In a week filled with big games and exciting finishes, it also was a time for many of our boys basketball teams to honor their seniors and to participate in moving tributes as part of the Coaches versus Cancer program.
So thank you to the Class of 2022 and to those involved in the battle against cancer. You are a reminder that high school sports are more than just wins and losses but about making an impact in the lives of not only our student-athletes but on all of us.
Week 9 also gave some clarity to the playoff picture for our 11 boys teams. While all qualify for their respective district tournaments, most of their seedings and playoff schedules are still to be decided.
The official seedings will be done by a committee for each tournament and are expected to be released sometime next Sunday, Feb. 6. RPI rankings and leagues standings will be considered, but because teams play different opponents and so many games have been canceled, committee members will have watched teams to make their final determinations.
For a look back at Week 9 for our county girls team, check out Whatcom Hoops girls recap.
Going into the final week of the regular season, here’s the best guess at where each boys team will be seeded for their district playoff:
LUMMI NATION: The Blackhawks have so far run the table against 1B competition and seem to be getting even better each week as their younger players mature. In this weird season nothing is for certain, but Lummi Nation is probably the closest thing to a sure bet to make it to state. Best guess: First
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN: The Lyncs won’t be going to Yakima undefeated, but unless they are upset twice in the playoffs, Lynden Christian again will be one of the favorites at the state tournament. Best guess: First
BLAINE: The Borderites have been one of the league’s surprises. After a slow start, they’ve won nine of their past 11 games, including their historic win over Lynden. This is a dangerous team aiming to return to state after an 18-year absence. Best guess: Second
NOOKSACK VALLEY: It would be easy to dismiss the young Pioneers because of their record, but they are 4-4 in their last eight games with three of those losses by only three points or in overtime. They will have to pull off a monumental upset to advance to the bi-district crossover, but don’t write them off just yet. Best guess: Third
MERIDIAN: The Trojans never seemed to find their rhythm, in part because of COVID outbreaks during the season that have decimated their team. They face an uphill battle and will need to get hot against favored teams to get through district. Best guess: Fourth
MOUNT BAKER: The Mounties are fighters who have shown their spirit in a difficult season. But like Meridian, they have the toughest road to travel and will probably need to beat three teams that have already beaten them this season if they want to get to the bi-district round. Best guess: Fifth
LYNDEN: The Lions find themselves in a tricky situation. They own the district’s best RPI ranking but face No.2 Lakewood and No.3 Burlington-Edison this coming week so the top three spots are still up for grabs. But Lynden showed how good it can be in beating LC so unless there is a letdown … but I don’t think so. Best guess: First
SEHOME: The Mariners have had a rollercoaster ride this season but are No.4 in the district’s RPI rankings. That means not only hosting a first-round playoff game but theoretically gives them the best chance of knocking off one of the top three, which is what they’ll need to do to make it to state. Best guess: Fourth
SQUALICUM: The Storm have lost seven of their past eight league games — most of them close contests but unfortunately still losses — and will need to turn that around this week against Anacortes and Lakewood if they hope to move into the top six and avoid the first-round loser-out games. Best guess: Seventh
BELLINGHAM: The Bayhawks will finish against two strong teams this week and with Anacortes and Squalicum facing each other, it’s unlikely Bellingham would be able to jump over both the Seahawks and Storm to secure the sixth spot. That means the Bayhawks are almost assured of being in a first-round loser-out game. Best guess: Eighth
FERNDALE: Our hard luck award goes to the Golden Eagles who have lost three starters to injuries or illness. Now Ferndale, which sits at No.9 in the district RPI rankings, will need a little luck if the Golden Eagles are to move up into the top eight and avoid the dreaded loser-out play-in games. Best guess: Ninth
Here are the boys highlights from Week 9.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
There were two great games this week, both involving Lynden. The Lions were on the losing end on Wednesday as Ferndale’s Mark Schlichting hit a 3-pointer in the waning seconds and the Golden Eagles hung on for a stunning 55-52 victory and their first win over the Lions in 14 years. Two days later, it was Lynden’s Dawson Adams who hit the late 3-pointer to give the Lions the 63-60 comeback victory over Lynden Christian and end the Lyncs’ 15-game winning streak.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Junior Bennett DeLange had 36 points for Nooksack Valley on Tuesday and followed that up with 23 points on Saturday. … Lummi Nation senior Tyran Lane had 29 points on Monday and then topped that with 32 points on Friday. … Senior Reed Richardson had 29 points for Squalicum on Friday, three days after hitting for 20 points on Tuesday. … Mathew Storms had 22 points and fellow juniors Grant Kepley and Garrison Grey had 16 points each for Sehome on Friday. … Senior Scott Baldwin led Blaine with 21 points on Wednesday, and along with junior Matthew Russ had 16 points on Thursday. … Senior Davin Beason had 19 points to lead Mount Baker on Tuesday. … Crew Bosman had 19 points and fellow senior Andrew Hommes had 17 points for Lynden Christian on Friday. On Monday, Hommes collected 18 points and junior Tyler Sipma had 16. … Junior Coston Parcher had 17 points for Lynden on Friday, and senior Dawson Adams had 16, including the game-winning 3-pointer. On Wednesday, senior Jordan Medcalf led the Lions with 16 points.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Blaine beat Squalicum on Wednesday, 64-52, and Oak Harbor on Thursday, 58-54. On Wednesday, Baldwin led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points including a pair of 3-pointers, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Russ had 15 points and 8 rebounds, junior Carson Lehnert and senior Cole Thomas had 11 points each with Lehnert sinking a pair of 3s and Thomas scoring nine of his points in a 22-point third quarter that put the Borderites in control. On Thursday, Baldwin and Russ had 16 points each, and Lehnert added 11 with two 3-pointers as the Borderites edged the Wildcats.
