In a week filled with big games and buzzer-beaters, it also was a time for many of our girls basketball teams to honor their seniors and to participate in moving tributes as part of the Coaches versus Cancer program.
So thank you to the Class of 2022 and to those involved in the battle against cancer. You are a reminder that high school sports are more than just wins and losses but about making an impact in the lives of not only our student-athletes but on all of us.
Week 9 also gave some clarity to the playoff picture for our 11 girls teams. While all qualify for their respective district tournaments, most of their seedings and playoff schedules are still to be decided.
The official seedings will be done by a committee for each tournament and are expected to be released sometime next Sunday, Feb. 6. RPI rankings and leagues standings will be considered, but because teams play different opponents and so many games have been canceled, committee members will have watched teams to make their final determinations.
For a look back at Week 9 for our county boys team, check out Whatcom Hoops boys recap.
Going into the final week of the regular season, here’s the best guess at where each girls team will be seeded for their district playoff:
LUMMI NATION: The Blackhawks have wrapped up their regular season and with the Northwest 1B League’s best record and a victory over the second-place finisher are a shoo-in for the top seed going into the district tournament and with it a guaranteed spot in the tri-district tournament. Best guess: First
NOOKSACK VALLEY: The Pioneers are probably the only Northwest Conference team that is exactly where they want to be — undefeated in league and, barring two shocking upsets this week, guaranteed the top seed and a home game in the championship round. Best guess: First
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN: With Nooksack Valley pretty much sewing up the league’s top seed, the Lyncs will probably be playing for the all-important second seed — and a spot in the district championship game — when they host Meridian on Friday. Best guess: Second
MERIDIAN: The Trojans are third among the 1A’s Big Three right now, but Friday’s showdown with Lynden Christian is an opportunity to jump the Lyncs and go straight to the district championship game. Best guess: Third
BLAINE: The Borderites have won four of their past five, but are guaranteed of finishing behind the Big Three in the 1A ranks. That will mean having to win three games and pull off two upsets to reach the bi-district crossover games. Best guess: Fourth
MOUNT BAKER: The Mounties are on a high after collecting their first league win, but they will have the steepest hill to climb. They’ll be on the road against teams that either already beat them or are highly ranked or both. Best guess: Fifth
LYNDEN: The Lions own the best 2A RPI rating right now but the determining factor for seeding may be the outcome of Thursday’s game with No.2 Burlington-Edison. Either first or second will guarantee Lynden hosting a first-round game. Best guess: First
SEHOME: Last week’s win at Squalicum might have sewed up a fourth seed for the Mariners, which would mean hosting a first-round district game. Their probably opponent? Squalicum. Best guess: Fourth
SQUALICUM: The loss to Sehome last Thursday will probably prevent the Storm from getting into the top four, but unless they are upset by both Anacortes and Lakewood in their final two games, Squalicum shouldn’t have to worry about falling into the loser-out play-in games. Best guess: Fifth
BELLINGHAM: The Bayhawks have been playing much better later in the season, but an early-season loss to Anacortes could cost them a chance to get into the top six and avoid the loser-out, play-in games. Best guess: Seventh
FERNDALE: Despite a couple of tough losses last week, the Golden Eagles are assured of finishing in the top eight and advancing straight to the double-elimination round. However, they may not be able to finish in the top four and host a playoff game. Best guess: Sixth
Here are the girls highlights from Week 9.
