Two full weeks into the season, Whatcom County teams already are showing where the power is in the Northwest Conference.
Three of the four squads that are unbeaten in league play are north of the Skagit County line: Lynden Christian, Ferndale, and Lynden. And two more, Sehome and Blaine, are lurking behind with just one NWC loss.
This week many of those teams square off as we hit the halfway mark in the COVID-shortened, six-week season.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Lynden had a pair of weekend nail-biters, losing a non-conference game at Port Angeles on a last-second shot on Friday, 41-40, and having to go overtime to defeat Squalicum on Saturday, 49-46. Against the winless Storm, the Lions only managed seven fourth-quarter points as Squalicum sent the game into OT, but Jordan Medcalf scored four of his 10 points in the extra period as Lynden remained unbeaten in Northwest Conference play.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Mount Baker sharpshooter Braedan Hart had 23 points and three 3-pointers against Mount Vernon and then followed that with six 3-pointers and 26 points against Sehome. Teammate Aidan Corning had 24 points against Anacortes. … Ferndale junior Mark Schlichting hit seven 3-pointers good for 25 points in Saturday’s victory over Meridian. … Lynden Christian’s Andrew Hommes had 23 points in the Lyncs’ win over Burlington-Edison on Tuesday. Teammate Logan Dykstra had 21 points in the Lyncs’ win over Mount Vernon on Saturday. … Blaine’s Carson Lehnert had 23 points thanks to five 3-pointers against Oak Harbor. Teammate Josh Russ had 22 points for the Borderites against both Bellingham and Oak Harbor, and Scott Baldwin had 20 in Blaine’s victory over Bellingham. … Junior Jordan Medcalf had 22 points in the Lions’ loss to Port Angeles. … Nooksack Valley freshman Jason Vigre helped the Pioneers to their first win with 22 points. … Meridian’s Ethan Brooks had 22 points in the Trojans’ loss to Sehome. … Bellingham sophomore Henry Sheldrup had his breakout game with 20 points against Blaine.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Ferndale stayed unbeaten by edging Sedro-Woolley on Thursday, 62-55, and knocking off Meridian on Saturday, 75-61. Against the winless but fired-up Cubs, the visiting Golden Eagles were down early, 12-2, and needed a 15-0 run at the end of the third period and beginning of the fourth to take control. Senior Andrew Monks led the balanced Ferndale attack with 14 points, junior Luke Wells added 13, junior Jesse Sapp had 12, freshman Conner Walcker came off the bench to score 12, and senior Mark Schlichting had 9. Against the Trojans, Ferndale’s defense created 22 turnovers and its offense shot 50 percent from the floor. Schlichting led the Golden Eagles with seven 3-pointers and 25 points, and got a lot of help from Sapp (15 points), Monks (12) and Wells (11).
Blaine ran its winning streak to four games by knocking off Bellingham on Tuesday, 78-71, and crushing Oak Harbor on Thursday, 72-42. In the victory over the Red Raiders, senior Josh Russ had 22 points, junior Scott Baldwin had 20, junior Cole Thomas collected 17 points and 13 rebounds, and senior Bailey Bleazerd had 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. In addition to his 23 points, Carson Lehnert had 5 rebounds and 4 steals against Oak Harbor. Russ had another 22 points, and Thomas had 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Lynden Christian defeated Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, 80-51, and Mount Vernon on Saturday, 63-55. In the big win over a tough Tigers squad, junior Andrew Hommes led the powerful Lyncs’ attack with 23 points. Senior Logan Dykstra and sophomore Tyler Sipma had 12 each, and Crew Bosman added 11 as LC hit 10 3-pointers. On Saturday, LC held off Mount Vernon by hitting 8 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter and limiting the Bulldogs to 10 points in the final period. Dykstra was 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth quarter and finished with 21 points. Hommes added 16 points, and Sipma had 11, including two 3-pointers.
Lummi Nation ran its record to 4-0 with victories over Mount Vernon Christian on Friday, 53-43, and rival Tulalip Heritage on Saturday, 56-37. Senior Jaie Leighton led the balanced Blackhawks offense on Friday with 14 points, junior Tyran Lane added 12, and junior Duncan Toby and senior William Hetland had 8 each. Tulalip Heritage was only able to suit up seven players, but one was Northwest 1B League MVP candidate Alonzo Jones. But Jones wasn’t enough to overcome the Blackhawks’ attack as Toby tossed in 14, Lane had 13, and Leighton added 12.
Sehome defeated Squalicum on Tuesday, 59-51, and Meridian on Thursday, 63-55, but suffered its first defeat of the season, 69-61, to Mount Baker on Saturday. On Tuesday, the Mariners built a 17-point halftime lead and then withstood the Storm’s rally despite scoring only four field goals in the second half. Senior Micah Daheim and juniors Mathew Storms and Gavin Ortega had 10 points each for Sehome. Against the Trojans, senior Elliott Tanovan led a balanced Sehome offense with 16 points. Senior Jake Ortega added 15, and Storms and Daheim added 12 each. Tanovan, Daheim and Storms each tossed in a pair of 3s. In the loss to the Mounties, Sehome only managed seven fourth-quarter points in letting the lead slip away. Tanovan led the Mariners with 18 points all of them on six 3-pointers, Storms had 15 points, and Gavin Ortega had 12.
