In the wake of the cancellation of much of the spring sport
season, and the next six weeks of the school year, I offer you this
rehash of the 2020 1A/2A State Basketball Tournament. Which, by the
way, we eked out by just a few days.
The compilation of my season stats goes like this: 79 games
seen; 36 straight state tournaments attended; and my second
straight trip to Yakima without a hospital stay.
In the wake of the cancellation of much of the spring sport season, and the next six weeks of the school year, I offer you this rehash of the 2020 1A/2A State Basketball Tournament. Which, by the way, we eked out by just a few days.
The compilation of my season stats goes like this: 79 games seen; 36 straight state tournaments attended; and my second straight trip to Yakima without a hospital stay.
The teams that emerged as the 1A and 2A boy’s champions were the two teams that I had predicted by mid season. Well, I it was more softly spoken, under my breath, but they certainly weren’t a surprise. 2A champion, North Kitsap, has been a deep tournament regular for a few years, and returned a good amount of talent from their sixth place finish in 2019.
I first saw Kings, the 1A winner, in a 12 point loss at Lynden in January. They looked like the team that they traditionally are, as well has having a player like future state MVP, Tyler Linhardt in the mix. The nights ended Lynden Christian’s 31 game win streak in last year’s quarterfinals, and finished third.
Kings and LaSalle (5th) were the only two 1A boys teams to play four days. The Knights won in overtime in their semifinal game against Seattle Academy, and in the championship against the Lyncs.
The Northwest Conference came away with two champions who share the same zip code. The Lynden and Lynden Christian girl’s teams brought home their respective championship trophies. It was number 13 for the Lyncs, and the third for the Lions, all coming since 2009.
Of course, the boys teams from the 98264 were also very much in the mix. Lynden Christian finished second, losing to the Knights in overtime. The Lyncs were about to put the Knights away in the last two minutes of regulation, but could not hang on.
The Lions had a bad last six minutes in their semifinal game against North Kitsap, leading by 14 points after three quarters. In fact, it was more like a great eight minutes for North Kitsap, as they went 10-10 from the field in the fourth quarter, to overtake the Lions, and deny them their third straight title.
The talk about Lynden during the season was never about winning three straight championships. It was about how they would be after losing the ten seniors who won the previous two. The Lyncs and the Lions probably both overachieved this year. At least that’s what the roster changeovers would tell us. If this was a rebuilding year, then, wow!
On Wednesday, the big game was the first one, in which Kings knocked out Zillah. Zillah was in that position after the Lyncs went to Yakima and beat the Leopards in their regional game. Kings was in that position because of their low, #14 RPI. Last year, they went in as #10. In trying to improve their RPI this year, they only played seven games in the North Sound League, instead of ten. They used those three open games to schedule teams that would help their RPI. But in playing teams in higher classifications, their losses piled up, and lowering their RPI in a different section.
If there were an NCAA Basketball Tournament this year, you would bet the farm, and your neighbors farm, for all the #12’s to beat the #5’s. Evidently, the same thing goes for the 1A tournament.
#12 Meridian advanced through loser out day, with their second win of the season over #5 Bellevue Christian. The two played in the SunDome in late December, with the Trojans taking an overtime win.
The news was not so great for #12 Lakewood, as they lost on Wednesday to #4 Lindbergh. That ended a great season for the Cougars that saw them in the state tournament for the first time in their history. NWC coaches voted Alex Jensen as the league’s MVP, which I also mumbled a time or two during the season. Head Coach, Anthony Wiederkehr II, was voted the NWC Coach of the Year. I saw the Cougars play several times this year, and they were a very enjoyable team to watch.
Day 2 brought the Trojans and the Lyncs together. It’s not easy to play your own kind in a state tournament, but it often happens. The Trojans controlled the first half, and the Lyncs won the second, sending them to the semifinals.
The Trojans had to come back the next morning against #2 Cashmere, and didn’t quite have enough to get past the Bulldogs. The Trojans won 20 games, and had a top eight finish.
As tough as the NWC 1A group is on a yearly basis, they have had trouble picking up state tournament trophies. The hardware only goes six deep now, but there has only been three seasons since 2010 in which two teams NWC 1A’s have finished in the top eight in the same tournament.
In 2010, the Trojans finished second, with Nooksack Valley eighth. In 2018, Mt. Baker was a top eight, with the Lyncs winning the title. This year, the Lyncs took second, with the Trojans in the top eight.
Also on Day 2, #1 Lynden took on CWAC champion, #2 Toppenish, in truly a game of big versus little. And, for the second straight year, it was #1 versus #2 in a quarterfinal game.
I thought Toppenish would force the tempo even more than they did, but the Lions would not be pushed. While the Lion bigs, Brock Heppner and Liam Hanenburg drew the attention of the Wildcats defense, it was Jordan Medcalf and Clay Kochuten who shot a combined 12-19 for 36 points. The 18 point win over the CWAC champs, send the Lions to the semifinals for the eighth time in the last nine years.
You would have thought that semifinal night was hosted by the City of Lynden. The 98264 had four teams in the semis, all playing one after the other. The only locals that night were the LaSalle boys and girls teams, from just four and a half miles down the road.
The #1 Lynden girls began the night with a win over NWC rival, #5 Burlington-Edison, 53-31. The Lions beat #2 Ellensburg the previous day and #8 West Valley-Spokane in the championship. Their margin of victory in their three games was a free throw under 21 points a game. They finished 26-1, with their only loss to Lynden Christian.
The #2 Lyncs beat #9 Zillah by 21, and #4 Freeman by 20. On championship night, they logged a come-from-behind win over #1 Cashmere, 58-55. That was LC’s second title game win over the Bulldogs in three years.
Cashmere superstar, Hailey Van Lith is the best lady basketball player I have ever seen. I’m probably not alone in that assessment. But the stars just didn’t align well for Van Lith when it came to state championships. Mt. Baker beat Cashmere 45-44, for the title in 2017, her freshman season. The next year it was a 50-48 loss to LC. In her junior season, the Bulldogs lost to LaSalle in the semis, 56-49. LaSalle was the 2019 state champion. Then the three point loss to LC in this year’s championship.
In between the two girls semifinals, the LC boys continued their championship run with a 71-58 win over LaSalle. The Lyncs controlled the game from tip to buzzer, despite the efforts of Lightning guard, Malachy Caffrey. Caffery terrorized the Lyncs at both ends with four steals in the game, and scoring 13 of his 24 points in the second quarter.
For the Lyncs, Jaden DeBoer, who I think is the most improved player in the NWC this season, scored 28 points, hitting 10-14 from the field. The win put the Lyncs in to the championship game for the second time in the last three seasons. This time was the most unexpected of the three.
The Lions then took the floor against #3 North Kitsap, and for 24 minutes, it appeared as though there would be four Lynden teams in the Saturday night finals. However, an unbelievable fourth quarter by the Vikings, in which they hit all ten of their field goal attempts, derailed the Lions in their sudden quest for a third straight title. The Vikings outscored the Lions 29-9 in the fourth quarter.
There was something about the North Kitsap team when their backs were against the wall. The previous day, they trailed White River at halftime, 24-13, and they were fortunate to be that close. But, in the blink of an eye, they blew by the Hornets, on their way to a 30 point third quarter, and won 64-43.
The next night, it was just a normal old three point win for the Vikings over the Clarkston Bantams, for their first ever state title.
The Lions regrouped, and had a comfortable 72-58 win over Lindburgh, for third place. The Lions have finished in third place or higher in eight of the last nine years. Brock Heppner will be the major missing piece in the Lions lineup next season. His leadership, on and off the floor, for his young teammates was immeasurable.
The Lyncs boys went up against Kings in the 1A final. The Knights had the quarterfinal win over LC last year, and a 12 point win over the Lyncs in this year’s district final.
The table turned on this night, as the Lyncs took the lead in the third quarter, and held a nine point lead with just under two minutes to play. Things quickly unraveled, and the Lyncs found themselves battling in overtime, only to see Kings celebrate a 70-67 win.
DeBoer had another 28 point game, and was selected to the All Tournament First Team. The Knights Tyler Linhardt was the MVP.
The Lyncs will be just fine next season, as they return the crafty lefty, DeBoer, along with versatile inside players, Logan Dykstra and Andrew Hommes. And watch out for Tyler Sipma. A freshman this year, who got considerable playing time late in the season.
The four Lynden teams really have something going in Yakima. This was the first time that all four have appeared in the semifinals in the same season. There have been seven times since 2006 when three of the four have made it to the semis at the same time.
Three times since 2006, two of the four have made the semis, and four times where one has made it. Every year since 2006, there has been at least one team from Lynden in the semifinals.
The four have combined for ten championships in the last 15 years. They have brought at least one Gold Ball back to Lynden in five straight years. And in the last 14 years, there have been three times in which they have won multiple championships in the same season.
This version of the 2A classification just completed its 23rd season. In 17 of those 23 years, there has been a representative from the Northwest Conference, or a local league that preceded the NWC. NWC teams, or prior, have won 10 state titles since 1998. They also had a run of ten straight appearances in the championship game from 2006-2015.
Let’s go back to this early #1 versus #2 matchups that seem to be happening on a regular basis. This happens when the #2 seed loses to the #7 seed in the regional round. That #2 goes to a Wednesday, loser out game, against the winner of the #10 versus #15. And, when the #2 wins that, they advance to play the #1 seed.
For the last two years, the Lynden boys have been the #1 seed, and have had to play the #2 in the quarterfinals. Also this year, the Lynden girls had the same situation, as #2 Ellensburg lost in their regional game, then won on Wednesday in Yakima, setting up the #1 versus #2 in the quarterfinals.
This situation reminds me of the old draw system, before the WIAA used any RPI or regionals. It was a draw with plenty of rules, but if a highly rated team lost a game in their district tournament, they would have to play a district champion in the first round of the state tournament. Or rather, a district champion would be up against a really good team who incurred a blip in their district tournament.
In the current situation, that #2 seed that loses in regionals, is headed for a showdown with the #1, if they win their next game. If the #2 wins their regional game, then they end up on the opposite side of the bracket as the #1, and there are no issues.
On the other hand, one could say that if that #2 team lost at that point in the season, then they probably weren’t the actual #2.
The WIAA has done some tweaking over the years to their current system, but maybe they need to also look at possibly reseeding after regionals. Case in point:
Look at the six teams in the top half of the 2A boys bracket. You will see seeds 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, and 11. While the bottom half has 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12. That seems more out of whack than the early #1 verses #2.
The top half of the 1A boys had seeds 1, 3, and 4. The bottom have six included, 2, 5, and 6.
Half the girls 2A included teams 1, 2, 5, 6, while the other half had 3, 4, 7, and 8. The 1A girls had 2, 3, and 4 on one side, and 1, 5, and 6 on the other.
About every bracket you look at seems to have one side considerably heavier than the other. No bracket had less balance than the 3A boys in the Tacoma Dome. The top four seeds were all on one side, with quarterfinal games consisting of #1 verses #2, and #3 verses #4.
I spent more than 13 straight hours in the SunDome each of the first two days. It was a little less each day after that, but for those of us who need several meals there, it hurts that they no longer have a pizza vendor on site.
My biggest complaint would be that they should never schedule “Spring Ahead” time on state tournament weekend. Not only do you lose an hour of sleep, but you lose an hour of hotel time, and they don’t refund that hour!
I also may have stumbled onto a way that “Spring Ahead” will not have an effect on you.
To make a long story short, when I was leaving, I started my truck and adjusted the clock forward one hour. Or so I thought. After the trip was nearly three hours old, I noticed that I was actually an hour ahead, of being an hour ahead. I had mistakenly set my clock ahead two hours, instead of one. When I then set it back an hour, I no longer had that feeling that I had lost one!
First, I would like to pass along my best wishes to Squalicum Coach, Dave Dickson, who has announced his retirement. The Hall of Famer is a tremendous coach and gentleman, and has coached some of the best teams ever in this area. All the best, Coach!
You will see more changes to leagues and classifications next year. Blaine will go from 2A to 1A, and Squalicum will drop from 3A to 2A. The Northwest Conference welcomes the Oak Harbor Wildcats, and the return of the Mt. Vernon Bulldogs, in the fall of 2020. Some post-season plans are still up in the air for the 2020-21 school year, but I’m sure that the AD’s of the NWC will lay out the best plans possible, once they are done with this unprecedented spring season.
It’s been another great ride on the NWC Train. The first day of the season was double-header day, in which I took in games at Blaine and Sehome. From then, until the final second of the state tournament, a total of 79 games, plus all the JV second halves, and those via peripheral vision and the internet.
Evidently, there are folks out there who take the time to read this stuff, and pass along their compliments. I greatly appreciate that. As always, it’s great to meet new fans and players who pass through our little world.
Next year, and I know we will get back to normalcy by then, will be new players, new teams, and new dreams. And I can’t wait to see it.
Looking forward to #37!
~ Ted House
Boys Basketball 2019-20 All Conference Teams
Mar 10, 2020 1:18 PM
The 2019-20 boys All Northwest Conference teams have been released.
The NWC Most Valuable Player is senior, Alex Jensen, from Lakewood.
The Coach of the Year is Anthony Wiederkehr, also of Lakewood. The Cougars made their first ever state tournament appearance, this season.
For the complete list of first and second teams, please see the attachment below.
The 2019-20 boys All Northwest Conference teams have been released.
The NWC Most Valuable Player is senior, Alex Jensen, from Lakewood.
