With dangerous weather conditions forcing so many games to be rescheduled, there wasn’t much of a week to recap.
So instead, as the Northwest Conference and Northwest 1B League head into their stretch runs, let’s take a look at where each of our Whatcom County schools stand going into the final three weeks of their regular seasons.
BELLINGHAM (1-4 overall, 7-5 in NWC) is one win away from last year’s regular-season win total with the toughest part of their schedule behind them. The Red Raiders will be looking for another late-season surge as they prepare to face some of the state’s 2A powers in the district tournament. Highlight: The Red Raiders put it all together with a 13-point win over city rival Squalicum.
BLAINE (4-9 overall, 1-5 in NWC) has struggled to find its offense and the young team has taken its lumps in the competitive NWC. The Borderites will be looking to finish strong in league and get some playoff experience in the 2A district tournament. Highlight: The Borderites had one of their best all-around games in defeating Lakewood by 32 points.
FERNDALE (9-4 overall, 4-2 in NWC) has been one of the NWC’s big surprises. Despite graduating much of their offense and height, and having a new coach, the Golden Eagles are on the verge of breaking into the top 10 3A teams in the state. Using a scrappy defense and non-stop cutting offense, Ferndale already has notched several big victories and should collect enough RPI points to get a high seed in the 3A district tournament. Highlight: Handing Nooksack Valley its only league loss so far.
LUMMI NATION (8-5 overall, 7-1 in NWB) has overcome youth (only one senior and two freshmen starters) and the lack of height (only one starter over 5-foot-5) to sit atop the Northwest 1B League standings. The league title will come down to the regular-season finale with Grace Academy, and then it will be time to see if the Lady Blackhawks can take the next step in the playoffs. Highlight: Beating their rival and the league’s third-best team, Tulalip Heritage, not once but twice.
LYNDEN (12-0 overall, 5-0 in NWC) is making its statement as one of the best teams in the state, regardless of classification. The Lions have had a couple of close calls against good teams, but even against the school’s most difficult schedule ever, they are still undefeated and so far unstoppable. The big tests will be Lynden Christian and Burlington-Edison in a three-day span at Jake Maberry Gym. Highlight: More important victories are on the horizon, but beating defending 4A state champion Eastlake on the road was pretty impressive.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN (5-0 overall, 11-1 in NWC) just keeps rolling as seen by a 69-45 victory over 4A Lake Stevens on Saturday thanks to Paige TeVelde’s 18 points. The battle with Lynden will not only be for city and league bragging rights but will prepare the Lyncs for another run at a state title. Highlight: Taking undefeated and No.1-ranked 4A Woodinville down to the wire looks good, but because the Lyncs aren’t into moral victories, let’s go with the 18-point victory over 2A power Burlington-Edison.
MERIDIAN (6-5 overall, 3-2 in NWC) is hard to judge. The young team was just starting to come together when it lost its best player to an injury. Unfortunately, the competitive NWC is not very sympathetic, and the Trojans still have the toughest part of their schedule ahead of them. But when the Trojans are healthy at playoff time, nobody will be looking forward to playing them. Highlight: The Trojans showed how good they can be by demolishing No.8-ranked Bellevue Christian by 39 points.
MOUNT BAKER (7-5 overall, 2-3 in NWC) is one of the youngest teams in the league with only one senior, and, not surprisingly, has found league wins hard to come by. But the Mounties have been gaining valuable experience at the hands of some of the state’s best teams, and don’t be surprised if Mount Baker makes some noise in the district tournament and perhaps beyond. Highlight: A pair of victories over 3A Squalicum.
NOOKSACK VALLEY (10-2 overall, 4-1 in NWC) has been another of the league’s surprises, and this young team is starting to hit its stride. The Pioneers have won seven straight to put themselves among the league leaders, but they will face four of those leaders in the next six games. Time will tell, but don’t be shocked if Nooksack Valley is back in Yakima in March. Highlight: While you get the feeling the best is yet to come, so far the biggest win has been over 1A rival Mount Baker.
SEHOME (9-3 overall, 4-1 in NWC) has to be considered another of the NWC surprises. Thanks to clutch play, the Mariners have won the close ones they needed to win, and are among the league leaders heading into the difficult part of their schedule. Look for Sehome to make some noise at the 2A district tournament, and anything can happen after that. Highlight: Take your pick — a one-point win over Squalicum, a three-point win over Mount Baker or a six-point win over Meridian.
SQUALICUM (3-8 overall, 2-4 in NWC) continues to look at the big picture, and while the victories aren’t coming yet, the Storm is improving. And with several outstanding young players, the big picture is looking better. The hard part is that to make the 3A district tournament, the victories have to come. Highlight: Having one of their best all-around games in beating Blaine by a dozen.
Week 7 Standings
NORTHWEST 1B CONFERENCE
|Cedar Park Christian (MLT)||2||6||2||9|
TOP GAMES: It’s a big week for Nooksack Valley. The Pioneers travel to Meridian on Tuesday in a big 1A showdown and then host first-place Lynden on Friday.
Monday, Jan. 20: Ferndale at Mount Baker, Bellingham at Burlington-Edison, Sedro-Woolley at Blaine
Tuesday, Jan. 21: Nooksack Valley at Meridian, Lynden Christian at Sehome, Squalicum at Lynden
Wednesday, Jan. 22: Lummi Nation at Orcas Christian
Thursday, Jan. 23: Meridian at Ferndale, Anacortes at Lynden Christian
Friday, Jan. 24: Blaine at Mount Baker, Lakewood at Bellingham, Lynden at Nooksack Valley, Sehome at Squalicum, Providence Christian at Lummi Nation
Saturday, Jan. 25: Meridian at LaConner