With dangerous weather conditions forcing so many games to be rescheduled, there wasn’t much of a week to recap.
So instead, as the Northwest Conference and Northwest 1B League head into their stretch runs, let’s take a look at where each of our Whatcom County schools stand going into the final three weeks of their regular seasons.
BELLINGHAM (3-9 overall, 0-5 in NWC) has had trouble coming up with enough offense to keep up in the competitive Northwest Conference. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Red Raiders as they face three of the league’s top four teams this coming week. Highlight: Beating arch-rival Sehome in the Red Raiders’ opener. Unfortunately for Bellingham, it was a non-league contest.
BLAINE (8-5 overall, 2-4 in NWC) has had a roller-coaster season, which isn’t surprising from a young but talented team. Last-minute losses to Lakewood and Meridian may keep the Borderites from a district bye, but they could be riding into the playoffs on a high note. Highlight: The five-game winning streak to start the season when the Borderites averaged 80 points a game was great, but Tuesday’s 70-61 victory over a good Ferndale team has to be at the top as Zane Rector went off for 31 points and Josh Russ had 17.
FERNDALE (7-6 overall, 2-4 in NWC) has been one of the NWC’s biggest surprises. Despite graduating almost the whole team and having no one over 6-foot-2, the Golden Eagles have played everybody tough. Unfortunately, close-but-no-win won’t help them get into the Class 3A Northwest District playoffs, which are decidedly weighted toward the Wesco Conference. Highlight: The overtime victory over 3A rival Squalicum.
LUMMI NATION (12-2 overall, 8-0 in NWB) has been playing like one of the state’s top Class 1B teams, dominating its league opponents and suffering only two losses, both to schools several classifications larger. If their young players continue to improve, the Blackhawks could be making another memorable state tournament run.
Highlight: Take your pick — beating Tulalip Heritage by 43, Grace Academy by 42 or Cedar Park Christian by 31. And those are the next three best Northwest 1B teams.
LYNDEN (10-1 overall, 5-0 in NWC) is no longer a surprise. The new-look Lions stand atop the NWC and have won 10 straight after barely losing to a good 3A squad in their season opener. Showdowns with Burlington-Edison and Lynden Christian are still to come, but the two-time defending state champs won’t be giving up their crown easily.
Highlight: Normally, wins over two 4A schools would be at the top, but scoring 97 against Bellingham and holding Sehome to 17 in back-to-back games is pretty impressive.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN (8-3 overall, 4-1 in NWC) seems to be one of those dangerous teams you don’t want to meet later in the season. The Lyncs took top-ranked 2A Burlington to overtime, and just beat another 1A contender, LaCenter, in OT on the road Saturday thanks to 29 points from Bryce Bouwman. They’ll know where they stand when they face Nooksack Valley, Lynden and Meridian in a four-game stretch.
Highlight: Scoring 89 in a shoot-out win over Ferndale.
MERIDIAN (8-3 overall, 3-2 in NWC) is another of the short NWC teams playing over their heads, and with a veteran club that just missed state last year, the Trojans are right in the mix of ranked 1A teams with LC and Nooksack Valley. But Monday’s game against the Pioneers is the first of several big tests to see how ready Meridian is for the playoffs.
Highlight: The two wins in the SunDome holiday tournament were fun, but the league victory over Blaine may end up being bigger.
MOUNT BAKER (3-9 overall, 0-5 in NWC) has struggled against the difficult league schedule, but the Mounties have continued to improve and have the easier half of their schedule ahead of them. The Mounties also are guaranteed a spot in the district tournament and will be looking to make some noise against their peers.
Highlight: It was only a non-league game, but notching an 88-39 victory over Summit Sierra in their last game was a great start to the second half of the season.
NOOKSACK VALLEY (9-3 overall, 3-2 in NWC) is in the same boat as Meridian. The veteran Pioneers have played well all season and will be battling for a state berth in February. But they face the meat of their schedule starting Monday with the Trojans, and will need to step up another level when facing the upcoming ranked foes.
Highlight: Their last game, a victory over a tough Anacortes squad, kept them in the hunt for a top seed in the the district tournament.
SEHOME (5-7 overall, 2-3 in NWC) has been streaky all season — again, not surprising from a young and inexperienced squad. The Mariners’ four-game winning streak showed how well they can play, but they’ve dropped their last three with the NWC leaders still to come.
Highlight: Without a doubt, beating arch-rival Bellingham by 21 points and avenging a season-opening loss.
SQUALICUM (6-7 overall, 3-3 in NWC) has been in every league game so far but now has the toughest remaining schedule, including the top six teams in the standings. Monday’s 47-43 loss to Anacortes — despite the Leland Zender’s 15 points and 9 rebounds, Devante Powell’s 14 points, and Dedrick Mitchell’s 12 points and 8 assists — didn’t help. And the Storm faces the same Wesco Conference bias that Ferndale faces when it comes to the 3A district. Highlight: Beating city rival Bellingham by 31.
Week 7 Standings
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
|Cedar Park Christian (MLT)||6||3||8||7|
TOP GAME: Meridian is at Nooksack Valley on Monday in a Northwest Conference contest that will be important in determining 1A playoff seeding.
Monday, Jan. 20: Mount Baker at Ferndale, Burlington-Edison at Bellingham, Meridian at Nooksack Valley
Tuesday, Jan. 21: Blaine at Sedro-Woolley, Sehome at Lynden Christian, Lynden at Squalicum
Wednesday, Jan. 22: Lynden Christian at Bellingham, Sultan at Meridian, Lummi Nation at Orcas Christian
Thursday, Jan. 23: Mount Baker at Blaine, Bellingham at Lakewood, Nooksack Valley at Lynden, Squalicum at Sehome
Friday, Jan. 24: Ferndale at Meridian, Lynden Christian at Anacortes, Providence Christian at Lummi Nation