The Coach of the Year is Anthony Wiederkehr, also of Lakewood. The Cougars made their first ever state tournament appearance, this season.
For the complete list of first and second teams, please see the attachment below.
Kings Takes 1A Title In Overtime Over Lynden Christian
Mar 7, 2020 10:11 PM
March 7, 2020
YAKIMA -- The Lynden Christian Lyncs were denied their seventh
state title by the Kings Knights, suffering a 70-67, overtime loss,
Saturday evening, in the Yakma SunDome. The Lyncs finished with a
record of 22-6. The Knights had a 19-10 record, and won their fifth
YAKIMA -- The Lynden Christian Lyncs were denied their seventh state title by the Kings Knights, suffering a 70-67, overtime loss, Saturday evening, in the Yakma SunDome. The Lyncs finished with a record of 22-6. The Knights had a 19-10 record, and won their fifth state title.
The Knights entered regional play with the #14 seed, but that is no indication of their strength. The seed is based on math. The Knights lost several games to teams in higher classifications. They were among the 1A tourney favorites, for sure.
The Lyncs had some question marks at the start of the season, but by the time the post-season rolled around, they were also a team to be reckoned with.
In the championship game, the Lyncs found themselves down 18-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarer, Zach Sipma and Logan Dykstra scored on the inside. After two free throws by tourney MVP Tyler Linhardt, Dykstra went coast to coast for a layup and a three point play, to cut the lead to two.
Jaden DeBoer tied the game at 20-20 with two free throws, and the teams traded baskets until the Knights took a 33-29 lead at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, it became the Logan Dykstra show. He wrestled an offensive rebound away from Tyler Linhardt, and hit a fall away banker, then scored again on the inside. Shortly after that, he drained a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Lyncs a 38-33 lead.
At the end of the quarter, with the LC defensive unit of the floor, freshman Tyler Sipma hit a driveway bank shot, with just seconds left in the quarter, and the Lyncs led 46-43.
During the second half, the Lyncs let certain Knights have open shots from the outside, and it worked very well, as the misses began to add up, and play on the mind.
The Lyncs led by three in the middle of the fourth quarter, and increased it to nine on a 3-pointer by DeBoer. The Lyncs got the ball back, still up by nine, and under two minutes to play. That’s when things went bad.
Jordan Hanson hit a 3-pointer for the Knights to cut the lead to six with 1:07 left. After a Lyncs turnover, Linhardt scored inside, plus a free throw. Another LC turnover led to two more Kings points and suddenly, with 31 seconds left, the Lyncs led by only one.
The Knights played defense until fouling DeBoer with 13 seconds left. He made both free throws for a three point lead, but Hanson hit another three, to tie the game with 6.4 seconds left.
The Lyncs could not get off a shot before the buzzer, and the game went to overtime for the second day in a row for the Knights. It was 59-59 at the end of regulation.
The Knights went up by six in the final minute. The Lyncs were able to score and foul to get the game to one possession. Hanson hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to give the Knights the final 70-67 score. The Lyncs could not get off the tying shot before the buzzer.
Tyler Linhardt, the Tournament MVP, scored 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Knights. DeBoer, who nearly took MVP honors away from Linhardt, scored 28. Dykstra added 14 for the Lyncs, and Zach Sipma had a strong game with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lyncs finish 22-6, and second place in the state. A position some may not have thought reachable this season, based on the roster change over. But those who know the Lyncs, didn’t believe that.
~ Ted House
Lynden Recovers to Claim 3rd Place
Mar 7, 2020 4:27 PM
March 7, 2020
YAKIMA -- The most difficult of all games to play, is the one
for third place. Both teams are coming off of a heartbreaking loss
in the semifinals, along with it being a very short turnaround.
While the Lynden Lions have had much success over the decades, they
have also been very successful in this particular game.
The Lions defeated the Lindbergh Eagles, 72-58, making it their
fourth straight win in the third place game, since 2012. It’s also
the Lions eighth top three finish in the last nine seasons.
YAKIMA -- The most difficult of all games to play, is the one for third place. Both teams are coming off of a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals, along with it being a very short turnaround. While the Lynden Lions have had much success over the decades, they have also been very successful in this particular game.
The Lions defeated the Lindbergh Eagles, 72-58, making it their fourth straight win in the third place game, since 2012. It’s also the Lions eighth top three finish in the last nine seasons.
Junior Liam Hanenburg and senior, Brock Heppner, led the powerful Lions inside game, once again. Hanenburg scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Heppner also had another double-double, with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The teams traded shot for shot through most of the first half, before the Lions scored the last eight points to take a 33-25 lead at halftime.
Heppner scored eight points in the third quarter, of the inside variety. Junior, Clay Kochuten knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, part of his 14 point game.
Lindbergh senior, Mo Kora, scored 36 points for the Eagles, along with 12 rebounds. Ten of those points came in the final two minutes, after the Lion starters had been retired. The Lions clamped down on the rest of the Eagles, as no others reached double-figures.
The sequence of the day came in the fourth quarter. Lion sophomore Kaleo Jandoc made a hustle scoop of a loose ball near mid court that he never should have been able to get to. He leaped over the sidelines to save the ball, tossing a pin-point pass to Heppner. Heppner in turn, relayed the ball up floor to an open Jordan Medcalf, who tossed down a left-handed dunk.
Seconds later, the Lions were on the break again, but this time it was the 6-11 Hanenburg who was in front. He received the lead pass, and hammered a two-hander.
Heppner and Hanenburg were both awarded Second Team, All Tournament.
The Lions finish the season with a record of 24-3. Five Lion seniors will exit the program this year. They will lose only one starter.
~ Ted House
North Kitsap Comeback Denies Lions 3-Peat Opportunity
Mar 7, 2020 10:56 AM
March 7, 2020
YAKIMA -- You never really know.
After back to back state championships and the loss of ten
seniors, there were a lot of unknowns about this year’s Lynden
Lions. But, though they lacked experience, they again found
themselves on the brink of playing for a third consecutive state
After back to back state championships and the loss of ten seniors, there were a lot of unknowns about this year’s Lynden Lions. But, though they lacked experience, they again found themselves on the brink of playing for a third consecutive state title.
The Lions were well on their way to that feat, but a fourth quarter for the ages by the North Kitsap Vikings, crushed the hopes of a Lion three-peat possibility. The Vikings came away with a come from behind, 62-56 win over the Lions, and will play Clarkston for the state title.
The Lions controlled every aspect of this game through three quarters, maintaining a double-digit lead through most of that time. However, as the Vikings have been known to do in this tournament, laid in the weeds, and pounced when their backs were against the wall.
Trailing 47-33 through three quarters, and showing no signs of any spark, the Vikings offense ignited, outscoring the Lions 29-9 in the fourth quarter. The Vikings went a perfect 10-10 from the field and 4-5 from the free throw line. For offensive efficiency, they scored 25 points from ten shots.
Prior to that, the Vikings made one little run in the third quarter, but that was squelched by Lion senior advisor, Brock Heppner. Heppner nailed a long 3-pointer, and worked for two more inside hoops to get the Lions lead back to double-digits.
Sophomore Jordan Medcalf led the Lions with 17 points, often slithering between Viking defenders for baskets near the rim. Heppner and Liam Hanenburg each scored 16 points, with Hanenburg also grabbing 16 rebounds.
The Lions will try to take home the third place trophy, as they take on Lindbergh, on Saturday, in the SunDome.
~ Ted House
Lyncs Defeat La Salle; Going For 7th State Title
Mar 7, 2020 10:34 AM
March 7, 2020
YAKIMA -- You never really know.
It seemed like last year, would be the year. The Lynden
Christian Lyncs were stocked with experience and talent, not to
mention a Division 1 recruit, Cole Bajema. They won their first 24
games, before being knocked aside by the Kings Knights in the state
quarterfinals. The Lyncs rebounded to finish with the fourth place
It seemed like last year, would be the year. The Lynden Christian Lyncs were stocked with experience and talent, not to mention a Division 1 recruit, Cole Bajema. They won their first 24 games, before being knocked aside by the Kings Knights in the state quarterfinals. The Lyncs rebounded to finish with the fourth place trophy.
This year, no Division 1 recruits, but those who are familiar at all with the LC program under Coach Roger DeBoer, knew that they would still be heard from sometime this season. Well, the time is now.
After a regional win over Zillah, and state tournament wins over Meridian and La Salle, the Lyncs will get a chance at redemption, as they will take on the Kings Knights in the 1A state championship game, Saturday, March 7, in the Yakima SunDome.
The Lyncs handled the La Salle Lightning in Friday night’s semifinal, 71-58, setting the stage for the Lyncs to capture their seventh state title.
The Lyncs offense was the story in this one, as they hit 63% of their field goals for the game. Included in that were 11 of 21 3-pointers. Andrew DeVries made six shots in the game, all from 3-point range, for 18 points. For DeVries, it seems as though the more difficult the shot, the more likely it is to go in.
It would be hard to out-do that stat line, but teammate, junior Jaden DeBoer, did just that. DeBoer put himself in the running for state MVP by scoring 28 points, hitting on four 3-pointers, and shooting 10-14 from the field. He scored multiple baskets in each quarter, keeping the pressure on the La Salle defense.
There were also important plays made by the Lyncs that won’t show up in the stat line. For example, the hustle of senior, Zach Sipma. Even with Sipma’s defensive line-like stature, he is very elusive, and fast on his feet.
In the fourth quarter, Sipma missed a put-back attempt as he followed on a Lyncs fast break. He went from the offensive baseline, to his defensive key, and drew a charging foul, as the Lightning tried to score in transition.
On the next defensive situation, Sipma drew another charging foul. And as a capper, Sipma scored a lay in off of a press-break, on a pass from DeVries, then drew a third charging foul at the other end.
What also needs to be noted is the interior play of junior, Logan Dykstra, and sophomore, Andrew Hommes. The two combined for six points and ten rebounds, and have both been steadily improving and adding toughness to the Lyncs interior defense.
The Lyncs and the Knights will get together on the SunDome floor, one more time. They have met in two previous championship games, each getting a win. There will be no secrets, as every time these two get together, there seems to be some sort of championship on the line.
~ Ted House
Trojans Season Ends with Loss to Cashmere
Mar 6, 2020 3:44 PM
March 6, 2020
YAKIMA – The season for the Meridian Trojans did not end with a
win, or a state trophy, but it was highly successful, none the
less. A 20-10 record and a top eight finish in the state, speaks to
YAKIMA – The season for the Meridian Trojans did not end with a win, or a state trophy, but it was highly successful, none the less. A 20-10 record and a top eight finish in the state, speaks to that.
In a consolation game in the SunDome, the Trojans were eliminated by #2 Cashmere, 62-56. The Bulldogs will play for fourth play on Saturday, against River View.
The Trojans season began with the bad news that senior Cameron Webster would miss his senior year with a foot injury, sustained in the Trojans last football game. Though Webster never got on the floor, he was just as much a part of the team as anyone.
In the end, they could have used Webster’s strength against the Bulldogs, who prevailed by dominating the key in the second half. The Trojans did not have enough bodies to hold down Bulldog 6-6 junior center, Carter Alberts, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half.
If it wasn’t Alberts causing problems for the Trojans, it was 6-3 senior, Brooks Elliott. Elliott finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, six offensive.
The Trojans never got comfortable at the offensive end either, as they went seven minutes in the first quarter between field goals.
Down only four starting the third quarter, that’s when Alberts and Elliott did most of their damage, as they scored all 13 Bulldog points in the quarter.
The Trojans made a couple late runs, but lost Jackson Short and Jordan Veenstra to fouls in the fourth quarter. Before fouling out, Short scored seven quick points to get the Trojans to within five, with 3:40 left. After Short fouled out, the Trojans cut the lead to three on the lay in by Joe Plagerman, but the Bulldogs answered quickly with a 3-pointer from Nate Phillips.
Short led the Trojans in scoring with 12 points. Ryan Johnson and Braiden Blackwelder each scored eight. Jordan Veenstra and Ethan Brooks had seven a piece, and Plagerman added six points and eight rebounds.
The Trojans played 30 games. They won 20, through a tough Northwest Conference schedule, and a grueling post-season run. That’s success that a trophy can’t measure.
~ Ted House
Lynden Towers over Toppenish, Advances to Semi's
Mar 5, 2020 7:59 PM
March 5, 2020
YAKIMA – New roster. Same uniforms. Same results.
The Lynden Lions, the top seed in the 2A state tournament,
earned a spot in the state semifinals with a 73-55 win over the #2
seed, Toppenish Wildcats. This will be the ninth semifinal
appearance for the Lions in the last eleven years.
The Lynden Lions, the top seed in the 2A state tournament, earned a spot in the state semifinals with a 73-55 win over the #2 seed, Toppenish Wildcats. This will be the ninth semifinal appearance for the Lions in the last eleven years.
The Wildcats (22-3), with no player over six feet tall, would have to stir up the Lions, and win with pressure and transition. Neither really happened, although the Wildcats did attack the middle of the Lions defense, and did have some transition opportunities. But those were mostly after Lion baskets.
The Lions, on the other hand, would work the offense and take advantage of the smaller Wildcats with their inside game, consisting of 6-11 Liam Hanenburg, and 6-1 (by roster only) Brock Heppner. That, they did. But in the end, it was the Lions perimeter players who did most of the scoring damage.
Trailing 8-7 in the opening minutes, the Lions got six straight points from Hanenburg. The last score via, drop-step and dunk. The Lions took a 12-9 lead into the second quarter.
