And then it was over.
Six weeks after they started in the middle of spring baseball and a week after everybody had finished their school years, the 10 Whatcom County boys basketball teams wrapped up their Northwest Conference seasons on Friday.
While the NWC decided before the season started that there would be no official champion or standings because of the unbalanced schedules for most teams, Lynden Christian ran the table and defeated its closest competitors to claim the “unofficial” league title.
Unfortunately, none of Whatcom County teams — including Lummi Nation, which finished its 10-1 Northwest 1B League season the previous week — will be able to go on to greater glory in the playoffs because there are no district, regional or state tournaments this year.
Be sure to check out www.WhatcomHoops.com each day this week as we unveil the all-Whatcom Hoops first team, second team and honorable mentions for both boys and girls starting with the girls honorable mentions on Monday. We’ll also have the Best of Whatcom Hoops end-of-the-year awards next Sunday.
Lynden Christian, however, isn’t quite done. The Lyncs have been invited to the Class 1A State Invitational — an “unofficial” event — to play against seven other top-notch teams in a double-elimination tournament June 30 though July 2 at Cedar Park Christian (Bothell).
To the other 10 teams, we say “good-bye” and “thank you” especially to their seniors, who despite the worst conditions, managed to do their schools and programs proud, and to leave us with an exciting 2021 boys basketball season.
Here’s our final 2021 recap with each team’s seniors listed:
GAME OF THE WEEK
With both teams unbeaten in Northwest Conference play, Lynden Christian vs. Lynden last Wednesday figured to be the game of the week if not the year, and it lived up to the hype. Both teams gave their all in the sweltering heat and both battled back from big deficits. It came down to the final minute when Shale Whittern scored with 48 seconds left to give LC a one-point lead, Logan Dykstra hit two free throws with three seconds to go to put the Lyncs up by three, and Jordan Medcalf’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer bounced off giving LC the exciting 51-48 victory.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Meridian senior Ethan Brooks had a career-high 25 points against Lynden Christian to end his high school career. … Braedan Hart finished his career at Mount Baker with 19 points against Oak Harbor and 23 points and seven 3-pointers against Bellingham. Teammate Garrett Smith had 20 points in the Mounties’ win over the Storm. … Lynden Christian senior Logan Dykstra had 21 points against Meridian, and junior Andrew Hommes had 18 points against Squalicum and another 18 against Meridian. … Lynden senior Liam Hanenburg had 19 points in the victory over Ferndale and 18 points against Blaine. Teammate Clay Kochuten had 19 points to lead the Lions against Blaine. … Nooksack Valley senior Cody Coppinger had 18 points against Anacortes. … Squalicum junior Reed Richardson had 18 points in the Storm’s win over Meridian.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Lynden Christian beat Squalicum on Monday, 70-50; Lynden on Wednesday, 51-48; and Meridian on Friday, 73-61. Against the Storm, junior Andrew Hommes and senior Logan Dykstra led the way with 18 and 13 points, respectively, as the Lyncs pulled away with a 29-point fourth quarter. Sophomore Griffin Dykstra had three 3-pointers for 9 points, and senior Shale Whittern, junior William Calwell, and sophomore Tyler Sipma had 7 points each. In the big showdown with Lynden, the Lyncs held the Lions to six fourth-quarter points and rallied from a seven-point deficit to pull out the victory. Logan Dykstra had 16 points, including two free throws with three second left to seal the win, and senior Cole Moorlag had 12 points, going 6-of-8 from the field. Hommes added 8 for the Lyncs, and Sipma had 7 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. The Lyncs finished off their regular season needing a 21-point fourth quarter to shake off Meridian. Logan Dykstra had 21 points, Hommes had 18 and Sipma 14. Seniors: Logan Dykstra, Cole Moorlag and Shale Whittern.
Mount Baker finished the year on a five-game winning streak, with three victories coming last week. The Mounties defeated Oak Harbor in overtime on Monday, 67-58; Bellingham on Wednesday, 69-49; and Squalicum on Friday, 63-43. On Monday, the Mounties sent the game into overtime with a Braedan Hart steal and layup in the final seconds, and then outscored Oak Harbor in OT, 14-5, to avoid the upset. The seniors led the way with Hart hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 19 points, Mason Jacoby finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Garrett Smith getting 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Ayden Rodriguez scoring 12 points. Against the Red Raiders, Baker used a 21-0 run to take control and never looked back. Hart hit another seven 3-pointers for 23 points and had 5 assists, Smith had 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Jacoby had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. In the season finale, the Mounties needed a 22-point second quarter to come from behind against the Storm. Smith led the charge with 20 points and 8 rebounds, Rodriguez had 17 points, Hart had 15 points and three 3-pointers, and Jacoby had 11 rebounds. Seniors: Aiden Corning, Braedan Hart, Mason Jacoby, Ayden Rodriguez and Garrett Smith.
Sehome finished its season on a high note by beating Nooksack Valley on Wednesday, 54-40, and Sedro-Woolley on Friday, 71-40. Seniors: Colin McCarthy, Micah Danheim, Matthew Harris, Jake Ortega, Luke Quinn, Elliott Tanovan and Isaac Vanepps.
