The 2021 girls basketball season ended Saturday night, June 19, just as it ended last season: with a Whatcom County team cutting down the nets.
This time it was the Nooksack Valley girls, who for fun celebrated their own “state tournament” run of four victories last week by cutting down the nets to complete a great 12-1 season.
The only county team to do better was the same one that cut down the nets in the Class 1A state championship game in 2020: Lynden Christian.
This year, the Lyncs wrapped up an “unofficial” Northwest Conference championship by going 10-0 in league, which included an early-season victory over the Pioneers, and 12-0 overall. The league, however, didn’t recognize official standings or placings due to the unbalanced and limited schedules for all the teams.
Be sure to check out www.WhatcomHoops.com each day this week as we unveil the all-Whatcom Hoops first team, second team and honorable mentions for both boys and girls starting with the girls honorable mentions on Monday. We’ll also have the Best of Whatcom Hoops end-of-the-year awards next Sunday.
Unfortunately, neither the Lyncs or Pioneers or any of the other Whatcom County teams will be able to officially cut down any nets this year because the WIAA canceled all district, regional and state playoffs.
So to all 11 of our teams — including Lummi Nation, which ended its season a week earlier — we say “good-bye” and “thank you” especially to their seniors, who despite the worst conditions, managed to do their schools and programs proud, and leave us with an exciting 2021 girls basketball season.
Here’s our final 2021 recap with each team’s seniors listed:
GAME OF THE WEEK
In a week full of blowouts, Mount Baker and Squalicum had a tense contest to finish off their seasons on Saturday. The host Storm won the defensive struggle, 30-27, but the ending was marred by a knee injury to Mount Baker junior Madelyn Valum. Already down to seven players, the Mounties weren’t able to muster the emotional and physical energy to overcome the Squalicum defense in the final minutes. “I think the emotions and challenges of the year came to a head, and our girls were running on fumes,” said Mount Baker coach Ken McLendon. “The Squalicum team was able to get stops and execute down the stretch. Hats off to them.” Squalicum coach Ray Ootsey praised the impact of his senior posts, Hannah Thurston and Isabella Peters, and said, “It was a tough win for us versus a very well-coached Mount Baker team.”
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Mount Baker sophomore Maddy Barter had 23 points against Burlington-Edison. … Junior Libby Stump had 23 points in Lynden Christian’s season-ending win over Meridian. Senior Lexi Hernandez had a game-high 21 points and three 3-pointers in the Lyncs’ victory over Squalicum. … Blaine junior Hailey Pike had 22 points against Ferndale. … Ferndale junior Kaelee Bungard had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, against Lynden. … Nooksack Valley freshman Devin Coppinger had 18 points against Sehome and 20 against Ferndale. Her junior teammate McKenna Wichers had 18 points in the win over Burlington-Edison.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Nooksack Valley ran its winning streak to 10 by beating Lynden on Monday, 63-48; Sehome on Thursday, 62-36; Burlington-Edison on Friday, 61-50; and Ferndale on Saturday, 61-48. Against Lynden, the Pioneers rallied from a three-point halftime deficit by scoring 20 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Junior McKenna Wichers and freshman Devin Coppinger had 15 points each, with Coppinger tossing in a pair of 3-pointers. Senior Maya Galley had two 3s and 9 points, junior Tehya Moore had two more 3s and 8 points, and sophomore Hallie Kamphouse had 7 points. Against the Mariners, Nooksack’s defense held Sehome to its season-low point total. Coppinger went 8-for-8 from the line and had a game-high 18 points, Wichers had 13 points, and Taylor Lentz came off the bench to score 8 points. A 23-point third quarter helped the Pioneers take control against Burlington-Edison. Wichers led Nooksack Valley with 18 points, Coppinger had 11 with eight coming in the crucial third period, Galley and freshman Lainey Kimball had 7 each, and Kamphouse had 6 points. In the season finale, Coppinger again led the Nooksack attack with 21 points. Kamphouse added 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and Galley and Wichers had 9 points each. Seniors: Jenna Compton and Maya Galley.