The lead increased to 18-10 over the next three minutes, on two inside hoops by Heppner and one by Jordan Medcalf. Clay Kochuten knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead to double-digits, and the Lions led 32-24 at halftime.
Even with Hanenburg in foul trouble in the second half, the Lions still managed to increase the lead to 15 late in the third quarter, and eventually to 20 in the final minutes.
Medcalf led the Lions with 21 points, shooting 8-12 from the field, and 4-4 at the free throw line. Kochuten added 15, and also shot well, hitting 3-4 3-pointers and all four free throws. Hanenburg scored 12 points. And Heppner added nine and 11 rebounds.
In the semifinal, the Lions will take on the North Kitsap Vikings, at 715pm. The Vikings are no stranger to the semi’s either. This will be their third appearance in the last four seasons. The Vikings are the #3 seed, and have a record of 22-4.
~ Ted House
Lyncs Get Quarterfinal Win Over Meridian
Mar 5, 2020 3:21 PM
March 5, 2020
YAKIMA – The Lynden Christian Lyncs advanced to the 1A state
semifinals, with a 62-53 win over NWC rival, Meridian, Thursday, in
the Yakima SunDome. The Lyncs will play La Salle, who was a winner
over Cashmere in another quarterfinal game.
The Lyncs defeated the Trojans in the 19th game of
the season. Early on in this match up, the Trojans set the tone
over the first 12 minutes.
YAKIMA – The Lynden Christian Lyncs advanced to the 1A state semifinals, with a 62-53 win over NWC rival, Meridian, Thursday, in the Yakima SunDome. The Lyncs will play La Salle, who was a winner over Cashmere in another quarterfinal game.
The Lyncs defeated the Trojans in the 19th game of the season. Early on in this match up, the Trojans set the tone over the first 12 minutes.
The Trojans took a 10-3 lead in the first four minutes, thanks to Ryan Johnson’s eight points on two 3-pointers, and led 13-7 at the quarter.
The rough and tumble contest had its share of oddities in the second quarter. The Lyncs Andrew DeVries was given a technical after a personal foul was assessed. After the Trojans Jackson Short hit both technical free throws, they were erased due to an error in the order of play. The shots on the personal foul had to be shot first. That put Eli Hayrynen on the stripe, were he split two free throws. Short then stepped back up and sank both technical shots.
Also in the second quarter, Lyncs Zach Sipma and Tyler Sipma each lost a shoe during play.
A long 3-pointer by Jordan Veenstra gave the Trojans a 21-12 lead with 4:40 left in the half. That’s when the Lyncs found themselves, and slowly crawled back into contention.
The inside play of the Lyncs 6-5 sophomore Andrew Hommes was key in their comeback, as he scored six points in the final minutes of the half, with strong play around the rim. The score was 27-27 at halftime.
The Lyncs scored the first five points of the second half, and the Trojans never got closer. Zach Sipma started the run with a reverse layup. Jayden DeBoer tossed in a couple 3-pointers as the lead grew to nine, near the end of the third quarter.
Sipma helped break the game open early in the fourth, as he got loose in transition and scored on three layups as the Lyncs lead grew to 15.
Both teams had to find extra offense, as they both had a shooter with an off day. Short was 0-8 from the field, and fouled out in the fourth quarter. He did go 8-8 at the free throw line. DeVries was 0-7 from the field, and did not score.
The Lyncs were able to take up the slack with DeBoer and Sipma both scoring 17 points. They got help from the eight points each from Hommes and Bryce Bouwman. Freshman Tyler Sipma was 6-6 at the free throw line.
Veenstra led the Trojans with 16 points, and Johnson finished with 14. Joe Plagerman worked inside for nine more. Meridian will finish fourth or sixth, if they can get a win on Friday. They will play Cashmere, in a loser out contest at 1030am.
The Lyncs semifinal game against La Salle will start at 530pm.
~ Ted House
Cougars Season Ends in Yakima
Mar 4, 2020 9:15 PM
March 4, 2020
YAKIMA -- The Lakewood Cougars’ storied season came to an end
in the opening round of the 2020 2A state tournament. The Cougars
fell to the Lindbergh Eagles, 68-57, ending their season with a
record of 15-10.
YAKIMA -- The Lakewood Cougars’ storied season came to an end in the opening round of the 2020 2A state tournament. The Cougars fell to the Lindbergh Eagles, 68-57, ending their season with a record of 15-10.
It was the Cougars first ever appearance in the 2A state basketball tournament. They stayed within striking distance of the #4 seed Eagles (24-3) into the fourth quarter. But the Eagles athleticism finally won out, as the Cougars fell behind by 16 points with less than four minutes to play.
Early on, the Cougars used the Eagles’ athleticism against them. The Cougars were able to get the ball inside, and with a variety of ball fakes, were able to score or draw fouls. The Cougars led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter, but fell behind 34-30 at halftime.
In the second half, the Eagles were able to run the floor more effectively, and played more solid at the defensive end.
Alex Jensen led the Cougar scorers with 18 points. Morgan Stacey, the undersized big man, recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. They were the only two in double-figures, as the Cougars shot just 32% from the field, compared to Lindbergh’s 56%.
It was even worse from the 3-point line, as the Cougars hit only 1-19 in the second half, and 4-27 for the game.
The Cougars proved to be a dangerous team to play all season. They can look back on many successes. They finished fourth in the rugged Northwest Conference. They beat #1 Burlington in the district semifinals, and took second place. They qualified for their first state tournament with a regional win over Franklin Pierce.
Well done, Cougars.
~ Ted House
Trojans Advance to Quarterfinals
Mar 4, 2020 9:15 PM
Mar 4, 2020
YAKIMA -- The Meridian Trojans used a strong second half to put
away the Bellevue Christian Vikings, 61-49, in the first round of
the 1A boys State Basketball Tournament. It was the first state
tournament win for the Trojan program since the 2010 state
YAKIMA -- The Meridian Trojans used a strong second half to put away the Bellevue Christian Vikings, 61-49, in the first round of the 1A boys State Basketball Tournament. It was the first state tournament win for the Trojan program since the 2010 state semifinals.
The win sets up a rematch with the Lynden Christian Lyncs, in a Thursday, state quarterfinal game at the SunDome in Yakima. The Lyncs beat the Trojans in 81-56 in a regular season game. The Trojans raised their record to 20-8, which includes seven wins in eight post-season games.
The Trojans led through most of a tight first half, but the Vikings were up 26-25 at halftime.
From the opening seconds of the third quarter, the Trojans cranked up the defensive pressure, chasing and trapping from their zone defense. That ignited a run started by a Jackson Short drive for two, down the lane. At the other end, Joseph Plagerman drew a charging foul, then the Trojans scored five more on a drive by Ryan Johnson, and a 3-pointer by Jordan Veenstra.
The Trojans beat the Vikings pressure defense with dive-cuts, slip screens, and pin point passes. A dish from Joe Plagerman to Ethan Brooks for a lay in gave the Trojans a six point lead after three quarters.
Jackson Short opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the left corner to extend the lead to nine. A put back by Plagerman gave the Trojans a 13 point lead with 5:40 left.
The Trojans spend most of the final five minutes on the free throw line, building a 14 point lead with a minute to play.
Short led the Trojans with 17 points, with 13 of those in the second half. Plagerman and Johnson did the damage inside, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively.
The Vikings turned the ball over 24 times, and the Trojans collected 14 offensive rebounds.
It was the Trojans second win of the season over the Vikings. The two played in the SunDome Shootout in December. A game the Trojans won 61-58 in overtime.
The Trojans-Lyncs winner will advance to the state semifinals. The loser will play a loser out game on Friday.
Thursday game time is 1215pm.
~ Ted House
NWC Teams Muscle Through Regionals
Mar 1, 2020 2:17 PM
May we have a round of applause for the Northwest Conference,
The boys and girls teams combined for an 8-1 record in regional
play over the weekend, and did not lose a team. In fact, wait,
being told that the same 8-1 record happened in 2019, so I guess
it’s just business as usual, as the nine head to state tournaments
in Yakima this week.
May we have a round of applause for the Northwest Conference, please?
The boys and girls teams combined for an 8-1 record in regional play over the weekend, and did not lose a team. In fact, wait, being told that the same 8-1 record happened in 2019, so I guess it’s just business as usual, as the nine head to state tournaments in Yakima this week.
The action began on Friday night at Mt. Vernon High School, as the Meridian Trojan boys team powered past the Vashon Island Pirates, 50-44. The Trojans will go from one loser out contest to another, as they will play on Wednesday, in the SunDome, against the Bellevue Christian Vikings. That game will start at 12:15pm.
The second game of the night was a win for the Lynden Christian girls, as they blew out Annie Wright for the second year in a row, 76-49. The Lyncs will play in a state quarterfinal game, Thursday, at 9pm, against the Nooksack Valley-Zillah winner.
Back at MVHS early Saturday, the Lakewood Cougars eliminated the Franklin Pierce Cardinals, 53-49. The victory sends the Cougars to the 2A state tournament for the first time in school history. They will play a loser out game on Wednesday, against Lindbergh, at 7:15pm.
Next up were the two-time defending 2A champion Lynden Lions, in a rematch of their district semifinal game against Mountlake Terrace. The Lions 59-55 win sends them to a Thursday, 5:30pm game against the Toppenish-Prosser winner.
The Lynden girls followed that up with a 48-36 win over West Valley-Spokane. The Lions will take on either Liberty or Ellensburg, Thursday, at 10:30am.
The Burlington-Edison girls beat White River, 59-55, sending the Tigers to a Thursday game at 9am. They will play the Port Angeles-Clarkston winner.
The Trojan girls traveled to Wenatchee and defeated Okanogan, 37-35. The Trojans will play a loser out game on Wednesday at 5:30pm, against Annie Wright.
The Nooksack Valley girl’s team was the only one to take a loss, and that was in Wenatchee to the 1A #1 seed, and tourney favorite, Cashmere. The Pioneers will play a loser out game against Zillah on Wednesday, at 9pm.
Speaking of Zillah, their boy’s team, who was the #3 seed, was upset by #6 Lynden Christian, 65-62, in an overtime thriller. The Lyncs will wait for the Bellevue Christian-Meridian winner, at 12:15pm on Thursday. Zillah will meet Kings at 9am on Wednesday, in a loser out game.
The Lyncs went all the way to AC Davis High School in Yakima, reminiscent of a trip to Eisenhower high school in 2016. This was prior to the current RPI format, and the Lyncs had to play a loser out game against Zillah, which they lost. The format was such that Zillah then had to play Kings in the first round of the state tournament. The Knights got a two point win, then steamrolled their way to the 1A state title. That year, Kings, Zillah, and Lynden Christian were the three best teams in the state, but because they all played each other so early, only Kings got past the quarterfinals.
That game was probably the driving force in the adjustment to the current format, which still ends up with matchups such as this.
The difference with this year’s game for LC, was that it was not a loser out situation. The losing team, however, would have to play Kings, in a loser out game, in the first round of the state tournament.
The Yakima area 1A and 2A teams tend to be more offensive minded than teams in our area, who put more focus on half court offense and defense. Not that the east side style can’t work. Just look at Zillah’s record over the last ten years as proof. They have won three state championships since 2014, and have won two of the last three. Of course, they are still one of the favorites for the 2020 title.
LC is not one to hold the ball, but if they were to be successful, they could not get into a game where they would have to score into the 80’s, or more. They would have to play tough defense, against a team that is used to scoring 85-plus a game. They would also have to be selective on offense, and make every shot count.
Andrew DeVries got the Lyncs going by hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter, as the Lyncs took a quick 16-7 lead, as well as 24-14 at the quarter. Jaden DeBoer also got started on a big night, by scoring seven points in the first eight minutes.
Behind the scoring of Zillah’s Mason Landdeck and Weston Ide, the Leopards closed the gap to 35-33 at the half.
I felt that the Lyncs would need one more run, like they had early in the game, to get to the finish line. That didn’t happen, but the Lyncs stayed within striking distance, trailing 51-45, headed to the fourth quarter.
Landdeck was up to 25 points for the Leopards, but once the fourth quarter hit, the Lyncs seemed to be the more comfortable team.
With 1:19 left in regulation, the Leopards led 58-54. Two free throws by Shale Whittern with 34 seconds left, tied the score at 58, but leaving the Leopards with basically a full shot clock to come up with the winner.
The Leopards worked a spread floor, and with six seconds left, the Lyncs had a foul to give, and used it to break things up. The Leopards had to inbound at the sideline, and a last second shot fell short.
In overtime, a DeBoer 3-pointer gave the Lyncs a 63-61 lead with 1:05 left. Then Zillah hit a free throw to come within one with 47 seconds left.
DeBoer missed a 3-point attempt at the end of the shot clock, and the Leopards transitioned to offense, down by one, with 19 seconds to go. As Landdeck dribbled past DeVries on the perimeter, DeVries got a hand on the ball, and both went to the floor, resulting in a tie-up. The arrow pointed in LC’s direction.
On the inbounds pass, DeBoer was fouled immediately, and his two free throws gave the Lyncs a three point lead.
In the last nine seconds, it was again in Landdeck’s hands. He could not get off a clean shot, and the Lyncs went into celebration mode.
For the game, the Lyncs hit 14 of 29 3-point attempts. It wasn’t the first time that the Lyncs hit more 3’s than 2’s in a game. DeBoer scored 21, and DeVries reached 20 points. Landdeck hit for 27, but only two after the third quarter.
