The Northwest Conference and Northwest 1B League returned to league action with some big games but not a lot of close games as only one contest all week was decided by less than 10 points.
The top-ranked Class 1A team in the state, Nooksack Valley, and Class 2A surprise Sehome were the big winners with each collecting three victories last week. Nooksack Valley will be tested again on Saturday when the Pioneers take on Ferndale, which also is unbeaten in league play.
For the Pioneers, two of the wins were against Northwest Conference rivals Lynden and Lynden Christian, and both came by double-digit margins.
For a look back at Week 6 for our county boys team, check out the Whatcom Hoops boys recap later tonight.
The WIAA also unveiled its RPI rankings, which are used to determine playoff seeding in each classification and updated each week. Here are the Whatcom teams ranked in the top 10: Nooksack Valley (#1, 1A), Sehome (#3, 2A), Lynden (#4, 2A), Lynden Christian (#5, 1A), and Lummi Nation (#8, 1B).
For the rankings of all the teams, check out Girls RPI rankings.
Here are the girls highlights from Week 6.
GAME OF THE WEEK
In a rematch of last season’s Class 1A state championship game, Nooksack Valley turned the tables on Lynden Christian with a dominating 66-52 victory on Friday. The Pioneers’ defense shut down the Lyncs and the Nooksack offense built up a 22-point lead before LC closed the gap at the end. Juniors Tana Hoekema and Devin Coppinger led the Pioneers by combining for 39 points to offset the 29 points of Lyncs sophomore Grace Hintz.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Lynden Christian sophomore Grace Hintz had 20 points on Wednesday and then followed that with 29 points on Friday. … Sehome junior Emmy Hart had 29 points on Monday. … Senior Avery Neal had 18 points on Tuesday and 27 on Thursday to lead Meridian, and senior Maris Baklund also had 18 points on Tuesday. … Nooksack Valley junior Devin Coppinger had 25 points on Monday, 17 points on Tuesday, and 19 on Friday. Juniors Lainey Kimball had 16 points on Monday and Tana Hoekema had 20 points on Friday for the Pioneers. … Ferndale senior Madisyn Butenschoen had 20 points on Monday. … Squalicum junior Makayla Heaton had 20 points on Thursday. … Freshman Payton Mills had 17 points for Lynden on Monday and 17 more against Nooksack Valley on Tuesday. … Lummi Nation junior Serena Pantalia had 16 points on Wednesday, and junior Keyonee Morris and eighth-grader Jemma James had 16 points each on Friday. … Blaine junior Deja Dube had 16 points on Monday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
NOOKSACK VALLEY dominated Blaine on Monday, 84-30; beat Lynden on Tuesday, 60-47; and toppled Lynden Christian on Friday, 66-52. On Monday, the Pioneers had a 49-point first half and then held the Borderites to nine second-half points. Coppinger had 21 of her 25 points in the first half; fellow juniors Kimball and Hoekema had 16 and 12 points, respectively; senior Hallie Kamphouse hit two 3s and had 8 points; and sophomore Kate Shintaffer had 7 points. In Tuesday’s battle between NWC leaders, the Pioneers took a 15-point lead early in the second quarter and held it the rest of the way. Coppinger had 17 points, nine of them in the fourth period; Kimball had 11 points; and Kamphouse had 8 points and a pair of 3s. In Friday’s much-anticipated rematch of last year’s state championship game, the Pioneers broke open a close game with a 25-point third period to knock off the Lyncs. Hoekema and Coppinger combined for 39 points and four 3-pointers. Kimball and Kamphouse added 9 and 8 points, respectively.
SEHOME trounced Mountlake Terrace on Monday, 73-47; Oak Harbor on Wednesday, 54-36; and Lakewood on Friday, 74-40. On Monday, Hart had a career-high 29 points and tied her career-high with seven 3-pointers, junior Natalie Brewer had 11 points, and junior Madi Cooper added 10 as 10 Mariners scored. On Wednesday, the Mariners outscored the Wildcats 30-16 in the second half to blow open a close game. Hart had six more 3-pointers and led the Mariners with 20 points. Cooper had a pair of 3s good for 8 points. On Friday, the Mariners held the Cougars to 14 first-half points and quickly made it a rout. Cooper led the balanced Sehome offense with 15 points, senior Madison Hogan had 14, Brewer had 12, senior Mac Cooper had 11, and Hart had 8 with two more 3s.
FERNDALE beat Bellingham on Monday, 51-13, and Oak Harbor on Friday, 51-36. On Monday, the Golden Eagles’ defense held the Bayhawks to two points in the second half to secure the victory. Butenschoen had three 3s among her 20 points, and fellow seniors Cailyn Kessen and Ellie Ochoa added 9 and 8 points each. On Friday, the Golden Eagles enjoyed Senior Night by building a 10-point halftime lead and coasting to victory. Junior Mallory Butenschoen led the balanced offense with 12 points and three 3-pointers, Ochoa had 10 points, and Kessen and junior Maleah Singson had 9 and 8 points, respectively, with two 3-pointers each.