GAME OF THE WEEK
If you like exciting finishes, you can’t beat Wednesday’s Blaine-Squalicum game. Down by eight midway through the fourth quarter, the Borderites cut it to one with 17 seconds left. When they got the ball back, they set up a play for senior Krystin Kamrath, who nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Blaine the exciting 38-36 victory.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Maddy Barter had 19 points on Monday and followed that with 28 points in Mount Baker’s win on Thursday. … Sophomore Devin Coppinger had 26 points on Wednesday. … Sophomore Deja Dube had 20 points in Blaine’s exciting win on Wednesday, and senior Hailey Pike led Blaine with 19 on Friday. … Senior Claire DeVries had 19 points to lead Lynden on Tuesday, and sophomore Mallary Villars had 15 points on Thursday. … Lynden Christian senior Libby Stump had 19 points on Monday and again on Thursday, and freshman Grace Hintz added 18 points in the Lyncs’ win on Thursday. … Meridian’s Ellie DeWaard had 16 points on Monday and joined fellow senior Skyleigh James with 16 points on Saturday. … Senior Mazy Wright led Bellingham with 16 points on Wednesday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Nooksack Valley defeated Burlington-Edison on Wednesday, 50-38, and Bellingham on Thursday, 66-20. On Wednesday, the Pioneers had to play without head coach Shane Wichers who was out due to COVID protocols, but rallied in the second half to give assistant Erica Van Dyken her first victory. In addition to Coppinger’s 26 points, Tehya Moore had 7 and fellow seniors McKenna Wichers and Ellie Van Berkum had 5 each. On Thursday, the Pioneers held the Bayhawks to only six first-half points to secure the victory. Coppinger had 15 points, junior Hallie Kamphouse had 13 with a trio of 3-pointers, Van Berkum had a pair of 3s and 10 points, sophomore Tana Hoekema added 8 points, and Moore and junior Taylor Lentz had 6 each.
Lummi Nation defeated Shoreline Christian twice to run the Blackhawks’ winning streak to six games. They won on the road on Monday, 59-25, and won at home on Friday, 58-43.
Lynden Christian ran its win streak to eight games by pummeling Mount Vernon on Monday, 85-40, and beating cross-town rival Lynden on Thursday, 65-47. On Monday, the Lyncs scored 51 points in the first half and finished with their second-highest point total of the season. All 11 Lyncs scored with Stump’s 19 leading the way. Junior Demi Dykstra had 13, Hintz had 12, senior Alli Van Kooten had 8, senior Charley Dykstra and junior Reganne Arnold had 7 each, and juniors Daisy Poag and Kristin Fay had 6 each. In Thursday’s big game before a sell-out crowd, the Lyncs used a 26-point second quarter to take control and used their depth to fend off the Lions the rest of the way. Stump and Hintz led the Lyncs with 19 and 18 points, respectively, and Van Kooten had 10 points.
Meridian defeated Sehome on Monday, 51-39, and Anacortes on Saturday, 38-24. In Monday’s win, the Trojans used a 14-0 run to start the second half and take command. DeWaard hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Junior Avery Neal added 13 points, including a pair of 3s, and sophomore Allie Richter had two 3s to join senior Skyleigh James with 6 points each. On Saturday, DeWaard and James dominated inside scoring 16 points each with DeWaard adding 7 rebounds. Senior Kadance Blankers added 7 rebounds and 3 steals as the Trojans held the Seahawks to seven first-half points and their second lowest point total of the season.
Blaine beat Squalicum on Wednesday, 38-36, and Oak Harbor on Friday, 42-24. On Wednesday, Dube had a game-high 20 points with two of her four 3-pointers and eight of her points coming in Blaine’s fourth-quarter comeback. In addition to her game-winning 3-pointer, Kamrath finished with 10 points, and fellow senior Hailey Pike had 6 points. On Friday, the Borderites pounced on the Wildcats to take an 18-5 first-quarter lead and were never threatened. Pike led Blaine with 19 points and 8 rebounds; Kamrath had 8 points, 7 rebounds, and a pair of 3-pointers; Dube had 8 points and 4 steals; and sophomore Jordyn Vezzetti had 7 rebounds.
Lynden defeated Ferndale on Tuesday, 60-49, and lost to Lynden Christian on Thursday, 65-47. On Tuesday, the Lions used a 19-point fourth quarter to pull away from the Golden Eagles. DeVries, Lynden’s only senior, hit three 3-pointers and had a game-high 19 points. Junior Adia Newcomb added 13 points and a pair of 3s, Villars had 12 points and two 3s, sophomore Haylee Koetje had 8 points, and junior Chloe Wittenberg had 6 points. In Thursday’s big intra-city rivalry, Villars slashed her way to a team-high 15 points, Newcomb hit a pair of 3-pointers and had 12 points, and Koetje added another dozen points.