The Lyncs now avoid the loser out day, and will play the Meridian-Bellevue Christian winner. Meanwhile, the Leopards will play Kings, in the first game of the 1A tournament. The Knights won a loser out regional game over Deer Park.
Meridian got off to a hot start Friday night. Jackson Short got it going with a hoop in the first few seconds. The Trojan press forced a Vashon turnover. The Trojans scored again, and forced another miscue. Jordan Veenstra got a steal and a lay in, then a 3-pointer, and the Trojans led 9-2.
The Trojans worked their way to a 28-15 lead at halftime, over a team that averages 43 points a game. However, with a 30-15 lead early in the third quarter, the Pirates stormed back, and trailed 34-32 after the end of the third quarter.
Trojan junior, Trey Naidu, not only contributed six points off the bench, but also had some valuable hustle plays early in the fourth quarter, as the Trojans built the lead back up to 43-34, with 3:40 left.
The Pirates cut the lead to four in the last minute, but Short and Ryan Johnson combined for 9-11 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter to help hold the lead. A last second 3-pointer by Vashon made the final score, 50-44.
Short hit for 20 points, his normal variety of shots, which allows him ample free throw opportunities, where he was 6-7. Johnson scored nine points, which included 7-8 at the free throw line. Veenstra’s 3-pointer in the first quarter was the only one the Trojans would have in the game.
The Trojans will play another loser out game on Wednesday, against Bellevue Christian. Those two teams met in the SunDome in late December, with the Trojans taking a 61-58 overtime victory.
The Lakewood Cougars have reached the state basketball tournament for the first time in their history. This year’s group of seniors at Lakewood has been part of a growing program over the last four years. The other factor in their upward climb was Lakewood’s decision to join the Northwest Conference four years ago. The competitiveness of the entire league has contributed to their success.
The Cougars won a loser out game over Franklin Pierce, 53-49. It was not a good start for the Cougars, as the Cardinals, early on, were the sharper, more athletic team. The Cougars trailed 16-4 with 3:20 left in the first quarter. Missed shots and turnovers led to the quick deficit.
In the last two minutes of the quarter, Shae Dixon, the only junior starter for the Cougars, hit a 3-pointer. Jared Taylor matched that, then had a steal and added two more points, and the Cougars cut the lead to 16-13 at the end of the quarter.
Cougar sophomore, Blake Conyers, who has been very effective off the bench, especially late in the year, stroked a 3-pointer. That was followed by a 2-pointer off a steal by Alex Jensen, to tie the score at 20-20.
With five minutes left in the third quarter, a Dixon 3-pointer gave the Cougars a 33-30 lead, not to trail again. Later in the quarter, Conyers scored on a layup and two more 3-pointers, as the Cougars took a 44-35 lead, with eight minutes to go.
However, the Cardinals came back to tie the game at 47-47 with 3:01 left.
At the 31 second mark, Morgan Stacey drew a charging foul, with the Cougars leading by only two. The Cardinals, then forced to foul, watched as Jensen hit two free throws with 19 seconds left, for a four point margin, and the win.
The Cougars played with their customary balanced scoring. Conyers led with 13. He scored ten in the second half. Dixon and Jensen scored ten points each.
The win sends the Cougars to the SunDome (we don’t “punch tickets” here). Lindbergh will be their opponent, Wednesday, at 7:15pm. That will be a loser out game. Lindbergh is the #4 seed. They lost to #5 White River in the regional round. Lindbergh was the District 3 champion.
Those rebuilding Lynden Lions came away with a gritty 59-55 win over Mountlake Terrace. This was a rematch of their district semifinal game, won by the Lions, 58-49. And, it played out much the same way as the first meeting.
On the strength of seven (7) 3-pointers by the Hawks over the last few minutes of the first quarter, and the first few minutes of the second quarter, the Lions trailed 27-18 with five minutes left in the half. Those seven 3-pointers were spread over four different players.
From there, the Lions chipped away, and grabbed the momentum for a 14-0 run to halftime. A steal and a layup by Coby Whitman gave the Lions the lead at 28-27 with 3:20 left. Liam Hanenburg scored on a catch and layup in which his 6-11 body was going full speed down the left side of the key. A hard driving left-hand lay in by Brock Heppner capped the scoring, as the Lions led 32-27 at halftime.
The Hawks got within two points on a few occasions, early in the fourth quarter, but could not get the lead. The score stayed tight, until the Lions took an eight point lead with a minute to play. Hanenburg hit seven free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Lions hold on for the win. He finished with a game high 21 points, and 20 rebounds.
Heppner, who has put the team on his back at times, especially late in the season, also had a double-double, with 16 and 11. Jordan Medcalf also scored 11 for the Lions, who raised their record to 22-2.
The Lions will play Thursday at 5:30pm. They will face the winner of the CWAC showdown between Prosser and Toppenish, two of the top teams in the CWAC.
How do the brackets look? Well, you came to the right place.
In the 2A boys bracket, the six seeds on the top half include the numbers, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 and 11. The bottom half has numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12. Kind of lop sided, don’t you think? Much like brackets when it was the old draw format, there always seemed to be one side that looked “tougher” than the other. And, let’s face it, who wants to do things the hard way?
A better way is to take the seed numbers off. Then you look at it, and, well, same thing. Top side looks tougher!
Actually, it’s such a wide open field, that you could place teams in there any way you want, and the favorites would still be the favorites. My team to beat a week ago was North Kitsap. Then they lost in the district final to Lindbergh. When regional matchups were known, the Vikings were still my favorite. Slightly. Then, they lost to Tumwater.
The Selah-North Kitsap winner will need to be reckoned with. Prosser and Toppenish play in a loser out, with the winner going up against Lynden. In three close games this year, Toppenish has beaten Prosser twice.
On the bottom side, Lindbergh had a big run through District 3, but lost to White River in regionals. Lindbergh will play Lakewood in a loser out, with the winner getting Tumwater. There is no clear favorite among those three teams.
Black Hills had a great season but had to come through the loser’s bracket in the District 4 tournament. They beat upstart, Woodland, in a loser out regional game, and will now face Mountlake Terrace. The winner gets Clarkston, and again, no clear favorite there. But I kind of like MLT to come out of that area.
Lynden has been the top seed in 2A for four straight years. The way the seeds go, and the direction teams take coming out of regionals, last year Lynden played Columbia River in the quarterfinals. CR was the #2 seed, but lost their regional game. That put them in a Wednesday loser out game, where the winner advances to play the #1 team. This kind of looks like a glitch in the format, but it’s more like if the #2 team lost at regionals, then they probably won’t worthy of that seed.
The same thing could happen this year. Lynden is in the #1 spot. They play the winner between #10 Prosser and #2 Toppenish. If Toppenish wins, then we will have a game between numbers 1 and 2 in the quarterfinals. Again. This year, Toppenish is in that position as the #2 seed, as they lost to #7 Clarkston in the regional round.
In the 1A bracket, the focus is on the first game of the day between #14 Kings, and #3 Zillah. It’s a loser out game, but the winner still remains among the 1A favorites.
The #1 team on the top half is Seattle Academy, who whipped the Knights in the Bi-District championship game. The top half has seeds 1, 3, and 4.
The bottom half has seeds 2, 5, and 6. Cashmere is the #2 seed. #6 Lynden Christian awaits #5 Bellevue Christian, or #12 Meridian. Cashmere will play #8 Omak or #9 La Salle. The 1A’s played closer to form, with only two lower seeds coming away with wins. Both were from District 1 (Kings and LC).
The 1A tournament looks to be as wide open as the 2A.
Soon to be 36 straight.
~ Ted House
NWC Weekend Regional Schedule and Game Previews
Feb 25, 2020 9:52 PM
After two hard weeks of district tournament basketball, the
seas have calmed before the next storm. That is headed our way this
Friday and Saturday, in the form of regional basketball, or the
state tournament round of 16, if you prefer.
After two hard weeks of district tournament basketball, the seas have calmed before the next storm. That is headed our way this Friday and Saturday, in the form of regional basketball, or the state tournament round of 16, if you prefer.
Here is the schedule of games for the remaining boys and girls teams in the Northwest Conference:
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28
at Mt. Vernon High School
1A Boys: #13 Vashon Island vs. #12 Meridian, 6pm (KPUG)
2A Boys: #13 Franklin Pierce vs. #12 Lakewood, 10am
2A Boys: #8 Mountlake Terrace vs. #1 Lynden, 12pm (KPUG)
2A Girls: #8 West Valley-Spokane vs. #1 Lynden, 2pm (KPUG)
at Auburn-Mountainview High School
2A Girls: #5 Burlington-Edison vs. #4 White River, 4pm (SkagitRadio.com)
at Davis High School, Yakima
1A Boys: #6 Lynden Christian vs. #3 Zillah, 6pm (KPUG)
at Wenatchee High School
1A Girls: #15 Meridian vs. #10 Okanogan, 2pm (KGMI)
1A Girls: #8 Nooksack Valley vs. #1 Cashmere, 6pm (KGMI)
Boys Regional Previews
1A Boys: Vashon Island (17-6), vs. Meridian (18-8)
For all teams, there will be at least six days between games, but no team can use the rest more than the Trojans. Meridian played six games in ten days during their district and bi-district tournaments. Fortunately, only one of those games was a loser out situation. The Trojans beat Nooksack for the second time in the post-season, and then secured a regional spot with a win over Bear Creek.
The Pirates had a much shorter road to regionals, although they did play three games over five days. In their five team district tournament, the Pirates defeated Klahowya, lost to Bellevue Christian, then beat Klahowya a second time to secure the second and final spot to regionals. In the three games the Pirates were involved in, the 40 point mark was reached only once. That was the Pirates second win over Klahowya, 40-35.
The 1A Nisqually League does not light up the scoreboard. Vashon averaged 43 points a game on the season, while giving up 35. They scored over 50 just six times, with a high of 59. On defense, they held five teams to under 30 points in a game, with two opponents scoring only 19.
While it is evident that the Nisqually can play defense, they also may be somewhat challenged, offensively.
One player who is not is Pirate big man, 6-5 senior, Finbarr Anderson. Anderson is built like an offensive lineman, with strength to match. For his size, he has very quick feet, good hands, and a real nose for the ball. He is a very effective inside scorer, and likes to get to the rim off the dribble.
The Pirates are well coached, as they move the ball well on offense. They do seem to like to take the occasional fast break when the opportunity arises, but are truly more of a half court team.
The quick and athletic Trojans will have to keep Anderson from maneuvering freely around the key, and keep him from second chance opportunities. The Trojans don’t have a lot of size on the interior, but 6-3 senior, Joseph Plagerman, is a good match up for Anderson. If Plagerman can lock down Anderson, watch for the athletic 6-3, Ryan Johnson to spring into the air with help from the back side.
The Pirates also have 6-5 senior, Isaac Patchen in the starting lineup, along with 6-6 junior, Levi Moore off the bench. The Trojans start five seniors, so there is plenty of motivation by urgency.
The Trojans will have the shooting advantage, as they have a handful of proven outside shooters. Jordan Veenstra, Jackson Short, and Johnson should be able to force the issue, and speed up the Pirates.
This is a loser out contest, with the winner advancing to another loser out game, Wednesday, March 4, at 12:15pm, in the SunDome. The opponent will be the loser between Bellevue Christian and River View.
1A Boys: Lynden Christian (19-5) vs. Zillah (22-1)
As they did in 2016, the Lyncs are traveling 478 miles, round trip, for a regional game against the Zillah Leopards. In 2016, it was a loser out game, but this is not. The loser of this game will get the 9am spot on Wednesday, in the SunDome. That game will be loser out, and will be against the winner of the Kings-Deer Park matchup. The winner of LC-Zillah waits until 1215pm on Thursday.
The defending champion, Leopards, are going for their third state championship in the last four years. They win a lot of games, light up a lot of scoreboards, and always seem to have a “Delp” on the roster (this year, it’s two).
The Leopards leading scorer is 6-2 junior, Mason Landdeck at about 20 points per game. Landdeck played his freshman season at Kittitas, and his sophomore year at Cashmere. Another year at Zillah will put him among the state’s all time leading scorers.
The Leopards have gone over 100 points four times this season, and have been above 90, nine times. They average 85 points per game. Their only loss on the season was to 2A #2 seed, and CWAC champion, Toppenish. The Wildcats hit a shot at the buzzer to beat the Leopards, 64-62.
Claysen Delp, a 6-1 sophomore, averages 16 points a game for the Leopards. Seniors Sebastian Godina and Weston Ide, also score in double-figures.
The Lyncs and Leopards will play at Davis High School, which is two miles from the SunDome. The Zillah crowd should be in full force.
The Lyncs will have to come up with a plan that keeps the ball from the Leopards, and makes them play defense longer than they want to. They will also need top performances from seniors, Andrew DeVries, Bryce Bouwman, and Zach Sipma, who have been through about every situation there is on a basketball floor, as has head coach, Roger DeBoer. They can certainly draw from the intangibles that the Lynden-Lynden Christian rivalry has provided in recent years, as well as playing in the deepest conference in the state.
2A Boys: Franklin Pierce (19-8), vs. Lakewood (14-9)
The Cardinals are making the 204 mile round trip to Mt. Vernon High School for the second straight year. Last year, they arrived with a 23-3 record and were crushed by Lynden, 71-34. Their season ended in the loser out round in Yakima, as they were beaten by Fife.