LUMMI NATION clobbered Shoreline Christian on Wednesday, 77-7, and Grace Academy on Friday, 61-14. On Wednesday, all nine Blackhawks scored as Lummi Nation scored the first 34 points of the game and shut out Shoreline Christian in the first and fourth periods. Pantalia led the way with 16 points, senior Aliesha Solomon had 13 points and three 3-pointers, James had 12 points, and senior Raven Solomon and Morris had 10 points each. On Friday, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 26-3 first-quarter lead and their defense only surrendered one field goal in each quarter in shooting down the Eagles. James and Morris led a balanced offense with 16 points each, and Aliesha and Raven Solomon added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
LYNDEN smothered Sedro-Woolley on Monday, 62-18; lost to Nooksack Valley on Tuesday, 60-47; and then beat Bellingham on Thursday, 60-14, and South Delta (B.C.) on Saturday, 79-21. On Monday, the Lions’ defense limited the Cubs to five or fewer points in three of the four quarters. Freshmen Mills and Rian Stephan had 17 and 11 points, respectively, and junior Kalanie Newcomb added 12 points and a pair of 3-pointers. On Tuesday, the Lions played the No.1-ranked Pioneers even the final three quarters but by then were already down by 15. Mills had another big night with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and Newcomb added 13 with another three 3s. The Lions bounced back on Thursday, holding Bellingham to only four points after the first quarter. Nine different Lions scored with junior Haylee Koetje leading the way with 13 points and three 3s, Newcomb adding 10 points, and junior Mya VanderYacht hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 8 points. In Saturday’s non-league game, the Lions weren’t very hospitable to their Canadian neighbors, holding South Delta to only a single free throw in each of the final two quarters. Newcomb led the way with 14 points and four 3-pointers, junior Mallary Villars had 11 points, and senior Adia Newcomb and Mills had 10 points each.
BLAINE lost to Nooksack Valley on Tuesday, 84-30, and defeated Sedro-Woolley on Thursday, 58-42. On Tuesday, Dube hit four 3-pointers in the first half but her 16 points weren’t enough against the No.1-ranked Pioneers. Fellow junior Jordyn Vezzetti added 8 points for the Borderites.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN defeated Mount Baker on Wednesday, 76-23, and lost to Nooksack Valley on Friday, 66-52. On Wednesday, the Lyncs overwhelmed the Mounties 22-1 in the first period and had 10 players score in the rout. Hintz led the assault with 20 points, all in the first half, with senior Demi Dykstra adding 13, including three 3s, junior Tabby DeJong scoring 10, and sophomore Andi Anderson adding 9. In the big showdown on Friday, the Lyncs never got their offense going and couldn’t stay with the Pioneers. Only Hintz was in double figures with 29 points as Dykstra and senior Reganne Arnold were the next leading scorers with 7 points each.
SQUALICUM defeated Mount Vernon on Tuesday, 49-41, and lost to Anacortes on Thursday, 54-40. On Tuesday, the Storm rallied from a seven-point first-quarter deficit to beat the Bulldogs. Juniors Corinthian Stewart and Mari Binning had 11 points each and senior Callie McEachran added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. On Thursday, the Storm only managed 13 first-half points and couldn’t make up the 15-point halftime deficit. Juniors Makayla Heaton had half of Squalicum’s 40 points, Stewart had 8 points, and Binning had 7.
MERIDIAN lost to Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, 57-50; beat Mount Baker on Thursday, 51-32; lost to Mount Vernon on Saturday, 49-34. On Tuesday, seniors Neal and Baklund combined for 36 points but the Trojans couldn’t make up a 10-point halftime deficit. On Thursday, the Trojans used a 16-1 run in the second quarter to pull away from the Mounties. Neal’s 27 points led the way with Baklund adding 7. On Saturday, the Meridian offense got cold as the Trojans scored only two points in the fourth quarter and fell to the Bulldogs. Neal had 8 points and sophomore Brooklyn Fuller had 7 to lead the Trojans.
BELLINGHAM lost to Ferndale on Monday, 51-13, to Lynden on Thursday, 60-14, and to South Whidbey on Saturday, 50-31. On Monday, only three Bayhawks managed to score with freshman Mary Lockhart collecting a team-high 8 points. On Thursday, senior Ellie Wolverton led Bellingham with 9 points, but no other Bayhawk managed more than two. On Saturday, the Bayhawks had their best offensive game of the week but fell short in the non-league game against the Falcons. Junior Genevieve Blum led Bellingham with 10 point,s and sophomore Malia Hanks added 8 points.
MOUNT BAKER lost to Lynden Christian on Wednesday, 76-23; to Meridian on Thursday, 51-32; and to Burlington-Edison on Saturday, 70-32. On Wednesday, the Mounties struggled to score against the defending Class 1A state champs with senior JoJo Lindsey’s 9 points being the highlight. On Thursday, the Mounties only managed three second-period points and couldn’t keep up with the Trojans. Senior Maddy Barter had 12 points, junior Faith Wilson added 9 points, and Lindsey had 8. On Saturday, the Mounties only managed three field goals after halftime as the Tigers pulled away in the second half. Barter had 16 points and Lindsey had 7 points to lead the Mounties.
First place in the Northwest 1B League and the Northwest Conference are at stake this week when the top two teams in the league square off. Lummi Nation is at Tulalip Heritage on Tuesday for the first of two contests against the Blackhawks’ rivals. And Nooksack Valley is at Ferndale on Saturday in a battle between NWC leaders.
Monday, Jan. 9: Anacortes at Lynden Christian, Nooksack Valley at Squalicum
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Bellingham at Oak Harbor, Blaine at Meridian, Lynden at Mount Baker, Lummi Nation at Tulalip Heritage
Wednesday, Jan. 11: Ferndale at Burlington-Edison, Mount Vernon at Sehome
Thursday, Jan. 12: Anacortes at Bellingham, Blaine at Lynden, Lynden Christian at Meridian
Friday, Jan. 13: Squalicum at Mount Baker
Saturday, Jan. 14: Nooksack Valley at Ferndale, Sehome at Sedro-Woolley
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
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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.