After only two weeks, “parity” seems to be the operative word for the Northwest Conference’s boys basketball teams.
Only three of the 16 squads, including Whatcom County’s own Lynden Christian and Sehome, are still unbeaten — not including Lynden and Mount Baker, which will play their first games this week after waiting for their successful football seasons to conclude.
For a look back at Week 2 for our county girls team, check out Whatcom Hoops girls recap.
Here are the boys highlights from Week 2.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Meridian took a 14-point halftime lead thanks to nine 3-pointers but couldn’t hold off Sehome in the fourth quarter as the Mariners won 68-65 on Thursday. Sehome tied the score going into the final period and then held off the upset-minded Trojans thanks to eight points from Grey Garrison and seven points from Grant Kepley in the fourth quarter.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Sehome senior Grey Garrison had 19 points on Monday against Squalicum and followed that with 27 points in the comeback win over Meridian on Thursday. … Squalicum senior Ashton Engelhart had 27 points in the Storm’s win on Thursday. … Senior Griffin Dykstra had 25 points, senior Isaac Paxton had 17 points, and senior Dexter Zylstra had 16 points in Lynden Christian’s win over Sedro-Woolley on Friday, and junior Jeremiah Wright had 22 points and senior Tyler Sipma had 16 in Tuesday’s win over Burlington-Edison. … Meridian sophomore Talon Jenkins had 24 points in Thursday’s near-upset of Sehome, and sophomore Jaeger Fyfe had 16 points in the Trojans’ victory Tuesday over La Conner. … Junior Raymond Perkins had 22 points in Lummi Nation’s season-opening victory Thursday, and junior Desmond Bailey had 17 for the Blackhawks on Saturday. … Bellingham junior Wyatt Stephan had a 21-point night against Nooksack Valley on Saturday. … Senior Mathew Russ had 20 points in Blaine’s win on Saturday, and senior Lucas Smith tossed in 18 points to lead Blaine over Bellingham on Tuesday and 17 points against Oak Harbor on Saturday. … Ferndale senior Damien Toney had 18 points on Thursday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
SEHOME defeated Squalicum, 57-35, on Monday; Mariner on Wednesday, 47-44; and Meridian on Thursday, 68-65. On Monday, the Mariners’ defense held the Storm to single digits in three of the four quarters and pulled away after trailing after one period. Garrison led the way with 19 points, senior Isaac Lawrence hit a pair of 3s and had 16 points, and Kepley added 12 points. In Wednesday’s non-league win over Class 4A Mariner, the Mariners held on after leading by 14 with less than three minutes to go. Garrison and Kepley had 14 points each, and Mathew Storms added 9. On Thursday, the Mariners rallied from a 41-27 halftime deficit to tie the score going into the final period and escape with a tough win against the Trojans. In addition to Garrison’s 27 points, Kepley had 14 points, and Lawrence had three 3s for 9 points, and senior Dane Dominguez had a pair of 3s and 9 points.
BLAINE beat Bellingham on Tuesday, 60-46, and Oak Harbor on Saturday, 64-56. On Tuesday, the Borderites used a 20-point third quarter to pull away from the visiting Bayhawks. Smith had 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, Russ had 14 points, senior Carson Lehnert added 10, and junior Noah Tavis had 8. On Saturday, first-year Blaine coach Nate Sullivan beat the team he’d coached the previous three years, but the Borderites needed a 21-point fourth quarter to knock off the Wildcats after being tied going into the final period. Russ led the way with 20 points, Smith had 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Lehnert finished with 9 points, including a pair of 3s in the fourth period.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN dominated Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, 81-37, and Sedro-Woolley on Friday, 84-54. On Tuesday, the Lyncs held the Tigers to four first-quarter points and then put Burlington away with a pair of 24-point quarters after halftime. Nine different Lyncs scored with Wright collecting 22 points, Sipma 16 with four 3-pointers, sophomore Gannon Dykstra 13 with three 3s, and senior Lane Dykstra 10 with a pair of 3s. Against the visiting Cubs, Griffin Dykstra had 16 of his 25 points in the first half when the Lyncs took a 28-point lead. Dykstra also had three of LC’s 14 3-pointers with Paxton hitting five, Zylstra four and Sipma two among his 12 points.
BELLINGHAM lost to Blaine on Tuesday, 60-46, but bounced back to beat Nooksack Valley on Saturday, 56-47. On Tuesday, the young Bayhawks rallied for a 19-point fourth quarter but couldn’t catch the Borderites. Stephan had 15 points to lead Bellingham and sophomore Kincaide Van Houten added 9 points. On Saturday, Bellingham led by one heading into the fourth quarter but held the Pioneers to eight points to pull away in the final period. Stephan had 12 of his 21 points in the crucial fourth period, hitting 6 of his 8 clutch free throws. Van Houten and junior Ian O’Roarty added 8 points and two 3-pointers each for the Bayhawks.
LUMMI NATION opened its season on Thursday with an 80-21 victory at home against Providence Classical Christian, but lost a non-league contest at Orcas Island on Saturday, 66-58. On Thursday, the Blackhawks flew to a 26-6 lead after one period and coasted to their first win. Perkins hit six 3-pointers and his 22 points led a balanced Blackhawks attack. Senior Peyton Scott and junior Mathias Johnson had 10 points each, junior Tobias Francis had 9 points on three 3-pointers, and freshman Tracy Powell and junior Desmond Bailey had 8 points each. On Saturday, Lummi Nation fell behind early and could never quite catch the Orcas. Bailey had six of his team-high 17 in the fourth quarter, freshman Jerome Toby Jr. had 15 points, and Francis had 12 including a pair of 3s in the final period.