This is a loser out game for the Cardinals and Cougars. The winner will play at 715pm on Wednesday, in the SunDome, against the loser of White River-Lindbergh.
The Cardinals took fifth place in the District 3 tournament, which is sending six teams to regionals. Of the Cardinals eight losses, four have been to league foe, White River.
Franklin Pierce will play with great speed and athleticism, and fortunately for the Cougars, they won’t be giving up as much on height. This could be a very entertaining, up and down game.
The Cougars are NWC tested, and have the marquee win over Burlington-Edison on their resume. Their four starting seniors have led them to their deepest season run, so far. They play great team basketball, and will always have five players on the floor who can hit a 3-pointer.
Alex Jensen, an NWC MVP candidate, averages 18 points a game, and has great court awareness, at both ends of the floor. Morgan Stacey scores 13 a game, and is very creative at the offensive end. Junior, Shae Dixon also hits for double-figures, with seniors Jared Taylor and Jackson Schultz close behind.
These Cougars want to be the first in school history to reach the Dome. Their seasoning should be enough for a ticket to Yakima.
2A Boys: Mountlake Terrace (18-6), vs. Lynden (21-2)
The Hawks and the Lions will meet again at the MV Corral, Saturday, at high noon.
The winner will play again in Yakima at 530pm on Thursday. The loser will play Wednesday at 9pm, against the winner of Black Hills-Woodland.
Instead of looking at records, and who played who on the season, all we have to do is think back to the district semifinals of February 18, won by Lynden, 58-49.
The Hawks had early control, leading by five at the end of each of the first two quarters, while holding a 12 point lead at one point in the first half. The Lions got rolling in the second half, outscoring the Hawks 33-19.
Jace Breakfield was hot early in the game for MLT. His 6-7 frame was strong enough to make it tough on 6-11 Liam Hanenburg, who still scored 16 points. The mismatch for the Hawks was the play of 6-1 senior, Brock Heppner, of the Lions, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Heppner scored from inside, as well as the free throw line, and the 3-point line.
With the memory of each other still fresh, this game will be about adjustments. How do the Hawks keep Hanenburg in check, while still having enough bulk to slow down Heppner? And while the Hawks pay attention to those two, will the Lion guards be able to keep the Hawks defense honest, by shooting well from the outside?
The Lions will also have to be wary of Hawk senior, Mason Christianson, who had a great game in the Hawks third place win over Anacortes. He scored only six points, but was the author of many more for his team. Christianson scored 12 points against the Lions last week.
The Lions benefitted by a huge margin at the free throw line against the Hawks. They sank 22-29 for the game, including 15-19 in the second half. The Hawks were only 2-7 at the free throw line for the game.
This is the Hawks last hurrah as a 2A team, as they move up a level next year. Since dropping down to 2A a few years ago, they have had very good, well coached teams, but have yet to get their hands on a state trophy.
The Lions have won the last two state 2A championships, and are in the running again, despite the loss of ten seniors from that championship group. This young team wants nothing more than to make a name for themselves.
Regional ticket prices are $12 for Adults; $9 for Students/Seniors/Military.
Tickets are good for any venue for the day purchased.
~ Ted House
Seeding Day, 2020
Feb 23, 2020 12:48 PM
It’s that moment in time when the past two weeks have been a
blur. You stop to catch your breath, knowing you have achieved that
coveted next level. But take a side trip to Amazon.com to see how
to replace your “refresh” key that you wore out as you await your
team’s fate. You just want to see your team’s name on one of those
(If the WIAA has not posted the regional matchups, a couple
thousand words from now, I will give you what I know at the
It’s that moment in time when the past two weeks have been a blur. You stop to catch your breath, knowing you have achieved that coveted next level. But take a side trip to Amazon.com to see how to replace your “refresh” key that you wore out as you await your team’s fate. You just want to see your team’s name on one of those 16 lines.
(If the WIAA has not posted the regional matchups, a couple thousand words from now, I will give you what I know at the end).
After the 2A District 1/2 tournament, and the 1A District/Bi-District tournament-on-steroids, the Northwest Conference has nine teams appearing in the Regional fields. Lynden, Lynden Christian and Meridian have doubled up, qualifying boys and girls teams. The Lakewood boys, as well as the Burlington-Edison and Nooksack Valley girl’s teams have also made their fields of 16.
The 1A’s were extremely busy over the past two weeks, especially if you fell into the consolation part of the bracket. The Pioneer girls have now played eight post-season games, for a total of 28 on the season. The Meridian boys and girl’s teams are up to 26 games.
The Lynden boys took home their second straight district title, with a 62-52 win over Lakewood, Saturday night, at Mt. Vernon High School. The Lions are now 21-2, and have achieved the #1 seed for the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The Lynden girls will be the state’s #1 seed for the second year in a row.
After two straight state titles and the loss of ten seniors in 2019, I don’t think anyone thought that, even Lynden, could be in this position again. Yet, here they are.
But let’s go back to Thursday. That’s the night that Lynden Christian and Meridian both won games that qualified for regionals. The Lyncs beat Cedar Park Christian, and the Trojans got past Bear Creek. Those wins also meant that their district games were complete. Meridian played six district and bi-district games. Two of those were wins over Nooksack Valley, and two more were over Cedar Park Christian.
In the 2A tournament at Mt. Vernon, there was a huge game on the consolation side. When you have a loser out situation, combined with a rivalry, you get fireworks.
The Bulldog gym was near capacity as the Seahawks and Tigers took the floor. The Tigers were the #1 seed in the State RPI as the post-season began. They had also beaten the Seahawks twice on the season, by 14 and 15 points.
The Seahawks were making a nice push at the end of the season, but had suffered a loss at the buzzer to Mountlake Terrace, before beating Cedarcrest in a loser out game. The Tigers had been beaten for the first time in the 2020 calendar year, in a semifinal loss to Lakewood.
This game started out as if the result would be the same, as the Tigers held a 27-18 lead at halftime. But the Seahawks kept the pressure on. The Tigers has some passing issues in the third quarter against the Seahawks full court press. It wasn’t as though the passing was all that wild. They seemed be the correct passes to make, but they just didn’t find the receiver at times. Some were a bit arrant, while others were tipped by heady Seahawk defenders with hands anticipating passing lanes.
A 3-pointer by Seahawks junior, Treyton Wilbur, would be the final points of the third quarter, and it pulled the Seahawks to within 35-33.
Senior Kaeden Flynn scored for the Seahawks on a runner down the lane to tie the score at 35-35. A few seconds later, Tiger Senior, Wyatt Walker, hit a three from the right wing on the press-break, and the Tigers had the lead right back.
The Tigers took a 42-37 lead, only to see it tied at 42, and again at 44 with three minutes to play.
Logan Wright gave the Tigers a 46-44 lead scoring his only bucket of the game, as he drove to the hoop and scored over the heavy defense of the Seahawks Chase Cornett.
With 2:40 left, and the Tigers still leading 46-44, the Seahawks had the ball out of bounds, on their left baseline. They lined up three players in single file at the 3-point line on the right side, with Michael Aggergaard about ten feet behind them. No one would ever shoot from there, right?
Aggergaard as an affinity for the long shot. And, I mean, long. He is often seen launching from 25-feet, or more. On this night, he had come up empty from that distance on a few tries, but did have an early 2-pointer next to his name.
The ball was inbounded from the left baseline to the right wing, where Aggargaard made the catch, and hoisted a 30-footer, which hit nothing but net, and put the Seahawks in front, 47-46.
After a Tiger miss, Flynn scored down the middle to push the lead to three. After empty possessions by both teams, the Seahawks turned the ball over with 34 seconds left.
The Tigers desperately worked for the tying 3-pointer, but the shot was missed, as well as a couple put-back attempts. The Seahawks finally secured the rebound, and Flynn was fouled with eight seconds left.
Flynn hit one of two free throws, giving the Seahawks a four point lead, and the win, 50-46, over the rival Tigers.
The promising season for the Tigers ended with back-to-back district tournament losses, and a 20-3 record.
Tiger Senior, DJ Clark continued to impress with his play at both ends of the floor. The 6-1 guard scored 17 points, and spent his time on defense on the Seahawks best offensive player, 6-7 Grayson Eaton. Eaton scored 14 for the Seahawks, as did Flynn. The Tigers could get no other players in double-figures. Seniors Wyatt Walker and Jackson Reisner would combine for only 12 points.
The win earned the Seahawks a rematch with Mountlake Terrace, in the Saturday, winner to state-loser out game. There would be no drama at the end of this one, however, as MLT eliminated the Seahawks, 65-49.
After a 9-9 tie after eight minutes, the Hawks took control and led 32-21 at halftime. Grayson Eaton was the only Seahawk to hit more than one field goal, as he scored 12 points in the first half. Eaton worked the low post, and also stepped out and hit two 3-pointers.
The Hawks have a lot of balance in their offensive numbers, as five players average between nine and 13 points a game. The same was true in the first half, as six players chipped in for their 32 points.
The second half was played around the hoop, as Hawk 6-7 junior, Jace Breakfield, scored 17 of his 23 points. Most of his scoring was set up by heady Hawk guards, who managed to break the Seahawk press, and set Breakfield up for layins.
It wasn’t always that easy, as the Seahawks did force several turnovers with their press. However, in a Mountlake Terrace 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter, MLT senior guard, Mason Christianson, an All-Wesco player, had his fingerprints on about everything that happened in that run.
Whether it was a tough rebound working against the big guys, or defending in the passing lanes, or dribbling through the press to set up Breakfield, or even an inbounds pass of a defender’s backside and scoring a lay-in for himself, he was certainly the key Hawk in the second half.
The Seahawks did not get on the board until the 2:43 mark of the fourth quarter, and by then they were down by 20 points.
Anacortes finished the season with a record of 14-11.
The championship game was rematch between NWC foes, Lakewood and Lynden. The Lions beat the Cougars 75-65 in late January. In much the same manner, the Lions won this one, 62-52.
These teams have very opposite strengths. The Lions have the dominant inside game with 6-11 Liam Hanenburg and the 6-1 (in the program only) Brock Heppner. The Cougars always have five players on the floor who can hit 3-pointers. I call Lakewood the most “dangerous” team in the NWC, because of that ability. That came true in their semifinal win over Burlington.
The first time these two met, Hanenburg scored 17 points. He did that again. Heppner had only four in the first game, but Lion sophomore, Jordan Medcalf, tossed in 27. On Saturday night, it was the senior, Heppner, who scored all 22 of his points after the first quarter.
In both games, the Lions used the middle quarters to create some distance on the scoreboard. In January, the Lions outscored the Cougars, 42-24 over that period. On Saturday, they had a 33-16 advantage.
Hanenburg was in foul trouble, so his minutes were limited after the first quarter. During that time, Heppner was unstoppable inside, scoring 16 points over the middle two quarters. The Lions got good defensive play off the bench by senior Harley Vandenberg, during Hanenburg’s absence. Vandenberg pulled down a few rebounds, and stroked two free throws.
Regional matchups, dates, times and venues will be released by the WIAA sometime on Sunday. There has been no word of the exact time for that to happen. When they are public, our brackets will be updated, and I will have more information out in the coming days.
Regionals will be Friday, the 28th, and Saturday, the 29th. Expect a full day of games at MVHS. You can also expect the Lynden boys and girls teams to play there, back-to-back. The Lynden Christian girls should also be playing there, but it looks like the boys team will have to travel. None of those four teams will be in a loser out situation in their regional game.
The Lynden boys should draw #8 Mountlake Terrace. The Girls will have West Valley-Spokane. The LC girls should get #7 Annie Wright, and the boys may end up with #3 Zillah. (Unofficially).
The Meridian boys are a #12 seed and will be on the hosting side, but where is unknown, and the probable opponent is Vashon Island. Same deal with #12 Lakewood in 2A, who should be hosting Franklin Pierce. The Burlington-Edison girls look like a #5 seed, which puts them at the #4 seed, possibly White River. The Nooksack girls are #8, which puts them against #1 Cashmere. The Meridian girls are #15, which gives them #10 Okanogan.
The only fly in the ointment is that in the loser out regional games (seeds 9-16), they don’t want teams from the same league to play each other. That could possibly change 2A games. That is why none of this is official.
~ Ted House
Two Seniors Carry the Load in Tuesday District Action
Feb 19, 2020 7:30 PM
The Lynden Lions and the Lakewood Cougars have many differences
in their basketball programs. But the one thing they do have in
common is, they will occupy two of the three allocations to the
Regional round of the 2A classification’s state tournament.
In Tuesday night’s semifinals in the Mt. Vernon High School
gym, the #2 seed Lions overcame a 12 point second quarter deficit,
and advanced to the district championship game by beating #3
Mountlake Terrace, 58-49.
The Lynden Lions and the Lakewood Cougars have many differences in their basketball programs. But the one thing they do have in common is, they will occupy two of the three allocations to the Regional round of the 2A classification’s state tournament.
In Tuesday night’s semifinals in the Mt. Vernon High School gym, the #2 seed Lions overcame a 12 point second quarter deficit, and advanced to the district championship game by beating #3 Mountlake Terrace, 58-49.
Later that night, the #4 Cougars advanced by scoring 27 fourth quarter points, and upset #1 seed Burlington-Edison, 58-47. The Cougars and Lions will play for the district championship, Saturday, at 730pm. The third place game will begin at 6pm.
It is the first ever entry to regionals for the Cougars. They have never achieved participation in the coveted state tournament. Meanwhile, the Lions will have been involved in every regional event since it began, nine seasons ago, and also have their names on ten state basketball championships, including the past two.