Lynden Christian defeated Squalicum on Tuesday, 65-21; Lynden on Thursday, 64-48; and finished its undefeated season with Meridian on Saturday, 79-47. Against the Storm, senior Lexi Hernandez had a game-high 21 points including three 3-pointers in the 27-0 second quarter that blew the game open. Junior Libby Stump had 9 points, senior Kiley Roetcisoender had 8 points, and senior Emily Mellema added 7. The Lyncs broke open the game with Lynden with a 14-0 third-quarter blitz. Lexi Hernandez had 9 of her 13 points during the run, and fellow senior Paige TeVelde hit five 3-pointers to lead the Lyncs with 17 points. Stump added 9 points, and Mellema and junior Alli Van Kooten had 7 points each. LC wrapped up an perfect season by putting away the Trojans with a 28-point fourth quarter. Stump led the onslaught with 23 points as nine of 10 Lyncs scored. Roetcisoender had 12 points with a pair of 3s, Van Kooten had 9 points, and Hernandez and Mellema had 8 points each to end their prep careers. Seniors: Kenadi Fay, Lexi Hernandez, Emily Mellema, Kiley Roetcisoender, Paige TeVelde.
Sehome beat Blaine on Tuesday, 58-42, and ended the season with a loss to Nooksack Valley on Thursday, 62-36. The Mariners jumped up by 10 against the Borderites and held off Blaine thanks to 10 3-pointers. Junior Madeline Schumacher and Kaylee Wilson had three 3s each with Schumacher finishing with a team-high 13 points and Wilson finishing with 9. Junior Ava Collins had two 3-pointers and 11 points, sophomore Mac Cooper had 8 points, and freshman Madi Cooper had 7. The Mariners struggled on offense against the Pioneers with Mac Cooper scoring a team-high 9 points, and juniors Ava Lunny and Schumacher held to 6 points each. Seniors: Aspen Garrison, Haley Henderson and Kaylee Wilson.
Lynden lost to Nooksack Valley on Monday, 63-48; bounced back to beat Ferndale on Tuesday, 57-49; and finished the season with a loss to Lynden Christian on Thursday, 64-48. Against the Pioneers, senior Anna VanderYacht had 11 points and 5 rebounds, junior Sam Villars and sophomore Adia Newcomb had 9 points each and combined for four 3-pointers, and senior Riley Anderson had 8 points and 5 rebounds and was 6-for-6 from the line. Against the Golden Eagles, VanderYacht had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals; Villars and freshman Kalanie Newcomb had 10 points each and combined for four 3-pointers; senior Faith Baar had 8 points and 7 rebounds; and senior Maddie Canales had 6 points and 14 rebounds. In the season finale, the Lions only managed 11 points in the second half as they fell to rival LC. VanderYacht again led the way with 12 points, Canales and Kalanie Newcomb had 9 each, and another freshman, Haylee Koetje, had 6 points. Seniors: Riley Anderson, Faith Baar, Maddie Canales and Anna VanderYacht.
Ferndale lost to Lynden on Tuesday, 57-49; beat Blaine on Thursday, 50-27; and ended its season with a 61-48 loss to Nooksack Valley on Saturday. Against the Lions, junior Kaelee Bungard had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, sophomore Madisyn Butenschoen had 10 points, and seniors Jamie Johnson and Josie Cline had 8 points and 7 points, respectively. Ferndale’s defense limited Blaine to 17 points after the first quarter to secure Thursday’s victory. Junior Hannah Barlean led the Golden Eagles with 11 points and three 3-pointers, Johnson had 10 points, and sophomore Cailyn Kessen had 6 points. In the season finale, Bungard had a team-high 12 points, Kessen and Barlean both hit three 3-pointers for 9 points each, sophomore Ellie Ochoa also had 9 points, and Johnson finished with 7 points. Seniors: Josie Cline and Jamie Johnson.
