Senior Classic: County Girls, Boys Win, But Everyone Has Fun

There were some surprises at the John Clark Whatcom County Senior Classic but the end result, according to the senior boys and girls who played, was anything but a surprise.

“I had a blast,” said Sehome’s Braddock Duckworth. “It was our last good-bye … and it was a good one.”

If fun was the measuring stick then the annual all-star doubleheader at Lynden’s Jake Maberry Gymnasium on Friday night, March 8, was definitely a good one.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Nooksack Valley’s Devin Coppinger. “I love all the girls. We were going to have fun … but we weren’t going to end our careers with a loss.”

The all-state guard and her County teammates didn’t as they won the girls game, 105-89. The County boys also won, 104-80, although winning may not have been the highest priority even though the two games featured players from teams that just earned three state titles, six state trophies, and eight state appearances.

“It was fun to play with all the guys and celebrate the year the seniors had,” said Lynden’s Anthony Canales. “Just watching everyone … you didn’t like playing against them (during the season), but they were really good guys.”

The evening was filled with special events including boys and girls 3-point contests and a boys slam dunk contest.

Lynden’s Mallary Villars edged Coppinger for the girls 3-point title, and Lynden Christian’s Dawson Bouma hit his last 3-pointer to beat Lynden’s Weston Van Dalen and Meridian’s Taran Burks. Lynden Christian’s Kayden Stuit outscored teammate Jeremiah Wright for the slam dunk crown.

As always, the game themselves were offensive affairs with the shot clock never close to expiring and the  officials’ whistles rarely heard (there were seven fouls the whole night and those were called reluctantly). Yet there were still some surprises:

* The girls outscored the boys — and may have set a Whatcom County record for points — thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers. There were 35 total — not 35 3s shot but 35 3s made!

Squalicum’s Makayla Heaton led the City Team with four 3-pointers and 14 points, and her shot from halfcourt was the longest of the day. The County Team got three 3s each from Nooksack Valley’s Kaylee Anderson, Blaine’s Jordyn Vezzetti, and Coppinger, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

The boys had 20 3-pointers with the County accounting for 13, including a 30-footer by Lynden Christian’s Dawson Bouma to end the game. Ferndale’s Bishop Ootsey had the longest, a halfcourt shot at the first-quarter buzzer.

* The biggest cheer was not for Bouma’s game-winner or the 3-pointer by Nooksack Valley’s Lainey Kimball that ended the girls game but by the first bucket of the second half of the girls game.

It was made by Meridian’s Savannah Storgaard, who along with teammate Allie Richter, was unable to play in the game because of season-ending injuries … except they did play. County coach Ryan Dykstra and City Coach Ken McLendon arranged to have Storgaard and Richter start the second half and Storgaard, who came to the game on crutches and with a huge knee brace, was passed the ball while the County team watched.

She missed her first shot (“They only told me five seconds before that I was going in,” she said) but Richter retrieved the ball and Storgaard scored on her second chance. (“She wanted me to get the assist,” said Richter.)

* There was some serious love shown to former competitors.

Canales, the three-time state tournament MVP for the three-time state champion Lions, expressed as much joy with his alley-oop pass to County teammate Stuit for a dunk than he did for his own game-high 22 points.

The County girls did their own alley-oop pass off an in-bounds play — but instead of passing it to 6-footers like Nooksack Valley’s Tana Hoekema or Lynden Christian’s Tabby DeJong, they passed it to Mya VanderYacht, who at 5-foot-2 was the shortest player on the court. And, of course, she made it.

And Duckworth and Lynden’s Ty Holleman had fun playing one-on-one against each other, waving the other players to clear out for the two to have their individual battle. The laughter and smiles suggested old friends, but the two had just gotten to know each other.

“I only met him last week, but we hit it off,” said Duckworth, who led the City Team with 16 points.

For Heaton, there were a lot of old friends in the game, including Squalicum teammates Mari Binning and Caitlyn Richardson as well as Sehome’s Natalie Brewer, Madi Cooper, and Emmy Hart, and Ferndale’s Mallory Butenschoen, Maleah Singson, and Naomi Stanley.

“It was so much fun,” said Heaton. “But it was definitely bittersweet. I’ve been playing with some of the girls from Sehome and Ferndale since we were in the Boys and Girls Club.”

While the teenagers were looking back nostalgically as they played their final games together, many of the old-timers got a chance to remember the “good old days” when John Clark was honored between games.

Clark, who the event was renamed after, led Lynden to its first state title in 1961 when he was a senior. He would go on to be a Hall of Fame coach at both Mount Baker and Lynden.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Organizers Brady and Ed Bomber deserve a big thank you, along with the Lynden High support staff, for not only putting on this special event but for doing their part in serving our community. Proceeds went to benefit Open Hands, a non-profit helping to fight hunger in elementary-age children in Whatcom County by providing weekend meals during the school year.

County Girls 105, City Girls 89

City               24       23       22       20— 89

County          33       24       25       23—105

City: Mallory Butenschoen (Ferndale) 9, Naomi Stanley (Ferndale) 6, Maleah Singson (Ferndale) 9, Zeta Landsem (Lummi Nation) 6, Serena Jo Pantalia (Lummi Nation) 4, Natalie Brewer (Sehome) 3, Madi Cooper (Sehome) 10, Emmy Hart (Sehome) 11, Mari Binning (Squalicum) 4, Makayla Heaton (Squalicum) 14, Caitlyn Richardson (Squalicum) 6, Savannah Storgaard (Meridian) 2. 

County: Jordyn Vezzetti (Blaine) 16, Deja Dube (Blaine) 6, Mya VanderYacht (Lynden) 3, Mallary Villars (Lynden) 12, Tabby DeJong (Lynden Christian) 1, Malia McCauley (Meridian) 6, Jenna Wineinger (Mount Baker) 4, Kaylee Anderson (Nooksack Valley) 9, Devin Coppinger (Nooksack Valley) 21, Tana Hoekema (Nooksack Valley) 11, Lainey Kimball (Nooksack Valley) 9.

County Boys 104, City Boys 80

City               31       18       16       23—  80

County          23       26       27      28—104

City: Noah Tavis (Blaine) 6, Jesse Harward (Bellingham) 12, Bhavnoor Grewal (Ferndale) 5, Bishop Ootsey (Ferndale) 10, Kevin Woods (Ferndale) 8, Desmond Bailey (Lummi Nation) 5, Taran Burks (Meridian) 2, Christian Clawson (Meridian) 8, Braeden Scott (Mount Baker) 2, Braddock Duckworth (Sehome) 16, Sawyer Fleming (Sehome) 2, Austin McKay (Sehome) 3.

County: Charlie Ayres (Lynden) 3, Anthony Canales (Lynden) 22, Brady Elsner (Lynden) 6, Ty Holleman (Lynden) 9, Weston Van Dalen (Lynden) 11, Treven Blair (Lynden Christian) 3, Dawson Bouma (Lynden Christian) 15, Kayden Stuit (Lynden Christian) 6, Jeremiah Wright (Lynden Christian) 9, Joey Brown (Nooksack Valley) 13, Wayne Silves (Nooksack Valley) 6.

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.

You can support our student-athletes, teams, and schools
by using the businesses that support Whatcom Hoops.

Want to advertise your business? Click here for advertising options.