While the Cougar seniors outnumber the Lion seniors only 7-5, it’s the varsity experience factor where there is a big difference. The Cougars have four seniors in their starting lineup, led by four-year starter, Alex Jensen. The Lions, meanwhile, have only one senior starter, Brock Heppner, who is a three-year varsity regular, and the only Lion to see regular varsity time last season.
Those two would be pivotal to their teams’ success on this night, as both players seemed to carry their team to victory, shouldering the responsibilities they have earned.
Mountlake Terrace made things very difficult for the Lions for most of the first half. Hawk sturdy 6-6 junior, Jace Breakfield, was strong enough inside to control 6-11 Lion, Liam Hanenburg. Or, at least, make things as tough as possible. Hanenburg did score 10 of his 16 points in the first half, however. And when Breakfield wasn’t leaning on Liam, he was a factor at the offensive end for the Hawks, as he scored eight of his ten points in the first half, including a 3-pointer.
The Hawks broke a 9-9 tie late in the first quarter with an 11-2 run, eventually leading 27-12 with four minutes left in the half. The Lions were battling the tough Hawk defense, and could not seem to find the offensive rhythm they are used to.
In the last two minutes of the half, the Lions created some momentum on defense, as steals by junior Koby Whitman and sophomore Jordan Medcalf led to quick points, along with free throws by sophomore Kaleo Jandoc and Hanenburg. The Hawks still led 30-25 at the half.
Down 32-25, the Lions scored seven straight, capped by a hard drive by Jandoc. After five straight by the Hawks, the Lions began to use Heppner more and more. As Breakfield helped to neutralize Hanenburg, the Hawks had no Plan B for Heppner. His free throws at the 2:34 mark of the third period put the Lions ahead for good. By the end of the quarter, the Lions had increased their lead to six, 45-39.
With the Lions nursing a small lead, there were several empty possessions by both teams early in the fourth quarter. Terrace senior, Mason Christianson nailed a 3-pointer with under three minutes to go, to cut the Lion lead to 53-49.
After the Lions next possession, the Hawks began to race down the center of the floor with a fast break opportunity that would cut the lead to two. However, as the Hawks approached mid court on the dribble, Jandoc was ahead of the ball, and looking over his shoulder. As a Hawk player tried to throw the ball ahead, over the racing Jandoc, he turned and jumped high in the air, deflecting the ball upward, and Medcalf was able to secure the ball for the Lions.
However, more empty possessions by both teams kept the score at 53-49 until Medcalf hit two free throws with a minute left. The Lions defense kept the Hawks from getting any open three point attempts in the last minute, and their free throws sealed the deal.
Heppner scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, and was responsible for the only two 3-pointers for the Lions, and seemingly, every defensive rebound in the fourth quarter.
Hanenburg also scored 16 points, and Medcalf finished with 10. The Lions hit 15-19 free throws in the second half. Christianson and Breakfield led the Hawks with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Mountlake Terrace will play Liberty, who was a 75-70 winner over Blaine, in the second consolation game, Thursday night, at Mt. Vernon.
For Lakewood, Jensen also had a big second half in the Cougar victory over Burlington. After scoring only six points through the first three quarters, Jensen scored 14 of his teams 27 points in the fourth quarter.
This was a well played, though not a well shot, game in the first half, as the teams were tied at 18-18 at the break. The Cougars held a 31-30 lead after three quarters.
The Cougars took a quick 36-30 lead, then the teams traded hoops as Tiger seniors, Erik Altenhofen and Jackson Reisner stroked 3-pointers around inside scores by Cougar senior, Morgan Stacey, and Jensen. That basket by Jensen was his first of three scores in a row, all around the basket, giving the Cougars a 44-36 lead with under four minutes to play.
Jensen went 8-8 from the free throw line in the final minutes, and 10-10 for the night, and finished with 20 points. Junior Shae Dixon hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven of his 10 points.
Reisner finished with 12 points for the Tigers, with Wyatt Walker pitching in 10, but neither was able to get into the offensive form that they are known for.
The Tigers will play their rival, the Anacortes Seahawks, in Thursday’s 6pm consolation game. Anacortes eliminated Cedarcrest 65-50, on Tuesday.
And this wasn’t all that happened on that night.
Meridian beat Nooksack Valley, 71-51, ending the Pioneers season. The Pioneers finish 12-14.
The Trojans turned a five point halftime lead, into a 20 point win behind the hot outside shooting of seniors, Jordan Veenstra and Ryan Johnson. Veenstra nailed seven 3-pointers, and scored 25 points. Johnson scored 16, with four by 3-pointer. Cody Coppinger, the Pioneers only underclassman, scored 20 points.
The Trojans marathon continues on Thursday with a road game at Bear Creek. They will officially cross the finish line with a win. A loss sends them to a do-or-die game on Saturday, at Shorewood High School. Thursday will mark the sixth post-season game for the Trojans, who now have a 17-8 record.
The Lyncs are in the same position as the Trojans. A win on Thursday, at home against Cedar Park Christian, gets them a spot in regionals. A loss gives them another chance on Saturday.
The Borderites season came to an end with the loss to Liberty, despite 29 points by junior, Josh Russ, who gets my award for the league’s, “Quietest Big Scorer.” I’ve seen the Borderites play several times this year, and he always has more points than I think he has. Senior, Zane Rector scored 20 points in his final game.
In the 2A district tournament, the squeeze is on. Too many good teams, with too few allocations. Every team remaining would be a tough out in the regional round.
In the 1A Bi-District tourney, Seattle Academy and Kings have locked up two of the five spots to regionals. Lynden Christian and Meridian are in good position for two of the remaining three spots.
~ Ted House
Field Narrows as District Tournaments Continue
Feb 16, 2020 6:13 PM
The 1A district tournament marathon has reached the half way
point. Meanwhile, the 2A and 3A district tournaments are now in
full swing, with regional spots up for grabs this week in all
Thirteen Northwest Conference boys basketball teams qualified
for the post-season, and nine remain. Two were KO’d by their own
league, as Blaine eliminated Sehome, and Anacortes did the same to
The 1A district tournament marathon has reached the half way point. Meanwhile, the 2A and 3A district tournaments are now in full swing, with regional spots up for grabs this week in all classifications.
Thirteen Northwest Conference boys basketball teams qualified for the post-season, and nine remain. Two were KO’d by their own league, as Blaine eliminated Sehome, and Anacortes did the same to Sedro-Woolley.
In 1A, Lynden Christian will play a home game on Thursday, where a win will send the Lyncs to regionals. Meridian awaits the Nooksack-Overlake winner, at home on Tuesday. The Pioneers play an elimination game on Monday at Overlake. The Trojans will go to regionals if they win their next two. The Pioneers will go if they can win three in a row.
Ferndale’s season came to an end with a loss to Arlington in the 3A play-in round. The young Golden Eagles could be a force in the NWC next season.
Squalicum got through the play-in round, and then lost to Wesco League champion, Marysville-Pilchuck. The Storm will play a loser out game at Meadowdale on Wednesday. They will have to win three straight to get to regionals.
In the 2A district tournament, Mountlake Terrace nipped Anacortes at the buzzer Saturday night, sending the Hawks to the Tuesday semi’s against Lynden, who was a winner over Cedarcrest.
On the other side of the bracket, Lakewood defeated Liberty and Burlington-Edison beat Blaine. The Cougars and Tigers will play in the semis on Tuesday. Anacortes will play Cedarcrest, and Liberty goes against Blaine in consolation games, also on Tuesday. The consolation games will be held at Mt. Vernon Christian High School, while the semifinals are at Mt. Vernon High School.
Meridian won three of their four games last week, and finished third in the District Tournament. They started out with a 77-49 home court win over Cedar Park Christian, turning around a 12 point road loss to the Eagles in January.
The Trojans fed off the hot hand of senior Jordan Veenstra, who’s five first half 3-pointers led the Trojans to a 38-23 lead at halftime. He hit three more in the second half, and finished with 26 points. Steady senior Jackson Short threw in 16 more, with senior Ryan Johnson adding 11. The Trojans hit 13 3-pointers on the night.
Johnson made some of the best pin-point passes I’ve see all season. One was a two-handed outlet pass from near the defensive basket, to a sprinting teammate at the sideline at midcourt, with a defender on his bumper. Others were in a spread half-court offense, where he knew who would open up on a cut to the hoop for a back door pass. Nothing, beats a well executed back door pass.
Lynden Christian’s 72-37 win over South Whidbey on Wednesday did not start out so great for the Lyncs. The Falcons start three players who are 6-7, 6-7 and 6-6. But it was 5-11 senior guard, Dexter Jokinen, who did the early damage to the Lyncs. He hit three long 3-pointers and accounted for ten of the Falcons 14 first quarter points. They led the Lyncs by two points after eight minutes.
With the Falcons leading 17-15, two minutes into the second quarter, the Lyncs hit their stride. Six different players scored in the second quarter, as the Lyncs went on an 18-2 run up to halftime. Over the second and third quarters, the Lyncs outscored the Falcons 45-10. The Lyncs balanced attack had four players in double-figures. Bryce Bouwman, Jaden DeBoer and Shale Whittern scored 12 points each, and Andrew DeVries finished with 11. Whittern’s 12 was on four second half 3-pointers.
On Thursday, Blaine hosted Sehome for the second consecutive game. The Borderites beat the Mariners 61-57 last Saturday in a game that was rescheduled due to weather. As it turned out, the Borderites finished with the #8 seed, which means they host the #9 seed, who was Sehome, in a loser out contest.
The hyped up Borderite crowd got amped even further, as junior guard, Kyle Turnberg , nailed a 3-pointer on their first possession. The Borderites built an 18-5 lead late in the first quarter, hitting four 3-pointers.
With 2:30 left in the half, the Borderites led 32-17, but a 3-pointer by Mariner junior, Elliott Tanovan, tied the score at 35-35, three minutes into the third quarter. With the score knotted at 38, senior, Zane Rector scored five straight points for the Borderites, right before freshman guard, Josh Audette, nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Audette was on the floor for Turnberg, who was on the bench with four fouls.
The Borderites held an eight to 12 point lead the rest of the way, ending Sehome’s season with a record of 8-13. Tanovan led the Mariners with 17. Junior Jake Ortega finished with 14. Rector’s 16 led the Borderties, with junior Josh Ross adding 15. Turnberg finished with 10.
The win sent the Borderites to Burlington, for a Saturday night matchup with the Tigers, the District’s #1 seed. The Tigers tolled to an 81-51 victory, behind the 24 points of Jackson Reisner, and 17 from Wyatt Walker. Russ had 14, and Turnberg had 12 for the Borderites. Cole Thomas, a 6-3, steadily improving sophomore, had 11.
Also on Saturday, Lakewood got an 81-72 win over Liberty. Senior Morgan Stacey had a big night, with 29 points. Alex Jenson was nearby with 24. The game was tied after three quarters.
In Tuesday’s consolation games which will be played at Mt. Vernon Christian High School, Anacortes will take on Cedarcrest at 6pm, followed by Liberty against Blaine at 730pm. The Seahawks were done in by a buzzer-beating 3-point shot by Muhammed Kineth of Mountlake Terrace, 51-50. The two teams combined for only 11 points in the fourth quarter.
In one semifinal, Lakewood will play Burlington at 7:30pm at Mt. Vernon High School. The 6pm game will feature Lynden and Mountlake Terrace.
On Saturday night, the Lions used their strong inside game to defeat Cedarcrest, 71-54. Senior Brock Heppner and junior, Liam Hanenburg combined for 20 of the Lions 21 points in the first quarter. Hanenburg finished with 30 on the night, with 13 for Heppner. The Lions built a 24 point lead by the middle of the third quarter.
Backing up a day to Friday, the 1A district championship game between Kings and Lynden Christian was played at Mt. Vernon High School. It was one of the most intriguing games I have seen in a long time, as the Kings Knights knocked off Lynden Christian, 69-57.
The winner gets a spot in the regional round, and a straight shot to the Bi-District championship game next week, against the top team from the Emerald City League, Seattle Academy.
The Knights and the Lyncs designed their defenses to put the clamps on the other teams’ big scorers. And, both were successful. So, which teams “next in line” would have the ability to step up, and win a big game?
The thing that the combo-defenses do is confuse the other teams offense, allowing fewer shots for leading scorers, while freeing up others. And, those who get more shots sometimes take them from spots on the floor that they may not be used to shooting from.
The Knights defense had a defender run with Andrew DeVries, denying him the ball everywhere on the floor. The Knights also paid close attention to Jaden DeBoer, and played a zone with the rest of their defenders.
At the start, the Lyncs would have nothing to do with any combo-defense, as they torched the nets in the first quarter, to a 23-12 lead.
Leading the way was senior big man, Zach Sipma. Sipma seems to have a knack for early fireworks, typically knocking down big shots in the opening minutes. On this night, he did much more than that.
The Knights defense was tight on the LC scorers, but would leave others open. LC junior, Logan Dykstra, found himself alone in the opening seconds, and nailed a 3-pointer. Now, I have not seen every LC game, but I have seen enough to know that Dykstra’s offense comes from around the hoop, and I don’t recall seeing him take a 3-pointer. But, the Knights defense left him alone, and he took full advantage.
