-district game. The loser Monday will take fourth and hit the road for its loser-out first-round bi-district contest.

OUTLOOK: Lynden Christian has looked unstoppable in its quest for a second straight 1A state title and will be favored over a tough King’s squad. But if you want to root for an underdog to make it to Yakima, look no further than the tough Trojans who could make it to state despite a losing record. 
 

The Bellingham girls have had lots to celebrate as they continue on at district.

CLASS 2A GIRLS DISTRICT

With Blaine and Sehome knocked out Thursday, the county’s banner will be lifted up by Lynden and Bellingham, which start double-elimination play on Monday.

The second-ranked Lions (17-3) will host Cedarcrest (12-8) at 5 p.m. The Red Raiders will travel to Everett to play third-ranked Archbishop Murphy (17-2) at 3 p.m.

The winners will move into Wednesday’s semifinals at Mount Vernon High School; the losers drop into the consolation bracket and must win two more games to earn state berths.

OUTLOOK: With three teams ranked in the top five, this has to be the top 2A district in the state. The Lions will need to shoot well to earn one of the four state berths, but shooting is something they’ve done well all season so expect a return trip to Yakima. As the lowest-seeded team still in the tourney, Bellingham will need a series of upsets to make it to state for the first time since 2014.

The Lynden boys have flexed their muscles all year as they aim for another trip to state.

CLASS 2A BOYS DISTRICT

Six of the eight teams remaining are from the Northwest Conference and three are from Whatcom County. But it will be difficult for all three to make it to the SunDome.

That’s because two of them — Lynden (19-1) and Bellingham (8-12) — will square off Monday at 7 p.m. in Lynden as the tournament moves into its double-elimination phase. The winner will advance to the 7:30 p.m. semifinal on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Sehome (13-7) will travel to Mountlake Terrace (14-5) on Monday at 7 p.m., with the winner playing in the other semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Both semis will be played at Mount Vernon High School.

Monday’s losers would have to win two more games in consolation play to qualify for state, starting with loser-out games Tuesday at Mount Vernon Christian. 

OUTLOOK: All season long, the Lions have looked ready to defend their state title so it would be a shock if they weren’t in Yakima. Sehome has been up and down all season, but when the Mariners are up they can play with anybody in the tournament and could be the tournament’s biggest surprise. For Bellingham, the tough matchup against Lynden will require the Red Raiders to pull off a couple of major upsets to reach Yakima.

The Ferndale girls will need to be road warriors in their quest to reach state.

CLASS 3A GIRLS DISTRICT
Ferndale comes into the 10-team tournament as a sixth seed with a less-than-flashy 14-6 record. But be forewarned: The Golden Eagles won’t be intimidated by anyone in the field and have as good a shot as anyone in nabbing one of the district’s four tournament berths.

If Ferndale advances it will have to do it on the road starting at third-seeded Snohomish (12-7) on Monday at 6 p.m.
The winner would move into the semis against the Stanwood-Shorecrest winner on Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Monday’s loser would play the Stanwood-Shorecrest loser in a loser-out game also on Wednesday at 7. Wednesday’s games would be played at the higher seeded team’s court.

OUTLOOK: Teams better not overlook the Golden Eagles because of their record. If Ferndale can put it all together as they have several times this season, don’t be surprised if the Golden Eagles soar off to state for the first time in five years.

The Squalicum boys are living the impossible dream … and they’re not done yet.

CLASS 3A BOYS DISTRICT

No matter which team you root for, you can’t help but be a fan of the Squalicum boys. After their fifth straight defeat on Jan. 17, a one-point loss to Sehome, the Storm had a 4-12 record and absolutely no chance of making the district playoffs.

But Storm warning! Squalicum won its last four regular-season games, snuck into the playoffs as the 10th and final seed and then stunned seventh-seeded Lynnwood on Thursday.

The road doesn’t get any easier as Squalicum (9-12) visits Arlington (17-4) on Monday at 5 p.m. Of course, the Storm can’t possibly beat the second-seeded Eagles — or can they? If Squalicum does, it would move into Wedneday’s semifinals at either Shorewood or Marysville-Getchell.

OUTLOOK: The Storm have already accomplished more than expected this season and they’ll need to pull off several more shockers on the road to reach state. But c’mon … how can you not root for these guys? Go Storm!
In fact: Go, all you Whatcom County teams! Looking forward to seeing you all at state.

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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