With only two weeks left in the regular season, our 11 Whatcom County boys basketball teams find themselves with the same challenge: earning the highest seeding possible as they head into the postseason.
In part because of COVID’s disruptive effect on teams’ schedules — causing teams to play differing amount of games against different opponents — District 1 decided to have all teams automatically qualify for their respective Class 1B, 1A, 2A and 3A district tournaments.
While the specific times and locations for many of the games have yet to be determined, the formats and dates for all four districts tournament have been decided. Here’s a quick look at what’s ahead.
CLASS 3A: As our only team in this classification, Ferndale is automatically entered in the 16-team tournament with Oak Harbor, Mount Vernon and the WesCo schools. The Golden Eagles are aiming to be seeded in the top eight, which means they would avoid the first-round loser-out games and advance to the double-elimination portion. Starts: Tuesday, Feb. 8 Advancing to state regionals: Top four
CLASS 2A: Lynden, Sehome, Squalicum and Bellingham will join the four Skagit County schools and two WesCo 2A squads in a 10-team tournament. The bottom four seeds will compete in two play-in games to join the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Starts: Wednesday, Feb. 9 Advancing to state regionals: Top three
CLASS 1A: In a completely new set-up, Lynden Christian, Blaine, Nooksack Valley, Meridian, and Mount Baker will have their own league/district tournament. The fourth and fifth seed will play a loser-out game with the winner playing the third seed in a loser-out game with that winner advancing to play the loser of the championship game pitting the the top two seeds with that winner joining the championship game winner in two cross-over games against the District 2 fourth- and fifth-place finishers. OK, it sounds complicated, but the bottom line pretty much is you win you advance, you lose you’re out. Starts: Tuesday, Feb. 8 Advancing to state regionals: The top two District 1 teams must beat District 2 teams to move on to regionals.
CLASS 1B: As our only team in this classification, first-place Lummi Nation is all but guaranteed a spot in the 10-team district semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and with it an automatic spot in the District 1/2/3 tournament. The district championship game is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 10. Tri-district starts: Saturday, Feb. 12 Advancing to state regionals: Top six tri-district finishers.
For a look back at Week 8 for our county girls team, check out Whatcom Hoops girls recap.
Here are the boys highlights from Week 8.
GAME OF THE WEEK
It wasn’t close, but it might have been the most shocking game of the week if not the season. In what shaped up to be a battle among the Northwest Conference leaders, Lynden totally dominated Mount Vernon from the outset and handed the Bulldogs their first league loss, 82-40, on Wednesday.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Reed Richardson had a career-high 32 points for Squalicum on Tuesday. … Tyran Lane led Lummi Nation with 20 points on Monday, 22 on Thursday and 26 on Friday. … Jazen Guillory had 25 points for Ferndale on Friday, and fellow senior Jesse Sapp had 19 points on Saturday. … Lynden Christian senior Andrew Hommes had 23 points on Tuesday. … Senior Jordan Medcalf and sophomore Anthony Canales had 22 and 20 points, respectively, for Lynden on Monday. Medcalf followed that up with 19 points in Wednesday’s big win, and Canales had 24 and Medcalf 20 on Saturday. … Sophomore Wyatt Stephan had 20 points to lead Bellingham on Saturday, and senior Henry Sheldrup had 18 points for the Bayhawks on Monday. … Nooksack Valley junior Bennett DeLange had 20 points in the Pioneers’ only game last week. … Freshmen Jaeger Fyfe and Talon Jenkins had 20 and 19 points, respectively, for Meridian on Tuesday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Lummi Nation ran its winning streak to nine games by beating Lopez Island on Monday, 70-27; Grace Academy on Thursday, 66-41; and Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood) on Friday, 64-25. On Monday, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 21-1 lead and never looked back. Lane led the way with 20 points, junior Richard Wilson had 13 points, freshman Tony Abrams had 12 points, and sophomore Tobias Francis had 10 points. On Thursday, Lane had another great all-around game with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Senior Duncan Toby chipped in with 13 points, 9 assists and 4 steals; Francis had 9 points on three 3-pointers; Abrams had 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists; and eighth-grader Jerome Toby had 3 rebounds and 3 steals. On Friday, Lane had 14 rebounds and 3 steals to go with his 26 points; Jerome Toby had 9 points, 3 steals, and 4 rebounds; Duncan Toby had 7 points, 6 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks, and 5 rebounds; sophomore Mathias Johnson had 6 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals; junior Frank Solomon had 8 rebounds; Abrams had 7 rebounds; and sophomore Desmond Bailey had 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Lynden beat Lake Stevens on Monday, 72-50; handed Mount Vernon its first league loss on Wednesday, 82-40; and topped Arlington on Saturday, 75-45. On Monday, the Lions used a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter, 10 of the points coming from Canales, to wrap up the non-league victory. In Wednesday’s big win, Medcalf led the way with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists; senior Dawson Adams and Canales had 16 points each and combined for 10 rebounds, and junior Coston Parcher had 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. In Saturday’s non-league game, Canales and Medcalf again led the way combining for 44 points, and Adams added 11.