On the next possession, it was Sipma’s turn, as he stroked a three, for a 6-0 lead. The next LC bucket came as Sipma ran the floor in transition, and beat the Knights down the floor for a lay-in. After that, Sipma had a flurry of three more 3-pointers, and scored 14 points in the opening quarter. In all, the Lyncs hit seven 3-pointers in the first eight minutes, and led the Knights, 23-12.
So much for the combo-defense? You either have to scrap it, or be patient. The Knights were patient.
The Knights did that at both ends of the floor, as the Lyncs imposed the same sort of defense on the Knights, as they denied the ball to Knights leading scorer, 6-7 sophomore, Tyler Linhardt. The Lyncs defense on Linhardt worked, as he scored on four points in the first half.
However, those that the Lyncs left open, began to come through as the Knights scored the first eight points of the second quarter to slice the LC lead to three. Then, a 3-pointer by Knights junior, Will Pohland, brought the Knights to within one.
The Lyncs still led by four at halftime, and the leading scorers for both teams were nowhere to be found. Linhardt made one 2-point shot, and had four points. DeVries and DeBoer were shut out, getting very few opportunities. But, others for both teams had picked up the slack in the scoring column.
The Lyncs found the Knights defense much tougher to negotiate in the third quarter, as the Lyncs managed only six points. A Pohland 3-pointer tied the score at 35-35, and a bucket by Jaron Hansen gave the Knights the lead for good.
Linhardt did not score in the third quarter. DeBoer managed a layin, but DeVries was still being shut out.
By this time, the defensive chess match had gone on, and on. All each team had left was a rook, a bishop, a few pawns, and one of those horsey things.
The Lyncs trailed by six starting the final quarter, but the Knights lead quickly increased to 13. The Lyncs could not get close than seven the rest of the way.
Linhardt scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, and finished with 16. Normally, holding Linhardt to 16 gives you a pretty good chance to win. DeBoer scored 11 in the fourth quarter to finish with 13. DeVries could never get on track. He hit one 3-pointer with 2:05 left that cut the Knights lead to seven.
The difference was the scoring of the supporting cast for the Knights. Pohland scored 14 points, off the bench, where the Knights had a 31-17 advantage. Jaron Hansen’s 12 points was also a part of that 31.
Sipma finished with 16, but only two after the first quarter.
The Lyncs are still in good shape, as they await a winner to come from a string of games. If they win on Thursday, they qualify for regionals, and are done until then. Should they lose, they will play one final winner in, loser out game.
By Saturday night, all district tournaments will be complete. The 16 that qualify for regionals for each classification, will be given a seed, 1-16, based on their state RPI. The state RPI will include all district tournament games.
~ Ted House
Tigers Beat Lions for NWC Title
Feb 9, 2020 1:30 PM
The Burlington-Edison Tigers completed a perfect Northwest
Conference schedule, with a 58-49 home win over the Lynden Lions,
on Saturday night. It was the first outright NWC title for the
Tigers, who will carry a 19-1 record, and a 12 game winning streak
into next week’s District Tournament.
The Burlington-Edison Tigers completed a perfect Northwest Conference schedule, with a 58-49 home win over the Lynden Lions, on Saturday night. It was the first outright NWC title for the Tigers, who will carry a 19-1 record, and a 12 game winning streak into next week’s District Tournament.
The Lions finish the regular season with an 18-2 season record, including second place in the NWC at 12-1. They will have the #2 seed to the district tournament.
The game was played in the Tiger Gym, in front of a capacity crowd of 1200 (plus). The Tigers had shared NWC titles with Squalicum in 2008, and Sehome in 2011.
The Tigers scored the first five points of the game, which is something that would become a theme as the game developed. The Lions had trouble finding the hoop in the first half, missing some generally easy shots and free throws. Meanwhile, the Tigers built a 17-9 lead after the first eight minutes, as seniors, Jackson Reisner and Wyatt Walker got going early on offense.
The Tigers were especially efficient at the start of each quarter, and coming out of timeouts. They scored the first two baskets of three of the four quarters, and the first score in the other.
Trailing 21-11 early in the second period, the Lions chipped away, closing to 24-20 on a Brock Heppner 3-pointer, near the end of the half. The Tigers led 26-22 at the half, as the Lions sank only four of nine free throws. Reisner scored ten of his 12 points in the first half, and also did a solid job inside, defending 6-11 Lion, Liam Hanenburg. Hanenburg did get to the rim for a few put-backs, and totaled eight of his ten points in the first half.
The Tigers went on a 5-0 run to start the third quarter, taking a 31-22 lead. The Lions came back to trail 33-30 on an inside bucket by Heppner. Then Heppner nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to narrow the margin to 35-33, as Hanenburg picked up his fourth foul, and spent several minutes on the bench.
Down by just two, the Lions had two chances with the ball to tie or take the lead, but could not get closer, as they turned the ball over on consecutive possessions.
Tiger senior, DJ Clark, hit a big 3-pointer to stretch the lead to seven, right before Lion junior, Koby Whitman hit a circus shot right before the third quarter buzzer. He attacked the rim with a hard drive from the right wing, but his course was altered by the 6-7 Walker. Whitman hung in the air, jack-knifed the legs, hit an underhand scoop off the glass.
The Tigers five point lead was stretched to nine in the first 45 seconds of the fourth quarter, and reached 11 with 6:30 left. A 3-pointer by Kaleo Jandoc trimmed the lead to eight with 5:30 to go, but that’s as close as the Lions would get. The Tigers closed the game out with efficient offense and effective man-to-man defense that never did let the young Lion shooters get comfortable on the 3-point line.
The Lions hit 5-15 three’s in the game, which was better than the Tigers 6-22. However, the Tigers shot 65% on shots from inside the arc, hitting 17-26. Their offensive efficiency can be seen in one statistic: they dished out 21 assists on their 23 field goals.
Walker, who scored 13, along with Reisner’s 12, was five points below their normal combination of 30 points per game. The Lions duo of Heppner (13) and Henenburg (10), was also held below their averages.
DJ Clark came through for the Tigers, scoring nine of his 13 in the second half. Eric Altenhofen also reached double-figures, with 10.
Lion sophomore, Jordan Medcalf, led his team with 15 points, as he was 5-5 from the field, and 4-4 from the free throw line.
The difference in the two teams on this night was Tigers experience, overall strength, and the home court. It wasn’t a playoff game, but it really was a playoff game. Each team got a good idea of how they stack up, and what they need to adjust, as they head into the most meaningful games.
The 2A District Tournament for the boys begins with the loser out round on Thursday, February 13, with home games at the higher seed. The seeds will become official after Anacortes plays Ferndale on Monday night.
The Tigers and Lions get a bye, and will host games on Saturday. The Tigers will play the winner of the #11 vs. #6 game, at 6pm. The Lions will play at 7pm on the same night, against the #10 vs #7 winner.
All the best to every Northwest Conference team that is heading to the post-season. All of you are certainly seasoned, and ready for the roads that lead to Yakima and Tacoma.
~ Ted House
Post-Season is Upon Us; Lions & Tigers Finally Get Together
Feb 8, 2020 9:39 AM
And, just like that, it’s time for the post-season! In a matter
of seconds, Mt. Baker tips off the 1A District tournament with a
play in game at Coupeville. Saturday night’s winner will advance to
take on the Kings Knights on Monday.
As the 1A’s begin their first of two district tournaments,
there is still some business to take care of with a few 2A and 3A
teams. Last week’s rains forced postponement of the
Anacortes-Ferndale game. That will be made up on Monday night in
Ferndale. Both teams are still jockeying for RPI position in their
respective district classifications.
There’s also one other game with just a few post-season
implications attached to it.
And, just like that, it’s time for the post-season! In a matter of seconds, Mt. Baker tips off the 1A District tournament with a play in game at Coupeville. Saturday night’s winner will advance to take on the Kings Knights on Monday.
As the 1A’s begin their first of two district tournaments, there is still some business to take care of with a few 2A and 3A teams. Last week’s rains forced postponement of the Anacortes-Ferndale game. That will be made up on Monday night in Ferndale. Both teams are still jockeying for RPI position in their respective district classifications.
There’s also one other game with just a few post-season implications attached to it.
Back in January, the snow played havoc on the basketball schedule. Lynden and Burlington-Edison were both undefeated at the mid-point of the season, when their game was postponed. They play tonight (Saturday), in Burlington, and they have both run the table through 12 conference games. In fact, it is difficult to separate these teams, statistically, or on the floor.
Both teams have won 18 games, with a single loss. The Tigers defeat was to (4A) Kennedy Catholic, in a holiday tournament, at Kennedy. They also have wins over 4A’s Kentwood and Inglemoor. The Tigers have won 11 straight.
The Lions have won 18 in a row, since their season opening home loss to (3A) Gig Harbor. The Tides are the top team in the South Sound Conference. The Lions also have non-league wins over Marysville-Pilchuck, who is undefeated in the Wesco, along with Kings, Prairie and Davis.
Score comparisons between the Tigers and Lions against their NWC foes is also incredibly even. The Lions two closest games have been their ten point wins over Lakewood and Meridian. The Tigers had to go to overtime to win two conference games, but no other teams came within ten points.
The similarities do not end there. On the floor, both teams can score inside or outside. The Lions boast a strong inside game with 6-1 senior, Brock Heppner, and 6-11 junior, Liam Hanenburg. The Tigers can also score inside with the talents of versatile seniors, 6-4 Jackson Reisner, and 6-7, Wyatt Walker. Isaac Donovan, a 6-6 junior, comes off the bench for the Tigers, and also adds low post strength.
Both teams are also capable of winning games from beyond the arc. Reisner and Walker are the Tigers main outside threats, and have unlimited range. Their size also helps them get shots off above challenging defenders. They are complimented by a cast of capable shooters. Seniors DJ Clark, Logan Wright and Erik Altenhofen, can’t be left unguarded.
The young Lion perimeter players have aged quickly. Junior Clay Kochuten, and sophomore Jordan Medcalf, have become deadly shooters when given time to get set. Sophomore Kaleo Jandoc, also keeps defenses from sagging, although he will probably miss this game due to a shoulder injury. Junior Koby Whitman and senior, Austin Anderson, have also proven their outside punch.
Both teams employ similar styles of play. They both have highly efficient half court games, which is the number one characteristic of a team that can manage their way through a post-season run. But they will also dazzle you with their running ability when those situations present themselves.
Tiger Coach Chas Kok, a disciple of Lynden Coach Brian Roper, may explain some of the similarities of the teams. Although Coach Kok can also draw on his experience of playing at levels beyond high school. He was a 2007 graduate of LHS, and a football and basketball state champion for the Lions. He is in his third year as head coach of the Tigers.
The one difference between the two clubs may be the number of driver’s licenses they have. The Tigers start five experienced seniors who have gone a little bit farther in the post-season each year, under Coach Kok. Last year, their season ended with a Wednesday State Tournament loss to Renton.
The Lions draw off of the experience of their only senior, Heppner, as he is the only Lion who had a previous varsity role. He is a four-year varsity player. The rest of the group has taken giant steps in their maturity, and has not been shy when facing any rough situations this year. This is also the time of year when sophomore’s are now juniors, and juniors are now seniors. The Tigers have several now in grad school.
This game means an outright NWC title, and will carry with it, the number one seed to next week’s 2A District 1/2 Tournament. The loser will be the #2 seed.
Regarding the state basketball RPI, the Lions currently lead the Tigers by a fraction. (Using “whisker” there seemed contradictory). However, my guess is that they will stay in the top two spots, no matter who wins Saturday’s game. The state RPI counts all games through the district tournament.
In the district RPI, Mountlake Terrace will hold on to the #3 seed if they beat Shorewood on Monday. If they lose, they will drop to #5. Currently, Lakewood is #4 and Liberty is #5, with their regular season’s complete. The rest of the spots are still unsettled. Seedings will become official after completion of games on Monday night.
Ferndale appears to be locked into the 10th and final spot in the 3A District RPI. Squalicum is currently #8, with Wesco games remaining on Monday. The Golden Eagles and the Storm will be in the play-in round on Thursday. Possible opponents for the Storm could be Shorewood or Ferndale.
The full 1A District Tournament begins on Monday, with two games in Whatcom County. Meridian will host Cedar Park Christian, a team the Trojans lost to in mid January. Lynden Christian will host Sultan. Nooksack Valley will take the curvy road to South Whidbey, and the Mt. Baker-Coupeville winner will go to Kings.
There is a quick turnaround, as round two will be on Tuesday. Five of the eight teams will advance to the Bi-District Tournament.
Senior parents: I know what you are going through. These precious moments go quick, so don’t miss any. Be loud and proud, and enjoy the ride.
~ Ted House
Groundhog Says, "Five More Weeks"
Feb 3, 2020 6:58 PM
February 2, 2020
It’s Groundhog Day, and we all know what that means. Of course,
it means five more weeks of high school basketball, whether he saw
his shadow, or not. And, if those next five weeks are as
entertaining as the last one, you won’t want to miss a minute.
It’s Groundhog Day, and we all know what that means. Of course, it means five more weeks of high school basketball, whether he saw his shadow, or not. And, if those next five weeks are as entertaining as the last one, you won’t want to miss a minute.
Burlington-Edison and Lynden have reached the 10-0 pinnacle in conference play, and each has three games remaining. If they can both go 2-0, they will be undefeated when they meet in Burlington on Saturday, February 8. If that happens, then my half-baked prediction of the conference winner possibly being 10-3 because of all the balance in the league, well, why did I even bring that up?