Sehome lost to Meridian on Monday, 51-39; defeated Squalicum on Thursday, 41-33; and had its non-league game with King’s on Saturday canceled. On Monday, senior Maddie Schumacher hit all eight of her free throws and finished with a team-high 11 points. Sophomore Macie Aven added 9 points, and sophomore Natalie Brewer and junior Mac Cooper had 7 points each. On Thursday, Schumacher starred on an emotional night when her mother was honored during the Coaches versus Cancer presentation. Schumacher not only had a game-high 13 points, but made six of the Mariners’ eight points in the final period to hold off the Storm. Sophomore Madi Cooper added 12 points and a pair of 3-pointers, and senior Ava Lunny had 6 points and teamed with Brewer to lead the Mariners’ stingy defense.
Mount Baker lost to Anacortes on Monday, 55-50, and notched its first league win on Thursday, beating Lakewood, 40-36. On Monday, the Mounties fell behind by 20 but rallied in the second half before coming up short. Barter led the rally and finished with a game-high 19 and a pair of 3-pointers, but she got a lot of help. Sophomore Lauren Valum had three 3s and 13 points, and senior Tate Reardon, junior JoJo Lindsey and sophomore Jenna Wineinger had 6 points each. On Thursday, the Mounties rallied after scoring only 12 points in the first half, all by Barter. She completed her 28-point game by sinking the game-winning 3-pointer to break a tie in the final minute, and Reardon finished the scoring with a free throw to give her 10 points, all in the second half.
Bellingham beat Oak Harbor on Wednesday, 40-30, and lost to Nooksack Valley on Thursday, 66-20. On Wednesday, the Bayhawks used an 11-0 run at the start of the second quarter to take the lead and outscored the Wildcats 19-8 to finish the game and wrap up the victory. Wright led the way with 16 points, four 3-pointers, 5 steals, and 4 assists; junior Ellie Wolverton added 11 points, a pair of 3-pointers, and 4 steals; senior Kaycee French had 7 points and 5 steals; and sophomore Genevieve Blum had 6 points, 4 steals, and a game-high 7 rebounds. Against the No.1-ranked Pioneers, only Wright had more than three points, scoring half of Bellingham’s 20 points and hitting a pair of 3-pointers.
Ferndale fell to Lynden on Tuesday, 60-49, and to Burlington-Edison on Saturday, 56-37. On Tuesday, sophomore Maleah Singson led a balanced Ferndale attack with 13 points and a pair of 3-pointers, sophomore Mallory Butenschoen added 9 points, junior Ellie Ochoa had 8, junior Ashley Lang had 7, and junior Madisyn Butenschoen and sophomore Tia Gilday had 6 each. On Saturday, the Golden Eagles managed only 23 points over the final three periods and had their second lowest point total of the season. Mallory Butenschoen had a team high 9 points, Madisyn added 7 points, and junior Melissa Blanke and Gilday had 6 points each.
Squalicum lost to Blaine on Wednesday, 38-36, and to Sehome on Thursday, 41-33. In Wednesday’s heart-breaking loss, sophomore Mari Binning had 14 points, junior Callie McEachran had 9 points, and sophomore Caitlyn Richardson added 6 points. Thursday was Coaches versus Cancer night and Squalicum senior Jenna Lewis’s late mother was honored by the Storm. Squalicum kept it close throughout the game, but could only score five points in the final quarter. Binning had 12 points to lead the Storm, McEachran had 10 points, and junior Shelby Smithson added 6.
Four of the Northwest Conference’s top teams will clash in two games that could determine important seeding for their upcoming district tournaments. Burlington-Edison travels to Lynden on Thursday with the 2A’s top seed on the line and Meridian is at Lynden Christian on Friday with the winner expected to get the 1A’s second seed and a berth in the district title game.
Monday, 31: Lynden at Sedro-Woolley, Lynden Christian at Mount Baker, Oak Harbor at Sehome, Blaine at Anacortes
Tuesday, Feb. 1: Bellingham at Ferndale
Wednesday, Feb. 2: Blaine at Nooksack Valley, Lakewood at Meridian, Squalicum at Anacortes
Thursday, Feb. 3: Bellingham at Mount Vernon, Ferndale at Blaine, Burlington-Edison at Lynden, Sedro-Woolley at Mount Baker
Friday, Feb. 4: Meridian at Lynden Christian, Squalicum at Lakewood
Saturday, Feb. 5: Sedro-Woolley at Blaine, Nooksack Valley at Sehome
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.