Season-opening non-league games usually don’t mean a whole lot … unless they happen to involve Bellingham and Sehome.
The city rivals played their first games against each other in Sehome’s new gym Tuesday night, Dec. 3, with the Sehome girls winning the opener of the doubleheader, 47-41, and the Bellingham boys holding on to claim the second game, 54-49.
And, as usual, both came down to the final minute.
“I’d love it to be boring one time,” joked Sehome girls coach Anye Turner. “Both teams played super hard. It’s good to get used to adversity. Shots didn’t fall, a big crowd … and you get a win. I’m proud of the girls.”
Bellingham coach Michael Russo echoed the sentiment: “It was a classic, hard-fought battle between two good teams, and we look forward to playing them in a couple of weeks.”
Bellingham and Sehome will square off for their traditional “BellingHome” boys and girls doubleheader on Friday, Dec. 20, at Bellingham. And this was will count in the Northwest Conference standings.
For the standings and all the scores for the Northwest Conference, see nwcathletics.com.
Sehome 47, Bellingham 41
The Mariners pulled away in the final 33 seconds by hitting five of six free throws and shutting out the Raiders in a foul-plagued contest.
“We thought it would come down to the end,” said Sehome senior Jessica Melvin, who hit three of the free throws in the final minute. “Our rivals give us extra motivation. We were not going to let them beat us in our new gym.”
Aspen Garrison, Sehome’s 6-2 junior center, and 6-foot senior Mikayla Wefer used their height advantage to lead the Mariners with 16 and 8 points, respectively, and help hold the Raiders to six points in the fourth quarter.
Junior Alexa Mee led Bellingham with 13 points, and junior Adi McKay added 9 and sophomore Mazy Wright had 8 points before the two fouled out.
“At this early point in our season, I was happy to see our girls competing from start to finish,” said Russo. “We had great efforts from several of our girls and will continue working hard over the coming months.”
For more pictures from the girls game, see the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
Bellingham 54, Sehome 49
Senior Colm Schaefer had six 3-pointers and a game-high 25 points to lead the Red Raiders to their first victory over their archrivals in their last four meetings.
“This felt good,” said Schaefer, who was two off the school record of eight 3-pointers he set last season. “It was personal. The last time we beat them was the first game (of two) we played when I was a sophomore.”
Connor McKay, Bellingham’s only other returning starter, added three more 3-pointers as the Red Raiders finished with 11 for the night.
“I’m proud of these guys,” said Bellingham coach Brad McKay. “It was a hard-fought game. And you just have to gut it out.”
The Mariners, who have only one returning player on their roster, were led by the 17 points and three 3-pointers of junior Micah Daheim and the 10 points of junior Elliot Tannovan. But Sehome was held to three points in the final quarter by the Raider defense.
For more pictures from the boys game, see the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
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.