It’s the final week of the regular season for the Northwest Conference and Northwest 1B League and while the playoff seeding has begun to shake out after some important games last week, not everything has been decided.
When the Class 2A playoffs tip off, all 10 teams in the District 1 will qualify for the double-elimination district tournament with seeds 7 through 10 playing loser-out play-in games.
Lynden and Sehome are guaranteed of top-four spots and home games in the first round, although the order won’t be determined until after big contests next Friday and Saturday. Squalicum is assured of a top-six seed, which means avoiding a play-in game, but Bellingham will be in the play-in round, which is on Feb. 8.
The Class 1A’s new district format will have top seeds Nooksack Valley and Lynden Christian in the double-elimination semifinals. Meridian has the edge over Mount Baker for the third seed, which would also earn the Trojans a semifinal spot, with the Borderites having to play Mount Baker in a loser-out play-in game on Feb. 6.
Ferndale currently is the seventh in the Class 3A seedings and is guaranteed a spot in the district tournament. The Golden Eagles have an outside shot at a top-four finish and earning a first-round bye, but more likely will finish between fifth and eighth, which would mean hosting a first-round, loser-out contest on Feb. 8.
By winning the Northwest 1B League, Lummi Nation will host a District 1 semifinals on Feb. 7. More importantly, win or lose, the Lady Blackhawks will automatically advance to the District 1-2-3 tournament.
For a look back at Week 9 for our Whatcom boys teams, check out Whatcom Hoops boys recap.
Here are the girls highlights from Week 9.
GAME OF THE WEEK
In another week with very few close games, Squalicum fell way behind early but outscored Oak Harbor, 22-7, in the fourth quarter to pull out the 42-37 victory on Tuesday. Junior Makayla Heaton had two of her three 3-pointers and nine points in the fourth-quarter rally, and senior Callie McEachran also had two of her three 3s in the fourth-period comeback.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Nooksack Valley junior Devin Coppinger had 24 points on Monday and then topped that with 32 on Thursday. Senior Hallie Kamphouse added 15 points for the Pioneers on Thursday. … Junior Jordyn Vezzetti had 25 points for Blaine on Saturday. … Sehome juniors Madi Cooper and Emmy Hart had 24 and 18 points, respectively, on Monday. … Meridian junior Malia McCauley had 24 points on Wednesday. … Sophomore Grace Hintz and senior Daisy Poag had 23 points each for Lynden Christian on Tuesday, and Hintz had 16 more on Thursday. … Juniors Makayla Heaton and Mari Binning had 22 and 18 points, respectively, for Squalicum on Thursday, and Heaton had 16 on Saturday. … Freshman Mary Lockart had 20 points for Bellingham on Wednesday, and Genevieve Blum had 15 points on Friday. … Mount Baker senior Maddy Barter had 18 points on Monday. … Lynden freshman Payton Mills had 17 points on Friday. … Ferndale senior Cailyn Kessen had 16 points on Monday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN defeated Lakewood on Tuesday, 73-33; Blaine on Thursday, 67-25; and Ferndale on Saturday, 53-38. On Tuesday, the Lyncs started slow but used a 28-4 third quarter to blow away the Cougars. Poag and Hintz combined for 46 points with Poag hitting seven 3-pointers and Hintz sinking four, and senior Demi Dykstra added 13 points. On Thursday, LC jumped to a 45-11 lead at the half allowing 10 of the 13 Lyncs to get in the scoring column as. Hintz led the way with 16 points, Poag had 12 with a pair of 3s, Dykstra had 9 points, and sophomore Allison Shumate had 8. On Saturday, the Lyncs were in a first-half battle and only led by three before holding the Golden Eagles to 16 second-half points and pulling away. Dykstra had 16 points and and Hintz had 14 to lead LC, which went 14 of 15 from the line thanks to Dykstra making 8 of 9.