Lynden Christian defeated Anacortes on Tuesday, 83-68, and handed Lakewood its first league loss on Friday, 83-51. On Tuesday, the Lyncs withstood 10 Anacortes 3-pointers by putting up their second-highest point total of the season. Hommes led the way with 23 points, senior Crew Bosman added 16, junior Griffin Dykstra had three 3-pointers and 14 points, and junior Tyler Sipma and sophomore Jeremiah Wright had 9 points each.
Ferndale knocked off Oak Harbor on Monday, 57-46; lost to Mount Vernon on Friday, 56-47; and beat Mount Baker on Saturday, 71-42. On Monday, the Golden Eagles held the Wildcats to four first-period points and put the game away with a 20-point fourth period. Guillory led Ferndale with 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers; sophomore Conner Walcker had 13 points; and Sapp added 9 points. Against the Bulldogs, Guillory had 25 points and senior Mark Schlichting had 12 points on four 3-pointers, but no other Golden Eagle scored more than three points. On Saturday, Sapp led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, including a pair of 3s, Walcker and senior Ethan Lagerwey had 12 points each, and senior Sean Morrison had 9 points after returning to the Ferndale lineup last week.
Sehome lost to North Kitsap on Monday, 81-58, but bounced back to crush Sedro-Woolley on Tuesday, 68-48, and top Mount Baker on Friday, 78-37.
Meridian lost to Bellingham on Monday, 67-30, but came back on Tuesday to defeat La Conner, 77-47. On Monday, the Trojans were missing several starters and had their second lowest scoring output of the season. Junior Hunter Jones led Meridian with 12 points, but no other Trojan had more than four points. In Tuesday’s non-league win, Fyfe and Jenkins combined for 39 points, and senior Bryce Johnson had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Blaine clobbered La Conner on Monday, 72-29, and beat Mount Baker on Wednesday, 67-32. In the non-league victory over the Braves, 13 Borderites scored as Blaine put up its second-highest point total of the season. Junior Lucas Smith led the Borderites with 14 points including four 3-pointers, senior Scott Baldwin had three 3s and 12 points, and junior Carson Lehnert tossed in three more 3s for 9 points. On Wednesday, the Borderites held the Mounties to eight second-half points to secure the win. Junior Matthew Russ led Blaine with 14 points and two thunderous dunks, Lehnert had 13 points and three 3s, and senior Cole Thomas and Smith had 9 points each with Smith collecting a trio of 3-pointers.
Bellingham defeated Meridian on Monday, 67-30, and Squalicum on Saturday, 57-50. On Monday against the short-handed Trojans, Sheldrup dominated inside with 18 points, Stephan had 14 points, senior Jacob Lawson had 12, and sophomore Ian O’Roarty and junior Grayson Stone had 8 points each. On Saturday, the Bayhawks hit four 3s in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Storm. Stephan finished with 20 and a pair of 3s, O’Roarty had 14 points, including two 3-pointers and 10 points in the final period, and Sheldrup had 12 points.
Nooksack Valley lost to Mount Vernon on Monday, 57-48. DeLange led the Pioneers with 20 points, including eight in a 21-point fourth quarter when Nooksack tried to come back. Sophomore Joey Brown had 10 points and joined DeLange with a pair of 3-pointers, and freshman Brady Ackerman had 9 points.
Squalicum lost to Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, 75-60, and fell to Bellingham on Saturday, 57-50. On Tuesday, Richardson made eight 3-pointers to finish with 32 points. Four of the 3s and 14 of the points came in the third quarter. Senior Leyton Smithson added 10 points, and sophomore Peter Albert had 10 rebounds. Against the Bayhawks, senior Trevor Keeley led the Storm with 15 points and 8 rebounds, Smithson and Richardson had 9 points each with Smithson tossing in a pair of 3-pointers, and Albert added 7 points.
Mount Baker fell to Blaine on Wednesday, 67-32; to Sehome on Friday, 78-37; and to Ferndale on Saturday, 71-42. On Wednesday, the Mounties only managed eight points after intermission. Caleb Horsmon led the way with 8 points and fellow senior Davin Beason had 7 points. On Saturday, the Mounties held Ferndale to only seven points in the final quarter but were held to 15 points after intermission themselves and couldn’t make up any ground. Horsmon had 15 points to again lead the Mounties, junior Landon Smith had 9 points, and sophomore Jesse Harward had 7 points.
And here we go again. It’s Lynden vs. Lynden Christian basically for all the Northwest Conference marbles on Friday night at Lynden’s gym — although both have tough games earlier in the week against Ferndale and Mount Vernon, respectively.
Monday, Jan. 24: Mount Vernon at Lynden Christian, Sehome at Meridian, Anacortes at Mount Baker
Lummi Nation at Providence Classical Christian, Sultan at Blaine
Tuesday, Jan. 25: Oak Harbor at Bellingham, Nooksack Valley at Burlington-Edison
Wednesday, Jan. 26: Squalicum at Blaine, Lynden at Ferndale
Thursday, Jan. 27: Blaine at Oak Harbor, Ferndale at Burlington, Meridian at Anacortes
Friday, Jan. 28: Lakewood at Mount Baker, Squalicum at Sehome, Lynden Christian at Lynden
Saturday, Jan. 29: Bellingham at Nooksack Valley, Sultan at Meridian
NORTHWEST 1B CONFERENCE
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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.