The Northwest Conference powers have started to square off with Lynden and Anacortes remaining unbeaten in league play and Blaine and Lynden Christian heading into a Class 1A showdown this week.
There’s still two more weeks remaining in the regular season and lots of big games still to be played, so it’s too early to determine playoff seeding. But here’s a quick overview of the league/district tournaments:
Class 2A: Barring unforeseen disasters, Anacortes, Lynden, and Sehome are assured of top four seeds and first-round byes. Squalicum and Bellingham are looking to get seeds 5 or 6 to avoid to the play-in games for seeds 7 through 10. The top three district finishers will advance to the state regionals.
Class 1A: All five Whatcom teams qualify for the district playoffs, which are basically a league tourney. The two lowest seeded teams (currently Nooksack Valley and Mount Baker) will play off to join the top three (Blaine, Lynden Christian, and Meridian) in a modified, double-elimination four-team tournament with the two survivors advancing to crossover games against District 2 opponents. The two winners of those bi-district games advance to the state regionals.
Class 1B: Lummi Nation will join the other teams from the Northwest 1B League and the top 1B teams from the Northwest 2B-1B League in a district tournament. If the Blackhawks finish in the top five — and they are undefeated in league play and pretty much guaranteed a top-four seed and first-round bye — they would move on to the 12-team District 1-2-3 tournament with the top six advancing to the state regionals.
Class 3A: The top two Northwest Conference teams will join the top Western Conference squads in a 12-team district tournament. Mount Vernon is guaranteed one berth, and Ferndale would need to jump over Oak Harbor in the final two weeks to secure the other spot.
For a look back at Week 8 for our county girls teams, check out the Whatcom Hoops girls recap later tonight.
Here are the boys highlights from Week 8.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Take your pick: A buzzer-beating putback by senior Trey Smiley on Monday giving Lynden a 52-50 win over North Kitsap; an overtime thriller with Anacortes nipping Sehome on Tuesday, 78-71; or senior Carson Lehnert’s game-winning layup as time expired to give Blaine an exciting 74-72 victory over Burlington-Edison on Friday. Whew! And we haven’t even gotten to the playoffs yet.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Meridian sophomore Jaeger Fyfe had 35 points on Saturday and senior Hunter Jones had 16 points on Tuesday. … Lynden junior Anthony Canales had 30 points on Wednesday and followed that up with 33 on Friday. Senior Coston Parcher added 21 points for the Lions on Friday. …Sehome’s Grant Kepley had 27 points on Tuesday and 16 on Thursday, and fellow senior Grey Garrison had 15 points on Tuesday and 26 on Thursday. … Lummi Nation senior Richard Wilson had 25 points and freshman Jerome Toby had 15 on Thursday. … Blaine junior Noah Tavis (22) and seniors Carson Lehnert (21) and Lucas Smith (20) combined for 63 points on Monday, and Tavis had 17 and Lehnert 16, including the game-winner, on Friday. … Lynden Christian junior Jeremiah Wright had 17 points on Monday and 21 on Thursday. Seniors Griffin Dykstra and Tyler Sipma added 18 and 16, respectively, for the Lyncs on Thursday. … Squalicum’s Ashton Engelhart had 21 points on Thursday and 22 on Saturday, and fellow senior Xander Sledge had 15 on Tuesday, 16 on Thursday, and 21 on Saturday. … Nooksack Valley senior Bennett DeLange had 19 points on Thursday. … Bellingham sophomore Harmon Wienkers had 19 points on Saturday, and junior Wyatt Stephan had 16 points on Monday and 17 on Saturday. … Ferndale senior Damien Toney had 16 points on Wednesday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
LYNDEN nipped North Kitsap on Monday, 52-50; beat Burlington-Edison on Wednesday, 61-51; and mauled Mount Vernon on Friday, 72-52. In Monday’s exciting non-league victory at the ShoWare Center in Kent, the Lions were down much of the second half until outscoring the Vikings, 16-9, in the fourth quarter and winning it on Smiley’s putback at the buzzer. Parcher led Lynden with 14 points and 6 steals, sophomore Brant Heppner had 12 points and 6 rebounds, Kobe Baar and Canales each had 8 points and 5 rebounds despite foul trouble, and Smiley had 10 rebounds in addition to his game-winning bucket. Canales was the star in Wednesday’s win over the Tigers. He had 30 points on 12 of 19 shooting, a pair of 3-pointers, and 8 rebounds as Lynden held a double-digit lead most of the game. Parcher added 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Baar had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. On Friday, the Lions held the Bulldogs’ high-powered offense in check and pulled away in the fourth quarter for the big NWC win. Canales had another big game with 33 points and 9 rebounds, Parcher added 21 points and 4 steals, Heppner had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Smiley had 5 assists.
