Bad weather and good football teams made for a quiet opening week for our Whatcom County boys basketball teams.
Lynden, Mount Baker, and Nooksack Valley postponed or canceled their first two weeks of games as the Lions, Mounties, and Pioneers made great runs through the football playoffs. Congratulations to all three programs.
For a look at Week 1 for our county girls teams, check out Whatcom Hoops girls recap.
But there was still some great basketball as our teams opened with non-league contests. Here are the boys highlights from Week 1.
GAME OF THE WEEK
In a matchup between two Class 1A state contenders, Blaine rallied from 13 points down in the third quarter before losing a thriller to King’s, 61-59, on Friday. Behind their senior trio of Mathew Russ, Carson Lehnert, and Lucas Smith, the No.8-ranked Borderites went back and forth with the No.3 Knights for the final four minutes before losing the lead with 19 seconds to go and just missing a 60-footer at the buzzer that would have won it.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Lynden Christian junior Jeremiah Wright had 16 points on Tuesday and 21 points on Saturday in the Lyncs’ two victories. … Senior Xander Sledge had 18 points in Squalicum’s opener on Friday and followed that with 20 points in the Storm’s victory on Saturday. … Sehome senior Grey Garrison had 20 points to lead the Mariners’ in their opening victory Thursday. … Bellingham junior Wyatt Stephan had 17 points in the Bayhawks’ season-opening victory over Granite Falls.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Lynden Christian collected two big wins, going to Tacoma to beat Class 3A Stadium, 57-55, on Tuesday and then knocking off rival King’s, 73-55, on Saturday. The Lyncs scored 22 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday to come from behind in the non-league win. Wright and senior Griffin Dykstra had 16 points each, with Dykstra hitting four 3-pointers, and senior Tyler Sipma adding 13 points. In Saturday’s rematch of the last two Class 1A state championship games, the Lyncs used a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to put away the Knights. Wright’s 21 led the Lyncs, Sipma added 16 points, Dykstra had 12 points, and junior Dawson Bouma added 11 points.
Bellingham had its scheduled opener with Mount Baker postponed but started the season with a convincing 72-43 non-league victory over Granite Falls on Saturday. The Bayhawks’ defense was in midseason form, holding the Tigers to three points in the first quarter and 15 in the first half. Stephan led the way with his 17 points on three 3-pointers, junior Elias Togage had 15 points, and junior Ian O’Roarty added 10, including a pair of 3s.
Meridian opened its season with a 67-45 non-league victory over Friday Harbor on Tuesday. The Trojans exploded for 29 third-quarter points to beat the visiting Wolverines. Junior Taran Burks led the Trojans with 14 points, sophomore Talon Jenkins had three 3-pointers and 13 points, and sophomore Jaeger Fyfe added 11 points.
Sehome had its Tuesday opener against Mariner postponed until Dec. 7 because of the weather, but the Mariners started their season with a hard-fought 62-49 victory over Arlington on Thursday. The Sehome defense held the Eagles to 16 second-half points to knock off the Class 3A visitors. In addition to Garrison’s 20 points, fellow seniors Grant Kepley and Mathew Storms added 14 and 13 points, respectively, and freshman Nolan Wright added 9 off the bench. Congratulations to first-year coach Brad Jackson, who after being a little busy at the college level collected his first high school coaching victory in 37 years.
Blaine opened its season with two impressive games — a 61-59 loss to No.3-ranked King’s on Friday and a 80-38 victory over Bear Creek on Saturday. On Friday, the Borderites were led by Russ (16 points), Smith (14), and Lehnert (12) and held a two-point lead before the Knights scored the final four points in the last 19 seconds. On Saturday, the Borderites used a balanced attack and nine 3-pointers to give first-year coach Nate Sullivan his first victory at Blaine. Russ led the way with 13 points, Smith and Lehnert had 12 each, senior Lawrence Creasey Pulphus had 10, and senior Ethan Koreski, sophomore Josiah Weeda, and junior Noah Tavis added 8 each.
Squalicum dropped its opener to Cedarcrest, 70-61, on Friday, but came back for a 61-47 victory over Kingston on Saturday. On Friday, Sledge hit five of the Storm’s nine 3-pointers to lead four Storm players in double figures. Junior post Peter Albert had 12 points and 11 rebounds, senior Kyle Heaton added 12 points, senior Ashton Engelhart had 10 points, and senior Jake Donnelly handed out 6 assists. On Saturday, a 14-0 third-quarter run propelled the Storm to victory. Sledge’s 20 points led the way, Engelhart had 16 points, and Albert pulled down 11 rebounds.
Lummi Nation had its first two games with Nooksack Valley and Muckleshoot Tribal postponed and will open its season on Thursday, Dec. 8, at home against Providence Classical Christian.
Lynden had its first two weeks of games postponed or canceled because of the Lions’ run to the Class 2A football state championship. Lynden will open its season with a non-league game against Lapwai High School in the Northwest Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Mount Baker postponed its first two weeks of games because of the football team’s outstanding run to the Class 1A state championship game and will open its season on Dec. 13 at Sehome.
Nooksack Valley had its first four games games postponed or canceled because of the football team’s playoff run. The Pioneers will open their season on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at home against Sedro-Woolley.
Ferndale opened its season on the road with a 58-41 loss to Cascade (Everett). The Golden Eagles started slow offensively and were led by senior Lucas Mills with 13 and junior Bhavnoor Grewal with 10 points.
Lynden gets a unique opportunity Saturday when the defending Class 2A state champion plays in the Northwest Invitational at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. The Lions will take on Lapwai, the defending A1-D1 Idaho state champion. The invite brings together four top teams from Washington state and four from Idaho.
Monday, Dec. 5: Anacortes at Meridian, Sehome at Squalicum
Tuesday, Dec. 6: Bellingham at Blaine, Ferndale at Lakewood, Lynden Christian at Burlington-Edison, Meridian at La Conner
Wednesday, Dec. 7: Sedro-Woolley at Nooksack Valley, Mariner at Sehome
Thursday, Dec. 8: Ferndale at Squalicum, Sehome at Meridian, Providence Classical Christian at Lummi Nation
Friday, Dec. 9: Sedro-Woolley at Lynden Christian
Saturday, Dec. 10: Blaine at Oak Harbor, Nooksack Valley at Bellingham, Marysville-Getchell at Ferndale, Lummi Nation at Orcas Island, Lynden vs. Lapwai at Northwest Invitational
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
|Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood)||0||0||0||1|
|Providence Classical Christian||0||0||0||0|
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.