Lynden crushed Oak Harbor on Tuesday, 66-35; lost on the road to Port Angeles on Friday, 41-40; and escaped with a 43-40 overtime victory over Squalicum on Saturday. In the loss, the Roughriders’ Dru Clark hit a desperation-off-balance-one-hand-bank shot (thanks for the description, Ted House) with two seconds left to give the Lions their first loss and Port Angeles’s eighth win in 10 games. Junior Jordan Medcalf led Lynden with 22 points, including 11 of the Lions’ 13 fourth-quarter points. Against the Storm, the Lions held a nine-point lead with six and a half minutes left in regulation but only managed to scored three more points as Squalicum stormed back to tie it at 41 and send it into overtime. Senior Liam Hanenburg led Lynden with 14 points and 19 rebounds, Medcalf finished with 10 points, and senior Koby Whitman had 9 points and 4 steals.
Bellingham lost to Blaine on Tuesday, 78-71, but came back to defeat Nooksack Valley on Thursday, 55-34, and Sedro-Woolley on Saturday, 62-51. In their loss to the Borderites, the Red Raiders got 20 points from sophomore forward Henry Sheldrup, 15 from senior Lucas Hugo, and 9 each from seniors Riley Knies and Manny DePalma. Against the Pioneers, the Red Raiders notched their first win of the season with Sheldrup leading the balanced Bellingham offense with 11 points. Junior Thomas Mathews had 10 points, senior Trevor Johnson had 8, and Knies, who continued his outstanding play at point guard, had 9. Against the Cubs, junior Aidan Bartlett had his best game of the year with 16 points, DePalma had three 3-pointers and 12 points, and Johnson had 10 points.
Nooksack Valley broke into the winners’ column with a 67-60 victory over Sedro-Woolley on Tuesday, but lost to Bellingham on Thursday, 55-33. The Pioneers used a 26-point fourth quarter to overcome the Cubs. Jorgen Vigre had the hot hand for the Pioneers as the freshman tossed in six 3-pointers for his game-high 22 points. Junior Dawson Kimball added 14 points, and senior Cody Coppinger went 8-for-8 from the line for 12 points. Against the Red Raiders, the Pioneers couldn’t get their offense going, scoring in single digits three of the four quarters. Only Coppinger, with 12 points, was able to score more than six.
Mount Baker lost a pair of heart-breakers to Mount Vernon on Tuesday, 65-62, and to Anacortes on Thursday, 72-71, before handing Sehome its first loss, 69-61, on Saturday. The Mounties scored 20 points against Mount Vernon in the fourth period, but unfortunately gave up 25. Braedan Hart bombed in 23 points and fellow senior Garrett Smith added 17 points for Mount Baker. Against Anacortes, the Mounties rallied from six down in the fourth period but couldn’t pull off the victory. Senior Aidan Corning had 24 points, including nine in the fourth-quarter comeback. Hart had 14, Landon Smith 12, and Garrett Smith 10. Three of the Mounties’ four losses have come by a total of five points. In the back-and-forth contest with Sehome, the Mounties hit all eight of their free throws in the final period and outscored the Mariners, 17-7, for the victory. Hart led four Mounties in double figures with 26 points, and was followed by senior Mason Jacoby with 17, senior Ayden Rodriguez with 13, and Garrett Smith with 12
Squalicum dropped a close one on Tuesday to Sehome, 59-51, and then took Lynden to overtime before falling, 49-46, on Saturday. Against the Mariners, Squalicum mounted a comeback with 22 fourth-quarter points, but it wasn’t enough. Junior Reed Richardson had a team-high 18 points, 16 of them in the second half and 13 during the fourth-quarter rally. Junior Trevor Keeley added 10 points for the Storm. In the OT thriller against Lynden (see “game of the week” above), the Storm stayed close the whole game, rallied in the fourth quarter to tie it at the end of regulation, but couldn’t pull off the season’s biggest upset. Senior Leland Zender had 12 points and 6 rebounds, senior Mason Binning had 11 points including 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, and Richardson had 10 points and 4 assists.
Meridian dropped all three of its games to teams at the top of the standings, losing to Anacortes on Tuesday, 67-56; to Sehome on Thursday, 63-55; and to Ferndale on Saturday, 75-61. Against the Seahawks, senior Trey Naidu led the Trojans with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Against the Mariners, senior Ethan Brooks had a game-high 22 points. Against the Golden Eagles, junior Daniel Short had 16 points, all in the second half, Naidu had 15 and Brooks had 13.
NORTHWEST CONFERENCE (unofficial)
Both Lynden Christian and Ferndale are unbeaten, and if they survive tough tests on Monday and Wednesday, the Lyncs and Golden Eagles will square off for first place in the Northwest Conference on Saturday at the LC gym.
Monday, May 31: Blaine at Squalicum, Lynden at Meridian, Bellingham at Lynden Christian, Ferndale at Mount Baker, Sehome at Burlington
Tuesday, June 1: Grace Academy at Lummi Nation
Wednesday, June 2: Meridian at Blaine, Lynden Christian at Anacortes, Squalicum at Nooksack Valley, Oak Harbor at Bellingham, Mount Vernon at Sehome, Burlington at Ferndale, Lummi Nation at Orcas Christian
Thursday, June 3: Lummi Nation at Blaine
Friday, June 4: Blaine at Mount Baker, Oak Harbor at Lynden Christian, Nooksack Valley at Meridian, Lynden at Burlington, Sehome at Anacortes, Mount Vernon at Ferndale
Saturday, June 5: Bellingham at Sehome, Ferndale at Lynden Christian, Nooksack Valley at Burlington, Neah Bay at Lummi Nation