With an abbreviated schedule of games because of the holidays, this is a great week to take a look at each team at the halfway point of the regular season.
For the next month, the Northwest Conference and Northwest 1B League will concentrate on conference games as everyone battles for playoff spots. Here’s where all the Whatcom County teams stand after one month.
GAME OF THE WEEK: In the only game between league contenders this past week, Sehome topped Meridian to stay unbeaten in the Northwest Conference. While it showed the Mariners are no fluke, the biggest impact may be how long the Trojans will be without injured star Jolee Sipma.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Aspen Garrison had 19 points in Sehome’s big win over Meridian. … Emily Mellema had 20 points for Lynden Christian in its victory over Mount Baker. … Nooksack Valley’s Jenna Compton had 16 points, and Hallie Kamphouse had 15, including four 3-pointers, in the Pioneers’ triumph over Bellingham … Nichole Adams had 14 points and Leah Austin 13 points and 10 rebounds as Squalicum stormed past Sedro-Woolley. … Alexa Mee had 17 points and three 3-pointers in Bellingham’s loss to Nooksack Valley.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: Lynden stayed unbeaten with a 60-38 win over Anacortes on Saturday. Ruby VanderHaak had 13 points, Anna VanderYacht 12 points, Keylie Hershey 10 points, Liv Tjoelker 9 points, and Madison Canales 9 rebounds. While it’s no surprise the talented Lions are 10-0 and one of the best 2A teams in the state, what’s impressive is that they’ve done it against what is the toughest schedule in school history.
Lynden Christian used its smothering defense to defeat Mount Baker, 76-32, on Saturday as Libby Stump tallied 14 points and Riley Dykstra added 13. With their only loss to a top-ranked 4A school, the young Lyncs have shown they are back in the hunt for another 1A state title.
Ferndale had little trouble in the Golden Eagles’ only game of the week, smothering Lakewood, 74-13, on Friday. Jamie Johnson had 14 points and Chelsey Laplante had 11, and the two combined to go 7-for-7 from the line. The Golden Eagles have overcome a lack of height with a balanced attack and a pressing defense to become one of the NWC’s big surprises at 8-2 and a team getting mentioned among the top 3A teams.
Mount Baker beat Concrete in a non-league contest on Monday, 46-26, as sisters Taite and Ripley Reardon had 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Mounties then fell at Lynden Christian, 76-32, on Saturday with Abby Yost scoring 12 points. Despite losing to three of the top NWC teams early in the season, Mount Baker will have a chance to make some noise as the schedule gets easier and the team jells for the playoffs.
Sehome beat Meridian, 47-41, in an early-season NWC showdown on Friday as Ava Lunny and Jessica Melvin had eight points each. The Mariners are one of the conference’s surprises, going 8-2 and joining Lynden and LC atop the standings. That confidence will be needed as Sehome takes on the rest of the league leaders in the next couple of weeks.
Nooksack Valley used its defense to hold Bellingham to 10 first-half points on Friday as the Pioneers went on to win, 55-39. Maya Galley had 11 points to join Compton and Kamphouse in double figures. Nooksack Valley has used a stifling defense to go 8-2 so far, but the real test will be when the Pioneers face 1A rivals Meridian and Lynden Christian and 2A power Lynden in a three-game span.
Meridian’s 47-41 loss to Sehome on Friday — despite the 14 points of Skyleigh James — proved costly. Not only was it the Trojans’ first league loss, but all-league center Jolee Sipma suffered a concussion. With a lot of new players, Meridian was beginning to blend its talent, and now may have to make more adjustments. Still, this is a team that will be dangerous at playoff time.
Squalicum beat up on Sedro-Woolley, 57-31, on Friday to continue its trend of playing well in conference play. The Storm is 2-1 in the NWC, but now will face the league’s top teams the rest of the way and will need to pull off some upsets to stay in the 3A playoff hunt.
Blaine fell to Burlington-Edison, 75-27, on Saturday. For the young Borderites, it was another learning experience as they look to break into the NWC win column. While beating some of the top teams in the state may prove difficult this season, this is a squad building for the future.
Bellingham couldn’t get much offense going on Friday, losing to Nooksack Valley, 55-39, despite the 12 points and three 3-pointers of Adi McKay. The Red Raiders have a winning record but remain winless in NWC play and will need to find more offense if they want to make it to the district tournament.
Lummi Nation lost to Grace Academy, 34-31, on Thursday for the Blackhawks’ first league loss, and then dropped a non-league contest to Moses Lake Christian, 42-34, on Friday. But Lummi Nation is still in the hunt for a league title, which may come down to a rematch with Grace Academy in the regular-season finale.
Week 5 Standings
NORTHWEST 1B CONFERENCE
|Cedar Park Christian (MLT)||1||3||1||5|
TOP GAME: Lynden Christian is at Ferndale on Wednesday in an early season NWC showdown to see who will stay atop the league standings.
Monday, Jan. 6: Lummi Nation at Lopez
Tuesday, Jan. 7: Blaine at Lakewood, Sedro-Woolley at Nooksack Valley, Bellingham at Lynden, Anacortes at Sehome, Mount Baker at Squalicum
Wednesday, Jan. 8: Burlington at Meridian, Lynden Christian at Ferndale
Thursday, Jan. 9: Lakewood at Mount Baker, Squalicum at Bellingham, Lynden at Sehome, Nooksack Valley at Anacortes
Friday, Jan. 10: Ferndale at Burlington, Meridian at Blaine, Sedro-Woolley at Lynden Christian, Cedar Park Christian (Mountlake Terrace) at Lummi Nation
Saturday, Jan. 11: Squalicum at Friday Harbor
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.