Lynden defeated Ferndale on Monday, 68-42; lost to Lynden Christian on Wednesday, 51-48; and finished its season with a win over Blaine on Friday, 63-50. Against Ferndale, the Lions used a 22-point second quarter and held the Golden Eagles to four points in the fourth quarter to notch the big win. Senior Liam Hanenburg had 19 points, hitting nine of his 10 field goal attempts; junior Jordan Medcalf sank four of six 3-point attempts for 18 points; senior Clay Kochuten had a pair of 3s and 14 points; and sophomore Coston Parcher handed out 9 assists. The Lions rallied from 10 down against Lynden Christian but couldn’t hang on in the final minute in the NWC showdown. Hanenburg and Medcalf had 13 points each, Kochuten had 8 points and a pair of 3s for the Lions, and senior Koby Whitman had 8 points. Hanenburg and freshman Anthony Canales had 7 rebounds each, and Canales and Parcher had 4 assists each. In the season finale, the Lions took an early double-digit lead and then thwarted every Blaine comeback attempt. Kochuten had 19 points thanks to three 3-pointers; Hanenburg added 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists; Whitman had 10 points, thanks to going 8 of 9 from the free throw line, and 3 steals; and Parcher also had 6 assists. Seniors: Baylor Ayres, Liam Hanenburg, Ian Jacob, Clay Kochuten, and Koby Whitman.
Ferndale lost to Lynden on Monday, 68-42; beat Blaine on Wednesday, 60-57; and finished its season with a victory over Nooksack Valley on Friday, 77-47. Against the Lions’ stingy defense, the Golden Eagles were unable to hit a 3-point shot and had their lowest point total of the season. Sophomore Isaiah Carlson had 11 points, junior Luke Wells had 10, and junior Mark Schlichting had 8. On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles withstood a fourth-quarter rally to hold off Blaine. Carlson led a balanced attack with 12 points, junior Jesse Sapp and Schlichting had 11 points each with the latter adding a pair of 3s, senior Andrew Monk had 9 points, and junior Sean Morrison added 8 points. In the season finale, Wells and Morrison led the balanced Ferndale attack with 13 each; Carlson had 10 points; Sapp, Schlichting and junior Ethan Lagerwey had 8 points each; and Monk had 7. Seniors: Andrew Monk and James Pearson.
Squalicum lost to Lynden Christian on Monday, 77-57; defeated Meridian on Wednesday, 65-51; and finished its season with a loss to Mount Baker on Friday, 63-43. Against the Lyncs, junior Reed Richardson had a team-high 17 points with two 3-pointers; junior Trevor Keeley had 15 points, including 11 in the final period; and senior Leland Zender had 7 points. Against Meridian, Squalicum stormed out to a 19-point first-quarter lead thanks to 10 points by Richardson, who finished with a game-high 18 points and a pair of 3s. Senior Mason Binning had 12 points and and senior Aiden Aune added 7 points. In the season finale, Richardson led the Storm with 14 points against the Mounties, Zender added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Binning and junior Kai Posey had 6 points each with Binning also having 4 assists. Seniors: Aiden Aune, Mason Binning, Steven Owens and Leland Zender.
Meridian lost to Squalicum on Wednesday, 65-51, and finished its season with a loss to Lynden Christian on Friday, 73-61. Against the Storm, junior Dane Beck led the Trojans with all 12 of his points coming in the fourth quarter. Senior Trey Naidu had 9 points and seniors Ethan Brooks and Wes Kurz had 8 points each. In his last high school game, Brooks had 25 points in the Trojans’ loss to LC. Kurz had 9 points, sophomore Hunter Jones had 8, and Naidu had 7. Seniors: Ethan Brooks, Eli Hayrynen, Andrew Kuljis, Wes Kurz, T.J. Nagra and Trey Naidu.
Blaine lost to Ferndale on Wednesday, 60-57, and finished its season with a loss to Lynden on Friday, 63-50. It was another heart-breaking defeat on Wednesday as the Borderites scored 19 in the fourth period but couldn’t catch Ferndale. Junior Cole Thomas had 17 points, including seven in the fourth-quarter rally; junior Scott Baldwin had 9 points; senior Josh Russ and sophomore Carson Lehnert had 8 points and two 3-pointers each; and junior Jaxson Kortlever and senior Bailey Bleazard had 7 points each. In the season finale, Blaine cut Lynden’s lead to four several times but couldn’t overcome an early deficit. Russ collected 17 points, Thomas added 11 points and 6 rebounds, and Baldwin had 8 points and 6 assists. Seniors: Bailey Bleazard, William McKinney, Josh Russ and Kyle Turnberg.
Bellingham lost to Burlington-Edison on Monday, 65-50, and to Mount Baker on Wednesday, 69-49, but finished its season with a big win at Anacortes on Friday, 71-64. Against the Tigers, senior Manny DePalma had 11 points to lead the Red Raiders, and junior Thomas Mathews added 7. On Wednesday, the Red Raiders fell behind by 15 in the first period and couldn’t catch the Mounties. Senior Trevor Johnson had 16 points and junior Kaedan Potts had 13. Against Anacortes, the Raiders scored a season-high 71 points, but needed a strong fourth quarter to snap their seven-game losing streak. Sophomore Henry Sheldrup led Bellingham with 18 points, Johnson chipped in 14, and Mathews and senior Riley Knies helped the Red Raiders hold off the Seahawks at the end. Seniors: Manny DePalma, Lucas Hugo, Trevor Johnson, Riley Knies, Kyle McColl, Marcus McColl and Sam Reece.
Nooksack Valley lost to Anacortes on Monday, 71-38, and to Sehome on Wednesday, 54-40, and finished its season with a 77-47 loss to Ferndale on Friday. The Pioneers’ offense struggled in the second half against Anacortes, scoring only a dozen points. Senior Cody Coppinger had 18 points and a pair of 3-pointers, junior Dawson Kimball had 7 points, senior Gonzalo Campos had 6 points. Against the Mariners, sophomore Ayden Roper led Nooksack with 13 points. Coppinger had 8 and Kimball had 6. Coppinger ended his outstanding high school career with 14 points against Ferndale. Kimball had 13 points and Campos had 9. Seniors: Gonzalo Campos, Alex Clawson, Cody Coppinger and Liam Coppinger.
NORTHWEST CONFERENCE (unofficial final standings)