LYNDEN demolished Anacortes on Wednesday, 61-29, and shocked Sehome on Friday, 62-32. On Wednesday, the Lions’ defense grounded the Seahawks by limiting them to 17 points over the final three periods. Junior Kalanie Newcomb led a balanced Lynden attack with 14 points and three 3s, freshman Payton Mills had 12 points,, and junior Mya VanderYacht had 8 points and two 3-pointers. On Friday, the Lions used a 22-2 run in the third quarter to dominate the second half of the 2A showdown with Sehome. Mills was a tower of power inside with 17 points, senior Adia Newcomb and junior Haylee Koetje had 12 points and two 3s each, and Kalanie Newcomb had 9 points all on 3-pointers.
NOOKSACK VALLEY beat Burlington-Edison on Monday, 65-36, and dominated Mount Vernon on Thursday, 85-30. On Monday, the Pioneers cooled off one of the NWC’s hottest teams by holding the Tigers to 14 second-half points. Coppinger led the offense with 24 points, Kamphouse had 11 points thanks to three 3s, and senior Taylor Lentz and junior Lainey Kimball had 8 points each. On Thursday, the Pioneers put up their highest point total of the season and made it a blowout by limiting the Bulldogs to eight points in the second half. Coppinger ended up outscoring Mount Vernon with 32 points including four 3s. Kamphouse had four 3s and 15 points, Kimball had a pair of 3s and 12 points, and junior Kaylee Anderson had two more 3s and 8 points.
LUMMI NATION blasted Lopez on Tuesday, 65-20, and Grace Academy on Saturday, 56-30. On Tuesday, senior Aliesha Solomon led the Lady Blackhawks with 22 points with junior Serena Pantalia adding 13, eighth-grader Jemma James adding 12, and senior Raven Solomon adding 8. On Saturday, the Blackhawks clinched the league title by jumping to a big lead and never letting the Eagles off the ground. Junior Keyonee Morris led the balanced attack with 14 points, James had 13, Aliesha Solomon and Pantalia had 10 each, and Raven Solomon had 9.
SQUALICUM overcame Oak Harbor on Tuesday, 42-37; clobbered Lakewood on Thursday, 72-46; and lost to Burlington-Edison on Saturday, 47-33. On Tuesday, the Storm only scored four points in the first period and were down by 10 going into the fourth quarter before pulling out the victory. Heaton had 14 points and three 3-pointers, McEachran also had three 3s and finished with 11 points, and Binning added a pair of 3s and 8 points. On Thursday, the Storm unleashed its season-high point total in overwhelming the Cougars. Eight of the nine Storm players scored with Heaton having a career-high 22 points and four 3-pointers, Binning making 18 points and three 3s, and junior Caitlyn Richardson collecting 13 points. On Saturday, the Storm couldn’t get their offense going, managing only 19 points through the first three quarters. Heaton had 16 points, including seven in the third period when the Storm rallied to within eight, and McEachran had 8 points with the two of them hitting a pair of 3-pointers each.
BELLINGHAM lost to Meridian on Wednesday, 49-36, but beat Mount Baker on Friday, 41-24. On Wednesday, the Bayhawks struggled in the first half with only two players scoring the team’s 13 points and they couldn’t make up the 14-point deficit. Lockhart had 20 points and eight of the team’s 13 field goals, and sophomore Malia Hanks added 10 points and made all six of her free throws. On Friday, the Bayhawks started slow with only 16 points in the first half but pulled away after halftime. Blum had nine of her game-high 15 points in the crucial third quarter, Lockhart added 10 points, and freshman Lily Jude added 8 points.
MERIDIAN beat Bellingham on Wednesday, 49-38, but lost to Oak Harbor on Friday, 42-30. On Wednesday, the Trojans held Bellingham to 13 first-half points and only allowed four Bayhawks to score. McCauley was deadly from outside with five 3-pointers among her 24 points, sophomore Brooklyn Fuller had 10 points, and senior Maris Baklund had 8 points and a pair of 3s. On Friday, the Trojans were only down by one at the half but a two-point third quarter proved their downfall. Junior Savannah Storgaard had a team-high 11 points and Baklund added 8, but no other Trojan had more than five points.