BLAINE knocked off Mount Baker on Monday, 90-49, and Burlington-Edison on Friday, 74-72. On Monday, the Borderites unleashed a 25-point first quarter and barely slowed down in setting their high-point mark for the season. Tavis had 22 points and a pair of 3-pointers, Lehnert also had two 3s and had 12 of his 21 points in the first-quarter blitz, and Smith had two more 3s and 20 points. Seniors Matt Russ and Lawrence Creasy-Pulphus added 11 and 8 points, respectively, to the onslaught. On Friday, the Borderites jumped out to another big lead but saw the Tigers claw back and eventually tie it up in the final minute. However, after a missed Burlington free throw with a few seconds left, Lehnert snuck behind the defense for the game-winning, fastbreak layup just before the buzzer. Tavis finished with 17 points, Lehnert had 16 points and four 3-pointers, Russ had 14 points, Smith had 10, and Creasy-Pulphus had 8, all in the final period.
LUMMI NATION defeated Providence Classical Christian on Tuesday, 37-34, and clobbered Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood) on Thursday, 72-7. On Tuesday, the Blackhawks sent their junior varsity squad to Bothel and won a squeaker against the Providence varsity. On Thursday, the Blackhawks ran out to a 46-1 halftime lead (yes, you read that correctly) with nine of their players scoring. Wilson led the way with 25 points and three 3-pointers, Toby had 15 points and three 3s, and junior Tobias Francis chipped in with 8 points and two more 3-pointers.
MERIDIAN beat Nooksack Valley on Tuesday, 68-50, and Sedro-Woolley on Saturday, 66-47. On Tuesday, the Trojans put together one of their best games of the season in knocking off the Pioneers in an important Class 1A contest. Jones led the high-powered offense with 16 points, senior Tyrel Brooks and sophomore Talon Jenkins had 14 points each, and Fyfe added 12 points. On Saturday, the Trojans used a 26-point second quarter to take command and never let the Cubs in the game. On offense, Fyfe was nearly unstoppable in the second quarter with four of his five 3-pointers and 16 of his 35 points coming in the crucial period. Jenkins had 10 points and two 3s in the game, and Jones added 9 for the Trojans.
SQUALICUM fell to Sedro-Woolley on Tuesday, 60-32, but bounced back to beat Archbishop Murphy on Thursday, 54-43, and Bellingham on Saturday, 75-62. On Tuesday, the Storm started out cold with only two first-period points and never warmed up in losing to the Cubs. Sledge had 15 points and four 3-pointers to lead the Storm, and junior Peter Albert finished with 11 points all in the second half, but only five Storm players managed to score. On Thursday, the Storm held Archbishop Murphy to 17 first-half points and then held off the Wildcats in the non-league game. Engelhart had 21 points and a pair of 3-pointers, Sledge made three 3s and had 16 points, and Albert had 10 points. In Saturday’s victory over the Bayhawks, the Storm came out smoking with 45 first-half points. Engelhart and Sledge had the hot hands with the former hitting four 3s among his 22 points and the latter hitting five 3s for 21 points. Senior Kyle Heaton added 14 points and sank 7 of 8 free throws, and senior Dylan Jacob had 10 points.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN took care of Oak Harbor on Monday, 58-36, but lost to Sehome on Thursday, 76-64. On Monday, the Lyncs only led by one after the first quarter but then held the Wildcats to 24 points over the final three quarters to secure the win. Wright led the scoring with 17 points, and Sipma and Dykstra added 12 and 8 points, respectively. In Thursday’s showdown with Sehome, the Lyncs kept it close until the final minutes and were outscored 23-12 in the fourth quarter. Wright had 21 points including six points and a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Dykstra had 18 points and Sipma had 16
NOOKSACK VALLEY fell to Meridian on Tuesday, 68-50, and defeated Mount Baker on Thursday, 50-33. On Tuesday, the Pioneers only managed 21 second-half points and couldn’t stop the Trojans from pulling away. Sophomore Colton Lentz had 11 points, sophomore Caden Heutink had 10 points, DeLange and junior Joey Brown both had 8 points and a pair of 3s, and sophomore Brady Ackerman added 8 points. On Thursday, the Pioneers held Mount Baker to 12 first-half points to build up a double-digit lead they held for the rest of the game. DeLange had six of his 19 in the fourth period to help Nooksack ice the game, and Lentz added 11 points, going 5 of 6 from the line and hitting all four of his fourth-quarter free throws.