Lummi Nation ran its winning streak to 11 by clobbering Providence Classical Christian on Monday, 70-38, and Shoreline Christian on Friday, 77-25. On Monday, Lane had 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks to go along with his game-high 29 points. Eighth-grader Jerome Toby had 15 points, 4 steals and 3 assists; freshman Tony Abrams had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists; sophomore Tobias Francis had 8 points; senior Duncan Toby had 6 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 steals. On Friday, Lane had another great all-around game with 32 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Duncan Toby had a near triple-double with 9 points, 10 assists, 8 steals, and 5 rebounds. Francis had 8 points and 4 rebounds, sophomore Mathias Johnson had 6 assists, and Jerome Toby and Abrams had 7 points each.
Sehome ran its winning streak to four by defeating Meridian on Monday, 65-35, and edging Squalicum on Friday, 69-64. Against the Storm, the Mariners used a 20-point second quarter to take a double-digit lead and then held on at the end to beat their crosstown rivals. Storms led Sehome with 22 points and four 3-pointers and added 6 rebounds for good measure. Garrison had 10 rebounds to go with his 16 points, and Kepley had 6 assists to go with his 16 points. Junior Isaac Lawrence added 8 points, and senior Gavin Ortega had 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Lynden Christian defeated Mount Vernon on Monday, 73-59, and suffered its first loss of the season at Lynden on Friday, 63-60. On Monday, the Lyncs put up a 22-point first-quarter to take the lead and hold off the Bulldogs. Hommes hit a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points in the first period and finished with a game-high 18 points. Sipma had 16 points and went 6-for-6 from the line, junior Griffin Dykstra had 11 points and three 3s, Bosman added 9 points, and seniors Jamison Hintz and William Colwell had 7 points each. On Friday, the Lyncs led almost the whole game but went scoreless in the final three minutes. Bosman and Hommes combined for 36 points with Hommes collecting a team-high 7 rebounds, and Sipma had 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Lynden lost to Ferndale on Wednesday, 55-52, and bounced back to knock off rival Lynden Christian on Friday, 63-60. On Wednesday, Medcalf led the Lions with 16 points, juniors Kobe Baar and Trey Smiley had 10 points each, and senior Kaleo Jandoc and sophomore Anthony Canales had 7 points each. In Friday’s big victory over the Lyncs, Lynden rallied after trailing almost the whole game and outscored LC 8-2 over the final four minutes. Parcher hit seven of eight shots including a pair of 3-pointers, Adams hit four 3s including his game-winner with 18 seconds left, Canales added 12 points, Smiley had 6 points, and Baar had 7 rebounds.
Ferndale upset Lynden on Wednesday 55-52, and lost to Burlington-Edison on Thursday, 55-43. On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles rallied with a 20-point fourth quarter to beat the Lions. Senior Jesse Sapp had a team-high 15 points; senior Jazen Guillory had 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists; senior Mark Schlichting added 8 points; and senior Luke Wells and junior Damian Toney had 6 points each. Sapp also led a barrage of Ferndale 3-pointers with three, while Wells, Guillory and Schlichting had two each. Against the Tigers, Ferndale had its lowest scoring output for the season in part because of an early knee injury that knocked Sapp out of the game. Schlichting had 11 points and three 3s, Toney had 10 points, and Guillory chipped in 6.