NOOKSACK VALLEY was short-handed because of illness, but opened it season on Wednesday with a 69-56 win over Sedro-Woolley before coming up short against Bellingham on Saturday, 56-47. In Wednesday’s opener, the Pioneers rallied from an early nine-point deficit to tie it going into the fourth quarter and then blew out the Cubs with a 26-point final period. Junior Wayne Silves had 15 points and sparked the comeback with a pair of 3s, sophomore Lentz also had 15 points including eight in the fourth, and seniors Bennett DeLange and Ayden Roper had 12 and 9 points, respectively. The Pioneers fell behind again on Saturday and were only down by one after three quarters, but couldn’t overcome the Bayhawks in the fourth quarter. DeLange led the team with 12 points, and Silves, junior Joey Brown, and sophomore Brady Ackerman had 10 each.
SQUALICUM lost to Sehome on Monday, 57-35, and beat Ferndale on Thursday, 61-52. The Storm’s offense never got going in the hard-fought contest Monday against their cross-city rival Mariners. Senior Nick Watt had 10 points and a pair of 3s to lead Squalicum, and junior Peter Albert had 9 points. On Thursday, the Storm started slow with only seven first-quarter points, but finished strong, breaking away from a 45-all tie with a 16-7 fourth quarter to shoot down the Golden Eagles. Engelhart had 12 of his 27 points in the fourth period and finished with six of Squalicum’s 10 3-pointers. Xander Sledge added 15 points and two 3s in the fourth quarter, fellow senior Kyle Heaton had 10 points, Albert collected 9 rebounds, and senior Jack Donnelly had 5 assists.
LYNDEN had its season opener postponed again when its non-league game against Lapwai High School in the Northwest Invitational on Saturday was canceled due to poor weather conditions in the pass. The Lions will now open the season on Monday when they host Oak Harbor.
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 Tuesday at Sehome.
MERIDIAN lost to Anacortes on Monday, 79-44; shut down La Conner on Tuesday, 50-21; and nearly upset Sehome on Thursday, losing 68-65. On Monday, the Trojans fell behind by 19 after one quarter and never could make up the difference against the unbeaten Seahawks. Junior Taran Burks had 13 points to lead Meridian, and Fyfe added 11 points. The Trojans used great defense to jump to a 17-0 first-quarter lead against La Conner and coast to their first win of the season on Tuesday. Fyfe led the way with 16 points, and Burks and senior Hunter Jones had 8 points each. On Thursday, Meridian took a 41-27 halftime lead thanks to nine 3-pointers but couldn’t hold off Sehome in the fourth quarter. Jenkins hit six 3-pointers and all four of his free throws to lead the Trojans. Fyfe added 14 points, and Burks added 10.
FERNDALE lost to Lakewood on Tuesday, 57-38; to Squalicum on Thursday, 61-52; and to Marysville-Getchell on Saturday, 62-40. On Tuesday, the Golden Eagles only managed 16 points in the first half and could never make up the deficit. Junior Bhavnoor Grewal led them with 12 points, and Toney, junior Kevin Woods, and senior Lucas Mills had 8 points each with Mills hitting a pair of 3s. Against the Storm, Toney had 18 points including a pair of 3s to help the Golden Eagles take the early lead. Junior Bishop Ootsey added 12 points and Mills had 11, and the two combined for all of Ferndale’s seven fourth-quarter points. On Saturday against Marysville-Getchell, the Golden Eagles couldn’t come back after a one-point first quarter. Grewal had 10 points and a pair of 3s, and Toney 9 points in the non-league loss.
Ferndale, Sehome, and Nooksack Valley will have special activities and ceremonies this coming week.
* The Golden Eagles, who will be playing their second game in their new gym on Monday against Mount Baker, will be having a final open house that night for the old high school. The community and alumni are invited to reminisce and tour the old building before it is closed and the new high school is opened after the Christmas break.
* The Mariners will be having an alumni night when they play Mount Baker on Tuesday night. Alumni are invited for snacks and a tour of the new high school starting at 6 p.m. with the game starting at 7:15 p.m. It also happens to be Mount Baker’s first game of the season.
* The Pioneers will be honoring their 2003 boys basketball team on Saturday, when Nooksack takes on Lakewood. The 2003 squad won the Class 2A state championship, and the players and coaches will be recognized at halftime.
Our two undefeated Whatcom teams head south to take on two Skagit County powers this week. Lynden Christian is at Mount Vernon on Monday, and Sehome is at Burlington-Edison on Thursday.
Monday, Dec. 12: Meridian at Ferndale, Oak Harbor at Lynden, Lynden Christian at Mount Vernon
Tuesday, Dec. 13: Bellingham at Sedro-Woolley, Squalicum at Lynden, Mount Baker at Sehome, Lummi Nation at Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood)
Wednesday, Dec. 14: Lakewood at Blaine, Oak Harbor at Nooksack Valley
Thursday, Dec. 15: Sehome at Burlington-Edison, Lopez Island at Lummi Nation
Friday, Dec. 16: Bellingham at Lynden Christian, Blaine at Squalicum, Ferndale at Glacier Peak, Lynden at Meridian
Saturday, Dec. 17: Ferndale at Mount Baker, Lynden Christian at Sumner, Lakewood at Nooksack Valley
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
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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.