SEHOME lost to Anacortes in overtime on Tuesday, 78-71, but bounced back to topple Lynden Christian on Thursday, 76-64. In Tuesday’s back-and-forth thriller, the Mariners couldn’t stop Seahawks star Davis Fogle and then only managed four points in overtime. Kepley had 27 points and made 7 of 8 free throws, Garrison had 15 points, and Mat Storms had 12 but it wasn’t enough to offset Fogle’s 40 points and six 3-pointers. In Thursday’s battle, the Mariners pulled away late by outscoring the Lyncs, 23-12, in the fourth quarter to knock off the defending Class 1A state champs. Garrison had 8 of his 26 points in final period, Kepley had 16 points in the game, and senior Dane Dominguez and freshman Nolan Wright had 12 points each. Dominguez and Wright also combined to go 6 for 6 from the line down the stretch when the Lyncs were forced to foul.
BELLINGHAM lost to Lakewood on Monday, 69-62, and to Squalicum on Saturday, 75-62. On Monday, the Bayhawks fell behind by 14 after one quarter and rallied to close the gap but couldn’t catch the Cougars. Stephan’s 16 points led Bellingham, junior Ian O’Roarty added 12 points and three 3-pointers in a 24-point second quarter, and junior Josh Tolle chipped in with 9 points. On Saturday, Bellingham rallied in the second half after falling behind by 22 at the half but couldn’t make up enough ground on the Storm despite a 39-point second half. Wienkers hit four 3s and all three free throws for 19 points, Stephan was 7 of 9 from the line and had 17 points, O’Roarty sank three 3-pointers for 9 points, and junior Satchel Craig had 8 points.
FERNDALE lost to Mount Vernon on Wednesday, 86-51, and Anacortes on Friday, 59-35. On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles had three players in double figures but couldn’t keep up with the high-powered Bulldogs. Toney had 16 points, junior Bishop Ootsey had 14 points, and senior Mathias Johnson had 10. On Friday, the Golden Eagles only managed 13 points in the second half as they fell to the Seahawks. Johnson led the Golden Eagles with 9 points.
MOUNT BAKER lost to Blaine on Monday, 90-49 , and to Nooksack Valley on Thursday, 50-33. On Monday, the Mounties couldn’t slow down the hot-shooting Borderites. Junior Jesse Harward led Mount Baker with 12 points, freshman Carter Hill had 11 points and three 3s, and senior Ethan Larson had 9 points. On Thursday, the Mounties tried to rally from a 15-point halftime deficit with a big third quarter but couldn’t come up with enough offense to catch the Pioneers. Larson and Harward had 8 points each to lead the Mounties.
In a trio of potential playoff previews, Lynden Christian is at Blaine on Thursday in a battle for the Class 1A’s top district seed, and in a pair of clashes between the Northwest District’s top Class 2A teams, Lynden is at Anacortes on Wednesday and Sehome is at Lynden on Friday.
Monday, Jan. 23: Blaine at Mount Vernon, Ferndale at Sehome, Nooksack Valley at Burlington-Edison
Tuesday, Jan. 24: Lakewood at Lynden Christian, Sedro-Woolley at Mount Baker, Oak Harbor at Squalicum, Lummi Nation at Lopez
Wednesday, Jan. 25: Bellingham at Meridian, Lynden at Anacortes
Thursday, Jan. 26: Mount Vernon at Nooksack Valley, Squalicum at Lakewood, Shoreline Christian at Lummi Nation, Lynden Christian at Blaine
Friday, Jan. 27: Mount Baker at Bellingham, Meridian at Oak Harbor, Sehome at Lynden
Saturday, Jan. 28: Anacortes at Blaine, Lynden Christian at Ferndale
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
|Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood)||2||8||2||10|
|Providence Classical Christian||1||9||1||10|