Nooksack Valley lost to Burlington-Edison in overtime on Tuesday, 84-74, and defeated Bellingham on Saturday, 50-39. On Tuesday, the Pioneers rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to send the game into OT, but the Tigers hit eight of nine free throws and held Nooksack Valley to four points in the extra period. DeLange’s 36 and three 3-pointers helped the Pioneers score their most points all season. Senior Dawson Kimball had 13 points and three 3s, and freshman Brady Ackerman added 10 points, all in the second half. On Saturday, the Pioneers held Bellingham to six points in the final quarter to hold off the Bayhawks. DeLange hit eight of 10 free throws and had 23 points, Ackerman added 9 points, and freshman Colton Lentz had 6 points.
Squalicum knocked off Snohomish on Tuesday, 64-51, and lost to Blaine on Wednesday, 64-52, and to Sehome on Friday, 69-64. In the non-league victory on Tuesday, the Storm played great team ball as they assisted on 21 of 26 field goals, including five assists by senior Kaleb Hawkinson. Richardson led the way with 20 points; sophomore Peter Albert had 10 points; junior Kyle Heaton was 4 of 4 from the field for 9 points; and senior Leyton Smithson had 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. On Wednesday, Richardson had 12 points, Albert had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Smithson had 8 points and 8 rebounds, and senior Trevor Keeley had 8 points and a team-high 3 assists and 3 steals. On Friday, the Storm rallied from 17 points down to cut the lead to three before falling to their cross-town rivals. Richardson had a game-high 29 points, junior Ashton Engelhart had 11 points, and Albert had 7 points and 11 rebounds.
Meridian lost to Sehome on Monday, 65-35, and to Anacortes on Thursday, 56-28, before beating Sultan in a non-league game on Saturday, 61-59. On Monday, the Trojans only managed 13 second-half points in falling to the Mariners. Senior Owen Hughes and junior Hunter Jones led Meridian with 10 points each, and sophomore Taran Burks hit all six of his free throws for 6 points. On Thursday, the Trojans struggled against the Anacortes defense and had their second lowest point total of the season. Burks had 11 points and a pair of 3s, and freshman Jaeger Fyfe had 6 points. Against Sultan, Burks and junior Amrit Nagra had 11 points to lead the Trojans’ attack. Hughes had 10 points, and fellow seniors Daniel Short and Dan Beck had 7 points each.
Bellingham had its game with Oak Harbor on Tuesday canceled and had its three-game winning streak broken by Nooksack Valley on Saturday, 50-39. The Bayhawks had their second lowest point total of the season, only managing to hit one 3-pointer and only eight of 19 free throws. Wyatt Stephan had 9 points, fellow sophomore Ian O’Roarty had 8 points, and junior Henry Sheldrup was held to 6 points.
Mount Baker fell to Anacortes on Tuesday, 81-35, and to Lakewood on Friday, 71-31. On Tuesday, the Mounties gave up 29 points in the second quarter to fall into a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Beason had a big game with 19 points and junior Landon Smith added 8, but no other Mountie had more than three. On Friday, the Mounties had their second lowest point production of the season. Beason’s 7 points led the team and sophomore Jesse Harward added 6 points.
If you want a game with playoff implications, you’ve got Lynden at Burlington-Edison on Saturday night with the winner expected to earn the top seed in the Class 2A district tournament. If you’re looking for historical significance, join the festivities at Ferndale on Saturday afternoon when the Golden Eagles host Blaine and spend time recognizing and celebrating their final game in the current gymnasium.
Monday, Jan. 31: Sedro-Woolley at Lynden, Mount Baker at Lynden Christian, Sehome at Oak Harbor, Tulalip Heritage at Lummi Nation
Tuesday, Feb. 1: Nooksack Valley at Blaine, Meridian at Lakewood, Anacortes at Squalicum
Wednesday, Feb. 2: Ferndale at Bellingham, Lakewood at Lynden, La Conner at Mount Baker
Thursday, Feb. 3: Lynden Christian at Meridian, Sehome at Nooksack Valley, Lakewood at Squalicum, Fellowship Christian at Lummi Nation
Friday, Feb. 4: Mount Vernon at Bellingham, Mount Baker at Sedro-Woolley
Saturday, Feb. 5: Lynden at Burlington-Edison, Blaine at Ferndale
NORTHWEST 1B CONFERENCE
|Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood)||5||3||5||9|
|Providence Classical Christian||3||5||3||5|
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.