Meridian lost a non-league contest to La Conner on Monday, 63-57; beat Squalicum on Thursday, 52-30; and finished its season with a loss to Lynden Christian on Saturday, 79-47. On Monday, Class 2B power La Conner scored 40 points in the second half to wipe out the Trojans’ six-point halftime lead. Junior Skyleigh James had a team-high 13 points for Meridian, sophomore Maris Baklund returned after an injury to score 12 points and toss in two 3-pointers, sophomore Avery Neal had three 3s for 9 points, and senior Maddie Bowler and junior Kadance Blankers had 8 points each. Meridian’s defense held Squalicum to single digits in each quarter of Thursday’s contest as the Trojans notched their third straight league victory. Baklund led Meridian with 14 points and two 3-pointers, Bowler had 11 points, and James added 9 points. In the final game, Neal led the Trojans with 11 points and two 3-pointers, James had 10 points, and junior Finnley Claeys and Baklund had 9 points each and combined for three 3s. Seniors: Maddie Bowler and Brynn Neal.
Squalicum lost to Lynden Christian on Tuesday, 65-21, and Meridian on Thursday, 52-30, but ended its season with a 30-27 win over Mount Baker on Saturday. Against the Lyncs, seniors Rachel Heinke and Hannah Thurston had 5 points each to lead the Storm. Freshman Mari Binning led the Storm against Meridian with 12 points on a pair of 3-pointers and a 4-for-4 performance from the line. Senior Isabella Peters added 6 points and Thurston had 5. In the season-ending win over Mount Baker, Binning led the team with 10 points. Peters added 8 points, Thurston had 7, and Heinke had 6. Seniors: Rachel Heinke, Isabella Peters and Hannah Thurston.
Bellingham lost to Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, 69-62, and to Mount Vernon on Thursday, 39-38, but wrapped up its season with a 51-28 thumping of Anacortes on Saturday. On Tuesday, the Red Raiders played their most complete game of the season to take the Tigers down to the wire. Junior Mazy Wright led the way with 18 points, senior Adi McKay had 15 points, senior Alexa Mee had 14 points and each of the trio had two 3-pointers. Sophomore Kristina Jovag added 9 points for Bellingham. In the heart-breaking loss to Mount Vernon, Mee had a game-high 15 points and Jovag added 14 but Bellingham couldn’t hold on to its fourth-quarter lead. The Raiders had a big game from everybody, scoring 23 points in the third quarter to blow out the Bulldogs in the finale. Mee and McKay finished their careers with 16 and 11 points, respectively, and McKay added two more 3-pointers to her school career record. Jovag added 10 points and Wright had 9. Seniors: Adi McKay and Alexa Mee.
Blaine had its three-game winning streak snapped with a loss to Sehome on Tuesday, 58-42, and then finished its season with a loss to Ferndale on Thursday, 51-27. Against the Mariners, junior Hailey Pike kept Blaine in the game with 22 points. Freshman Deja Dube added 11 points and junior Kristyn Kamrath had 7. The Borderites struggled on offense against the Golden Eagles with Pike scoring 11 and Dube adding 6. Seniors: Aurora Fortune and Becca Solomon.
Mount Baker lost to Burlington-Edison on Thursday, 74-46, and finished its season with a loss to Squalicum on Saturday, 30-27. Against the Tigers, Mount Baker started slow with only 15 first-half points before playing even in the second half. Sophomore Maddy Barter had a team-high 23 points and the Mounties’ only 3-pointer. Freshman Jenna Wineinger had 6 points, but no other Mountie had more than five. The Mounties fought through an emotional game with Squalicum (see Game of the Week above), but couldn’t pull off the win. Barter had 13 points to lead Baker, and junior Taite Reardon added 7. Seniors: Petra Allred and Ripley Reardon.
NORTHWEST CONFERENCE (unofficial final standings)