MOUNT BAKER stopped Sedro-Woolley on Tuesday, 46-39, but lost to Bellingham on Friday, 41-24. On Monday, the Mounties overcame adversity to win their second NWC game in their last three contests. With their leading inside player unable to play and leading scorer Barter injured in the fourth quarter, the Mounties rallied behind freshman Natalie VanLiew and senior Hailey Abitia to hold off Sedro. Barter had 18 points before leaving with an injury, but VanLiew had three 3s and scored six of her 13 points in the final period, and Abitia had a career-high 10 points. On Friday, the Mounties used their defense to keep the game close until the fourth quarter but struggled offensively without Barter. VanLiew continueed her stellar play with 10 points and junior Faith Wilson had 8 points, but the rest of the team only managed six points.
SEHOME defeated Ferndale on Monday, 64-56, but lost to Lynden on Friday, 62-32. On Monday, the Mariners used a 26-point first quarter to sail out to a 17-point lead and then hold off the Golden Eagles’ comeback. Cooper had three 3-pointers and 11 of her 24 points in the first-period blitz, Hart had 18 points and four 3s including two in the first quarter, and junior Natalie Brewer added 9 points. In Friday’s big 2A showdown, the Mariners never solved Lynden’s man-to-man defense and were held to nearly a season-low point total and only one 3-pointer. Cooper had 13 points and senior Madison Hogan had 12, but no other Mariner had more than three points.
FERNDALE lost to Sehome on Monday, 64-56, and to Lynden Christian on Saturday, 53-38. On Monday, the Golden Eagles fell behind by 17 after one period and couldn’t make up the difference despite a 20-point fourth-quarter comeback. Kessen led the way with 16 points and four 3-pointers, senior Madisyn Butenschoen had 11 points, and senior Ellie Ochoa and junior Mallory Butenschoen had 10 points each. On Saturday, the Golden Eagles went toe-to-toe with LC in the first half and only trailed by three but could only manage 16 points in the second half in falling to the Lyncs. Mallory Butenschoen led the way with 18 points and four 3-pointers, and Ochoa had 10 points and a pair of 3s, but only four Golden Eagles scored in the game.
BLAINE lost to Mount Vernon on Monday, 63-40; to Lynden Christian on Thursday, 67-25; and to Anacortes on Saturday, 61-36. On Monday, the Borderites trailed by double digits after scoring only four points in the first quarter. The juniors led the way with Vezzetti collecting 14 points and two 3-pointers, Deja Dube having 13 points, and Alia Ball scoring 8 points. On Thursday, the Borderites opened the scoring with a 3-pointer but then couldn’t hold off the two-time defending Class 1A state champs. Vezzetti had 12 points to lead the Borderites. On Saturday, the Borderites got off to another slow start with only four points in the first quarter. Vezzetti continued her stellar play with 25 points, but she was the only Borderite who managed to score more than five points.
The regular season wraps up next weekend with a pair of important NWC games that have playoff implications as Sehome travels to Nooksack Valley on Friday night, and Lynden is at Lynden Christian on Saturday afternoon.
Monday, Jan. 30: Meridian at Lakewood, Mount Baker at Oak Harbor, Tulalip Heritage at Lummi Nation
Tuesday, Jan. 31: Burlington-Edison at Bellingham, Sehome at Blaine, Ferndale at Lynden
Wednesday, Feb. 1: Lynden Christian at Squalicum, Anacortes at Nooksack Valley
Thursday, Feb. 2: Lakewood at Mount Baker, Blaine at Ferndale
Friday, Feb. 3: Squalicum at Meridian, Sehome at Nooksack Valley
Saturday, Feb. 4: Bellingham at Mount Vernon, Lynden at Lynden Christian
NORTHWEST 1B LEAGUE
|Cedar Park Christian (Lynnwood)||2||7||2||9|
|Providence Classical Christian||1||6||2||7|
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.