Whatcom County boys and girls are ready to tip off the 2019-20 basketball season, and Whatcom Hoops has previews for all our teams. Today: Nooksack Valley
Coach: Rich Skillman
Last season: 8-14 overall, 2-11 in NWC (tied for 12th)
Top returnees: Cody Coppinger (Jr.), Cole Eldridge (Sr.), Zach Johnson (Sr.), Matthew Pratt (Sr.)
Top newcomers: Colby Wichers (Sr.), Clancy Coppinger (Sr.)
Outlook: Returning starters Cody Coppinger, Eldridge and Johnson will lead the balanced Pioneers, who will depend on a hard-working senior class to reach their potential. Wichers and Clancy Coppinger, both 6-foot-5, will give Nooksack an inside game, but its strength will be its depth and versatility.
Coach’s quote: “We are excited to step up to the challenge of playing in this tough league, and to see where this team can go. We have all upperclassmen who are starting to understand what high school sports are about and are eager to get the chance to play.”
Coach: Shane Wichers
Last season: 16-9 overall, 7-6 in NWC (seventh)
Top returnees: Kora Larsen (Sr.), Jenna Compton (Jr.), Maya Galley (Jr.), McKenna Wichers (So.), Tehya Moore (So.)
Top newcomers: Ellie Van Berkum (So.), Renae Hoekema (So.), Taylor Lentz (Fr.), Hallie Kamphouse (Fr.)
Outlook: The team has some speed, some length, and one of the most experienced squads in the league with five returnees who played lots of minutes last year. After just missing regionals by one game last year, the Pioneers will be hoping to build off last season’s success and break through in the ultra-tough 1A playoffs.
Coach’s quote: “It has been fun to watch these girls work hard and push each other in the early days of the 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.