Lakewood and Lynden Christian are tied for third with 9-2 records, and will meet at LC this week. If Mother Nature can just sit back and watch for a while, the official NWC end of the regular season is now Monday, February 10. That will be the make-up day for the Anacortes-Ferndale game that was postponed on Saturday.
This week, Lynden played four games in which their young, but quickly aging, perimeter players would be tested. It began with a 75-65 win over Lakewood, who is loaded with quality players on the outside.
Leading the way was sophomore wing, Jordan Medcalf. The defending 2A Golf Champion, poured in 27 points (9 under par), and did it in a variety of ways. As did Cougar senior guard, Alex Jensen, a top candidate for league Most Valuable Player. Jensen also scored 27, including 12 of his teams 14 in the first quarter. The Lions outscored the Cougars 42-24 over the middle two quarters, and led by 22 points early in the fourth.
The play of the game was an assist from Lion senior Brock Heppner to 6-11 junior, Liam Hanenburg. In the third quarter, there was a scrum for a loose ball under the Lion basket. Heppner secured the ball, but was seated comfortably in the middle of the key, as the Cougar defenders towered above. However, Heppner gave the ball a two-hand toss toward the rim, where the much taller tower, Hanenburg, caught it, and laid it neatly over the rim.
The next night, the Lions were tested again by the Kings Knights. Anyone who had followed Kings basketball over the decades knows what the Knights bring to the gym on a nightly basis. Always long-armed, disciplined and athletic, and one really special player.
That guy is 6-7 sophomore, Tyler Linhardt. Linhardt possesses tremendous offensive skills, and while normally a fairly balanced team, scoring wise, it was all Linhardt on this night.
After the Lions opened with a 7-0 lead, Linhardt scored eight straight for the Knights, and all 11 Kings points in the first quarter. He totaled 27 for the game, but the Lions had five players in double-figures, and beat the Knights 66-50.
After the loss, the Knights record fell to 10-9 on the season. Not the normal record from a Kings team, however there is more to the story.
They were granted the opportunity by their opponents in the North Sound league to play each league team only once. That would give them more non-league games, with the hopes of creating a better state RPI. However, that plan may not benefit their RPI, due to the losses they have taken. But those losses have all been to good teams in higher classifications. I’m sure that at the very least, their schedule has toughened them for the playoffs.
Boys and girls games on Thursday and Friday were the “Coaches vs. Cancer” games. When you combine this benefit and have the Lynden and Lynden Christian teams playing each other, it becomes a fantastic event.
On Thursday, the girls played in front of a crowd that I would estimate to be around 2,500 people at Jake Maberry Gymnasium. I was thinking that this may be the largest crowd ever to see a girl’s high school basketball game in Whatcom County (maybe well beyond). And during a pre-game announcement, Lynden Athletic Director Mike McKee, echoed the same comment. The Lyncs and Lions high ranking and combined record of 31-1 entering the contest, made this a major event of its own.
It was the Lyncs that came away with a hard fought 37-34 victory.
The next night, on the other side of the railroad tracks, the boys teams met in the LC gym. Basketball in certainly an indoor game, but weather was still a factor.
The cozy LC gym would be a sure sellout. Students from both schools lined up approximately 90 minutes prior to the door opening at 5pm, all braving the heavy rains and high winds so secure their seats.
By the time the doors opened, the line of umbrellas had grown lengthy, with no let up in the weather. As fans passed through the doors, and entered the gym, hopefully many heard a tune that took them back a few decades.
In the 1970’s, when the boys state tournament was played at the University of Puget Sound Fieldhouse, there were times when lines would form outside those doors, as fans waited in line to get in for the state semifinals and championship games.
When they opened the doors to fans at UPS in those days, they would always play the theme from, The Lone Ranger. Thanks to In-Game Musical Director, and former LC guard, Tom Zylstra, that tune was cued up as fans ran for their seats on Friday night. Hopefully, some of you can make that connection!
After the first 30-minute rush of entering fans, there were still seats remaining in both upper decks. The gym did not fill to capacity. I think the weather had a lot to do with that. By 530pm, I’m sure the parking lot was full, which would have made fans take quite a walk to the gym from street parking. And, in that weather, would have been very difficult.
Oh, and the game. The Lyncs had won the previous two in the series, and this would be a matchup of the Lions inside game against the Lyncs outside game. On this night, the Lions would come up with enough of both, and take a 74-62 win.
In the first minutes, the Lyncs seized momentum on a couple of 3-pointers by Lyncs big man, Zach Sipma, and seven points by LC senior, Andrew DeVries, but by the end of the quarter, the Lions had taken a 16-15 lead. Liam Hanenburg and Brock Heppner combined for 12 of the Lions 16.
Six more points by Heppner, and two 3-pointers by Jordan Medcalf, paved the way for a 19-9 quarter for the Lions, as they took a 35-24 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Lions maintained control, withstanding LC runs that closed the lead to three points on two occasions late in the third, and early in the fourth quarters.
The Lions inside tandem of Hanenburg (21 points), and Heppner (19), led the way for the Lions. Jaden DeBoer led the Lyncs with 19 points, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter. DeVries added 16, and Sipma finished with 10.
The key to the Lions defense was the play of 6-0 junior, Kobe Whitman. Whitman, an athletic and quick defender, was saddled with the task of defending one of the greatest shooters in the area has ever seen, in DeVries. DeVries’ 16 points would seem to be a decent night, which it was. But Whitman made DeVries work hard for every point.
After an early seven by DeVries, he scored nine more in the third quarter, and was shut out in the fourth. Every look he got was well defended by Whitman, yet he was still able to hit a few amazing shots. Whitman also helped the Lions at the offensive end, scoring nine points.
Over the years of the Coaches vs. Cancer program teamed with the Lynden-Lynden Christian rivalry, has made both the game, and the event, even bigger.
Sedro-Woolley defeated Mt. Baker 66-59, and Ferndale 60-56 this week. Cub senior, Isaiah Guerero scored 26 against the Mountaineers, then hit for 27 in the Golden Eagle win.
The Lyncs have the #1 seed to the 1A district tournament locked up with two games left. One being Tuesday at #2 Meridian. Nooksack Valley leads Mt. Baker by one game for the #3 seed, with two games left. The Pioneers hold the tiebreaker. The #4 seed will have a play-in game at the North Sound #5.
The Pioneers came within a whisker of turning the 20-5 deficit to Lakewood into a win on Saturday. Trailing 31-16 in the middle of the second quarter, the Pioneers cut the lead to 34-23 with 2:30 left in the half. At that point, Pioneer junior, Cody Coppinger went on a tear, scoring all nine of his points to cut the lead to a one, before Alex Jensen scored at the buzzer for the Cougars.
The Pioneers took a brief lead in the third, and tied the game early in the fourth quarter. The Cougars opened up an eight point lead with four minutes left, until the Pioneers made one last push, cutting the lead to two points with a minute left.
The Cougars made enough free throws in the last minute to win 71-68, as Cody Coppinger’s 3-pointer at the buzzer did not connect.
Jensen finished with 18 points. Morgan Stacey scored eleven of his 19 in the second half. Clancy Coppinger and Cole Eldridge had 15 each for Nooksack. Keldon Weidkamp was huge down the stretch for the Pioneers, scoring all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Saturday night, Meridian took Lynden to the wire before falling, 63-53. After an early 15-9 lead by Lynden, the Trojans were within three at halftime, and tied with the Lions after three quarters.
Senior Jackson Short scored 13 of his team high 21 in the second half for the Trojans, using a wide variety of mid range shots and an ability to get to the free throw line. Senior Joseph Plagerman scored nine of his 13 in the second half to keep the pressure on.
As relentless as Short was creating offense for the Trojans, Brock Heppner was just as intense for his team, muscling inside for 24 points, with big guy Liam Hanenburg only playing a few minutes in the first half.
Burlington is now 16-1 on the season, defeating Sehome and Anacortes last week. The Tigers’ senior duo of Jackson Reisner and Wyatt Walker is another of great tandem players in the NWC. They combine for an average of about 30 points per game. The Tigers host Nooksack on Monday, then travel to Squalicum on Thursday. The Tigers and Lions are currently #1 and #2, respectively, in both the District 1/2 and State RPI’s. They will meet in Burlington on Saturday. Pre-sale of tickets will be happen at both schools this week.
Squalicum is currently 8th in the 3A District RPI, with Ferndale at #9. If that remains the same, the Storm would host the Golden Eagles in a play-in game to the district tournament. Squalicum has games remaining against Lakewood and Burlington. The Golden Eagles play Sehome, Lynden and Anacortes.
Bellingham, having just won their first conference game on Friday night, defeating Blaine 55-50, is still on the outside of the 2A district tournament. They trail #12 Sammamish in the RPI standings, and plays games this week against Sedro-Woolley and Meridian. The Red Raiders need one win to be in contention for the 12th and final spot, but may need two. Sammamish has the edge in one of their final two games.
Bellingham’s win over Blaine was quite the turnaround from a 95-66 loss to the Borderites, in December.
Every remaining game has district or state RPI implications. The Lions and Tigers will have their showdown on Saturday for all of the conference’s marbles. They both need to win their next two games to make it a game of NWC undefeateds.
The headliner this week is on Tuesday, when Lynden Christian plays at Meridian. Meridian can’t catch LC in the standings, but I think this is an important game for both teams to set the tone for the 1A post-season.
~ Ted House
Teams Play Schedule Catch Up, Prep for Big Finish
Jan 26, 2020 3:01 PM
Jan. 26, 2020
Catch Up Week #1 is complete, and a very busy Lynden Christian
team went 4-0. In Catch Up Week #2, Lynden and Meridian will be on
the court four times.
Catch Up Week #1 is complete, and a very busy Lynden Christian team went 4-0. In Catch Up Week #2, Lynden and Meridian will be on the court four times.
There wasn’t a lot of last second intrigue in the gyms, as 16 of the 19 games were decided by double-digits. Blaine was involved in two of the three nail-biters. They came from 14 points down at halftime to win at Sedro-Woolley, 64-62 on Tuesday. However, the Borderites became the first league victim of Mt. Baker, as the Mountaineers left Blaine with a 61-56 win on Thursday.
The Lyncs got a wild 67-64 win at Anacortes on Friday. With the score tied at 64, the Lyncs were playing for the last shot. The dribble-weave out front between LC guards Andrew DeVries and Jaden DeBoer wasn’t netting much production, as the time ticked away.
When the clock hit desperation time, DeBoer ended up with the ball, far away on the left side. He was able to slide past a closing Anacortes defender, and launch a running game-winner, that hit the net at the buzzer, for the LC win. It was the sixth 3-pointer made by DeBoer, but there’s more to the story.
DeVries, who is a record breaking 3-point shooter on his own, sank nine treys on the night. The Lyncs hit a total of 17 3-pointers as a team, and maybe even more wild is the fact that in 32 minutes of play, they made only two 2-point shots.
The Lyncs three other wins on the week were by a total of 80 points, and they now are 8-1 in conference games.
Burlington-Edison got three more wins to go 8-0 in the NWC. They won those three by a combined 81 points. That includes their “Chicken Fest” win over Sedro-Woolley on Friday. The Tigers won, 51-32, but the Cubs trailed by only seven, early in the fourth quarter.
Lynden went 2-0 to improve their league mark to 7-0, with wins by 16 and 24 points. And Lakewood kept pace by winning their two games by a total of 55 points. The Cougars are 7-1, and play at Lynden on Monday.
Those four teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Lynden plays Lakewood and Lynden Christian this week, and Burlington-Edison on the last night of the season. Lakewood plays LC in the final week.
The 1A teams are all separated by two in the loss column. Meridian won at Nooksack Valley on Monday, 68-54, and the Pioneers ended up going 0-3 for the week.
The Trojans beat Sedro-Woolley 70-59 on Wednesday. Senior Ryan Johnson had a hot start in both halves. He scored nine points in the opening quarter, then nine more, on three straight 3-pointers during the first two minutes of the third quarter. He ended up with 23 on the night.
Ferndale turned the tables on the Trojans on Friday, as they came to Laurel and left with a well played, 63-50 win. The game was tied at 16 early in the second quarter, when the Golden Eagles flew off on a 15-2 run.
The Trojans had chances to keep things close in the first half, as they converted several second chance opportunities on the offensive glass, combined with Ferndale’s 7-15 at the free throw line. However, the Golden Eagles cleaned things up, and held a 22 point lead, early in the fourth quarter.
Ferndale also defeated Mt. Baker on Monday, and now are 4-4 in the conference.
Lynden used a 15-0 run starting the second half to pull away from Squalicum and win 65-49, on Tuesday at the Storm Shelter. Lion junior, Liam Hanenburg led four Lions in double-figures with 16. Storm senior, Dedrick Mitchell worked his way for a game-high 22 points.
Lynden’s 76-52 win over Nooksack on Thursday, was anything but easy in the first quarter. The Lions and Pioneers matched each other, basket for basket, as they sliced and diced each other’s defenses, early on.
With the Pioneers leading 14-13 with less than four minutes to go in the first quarter, the Lions went on a 28-8 run over the next eight minutes. The Pioneers had no answer for the Lions size down low. Senior Brock Heppner scored 12 of his 21 in the first quarter. And Hanenburg scored 14 of his 16 in the first half. Senior Cole Eldridge led the Pioneers with 13, while senior Clancy Coppinger and junior Cody Coppinger added ten points each.
About 17 hours after Jaden DeBoer’s game winner at Anacortes, the Lyncs were back at home to play Squalicum in a Saturday afternoon matinee. The only thing somewhat out of the ordinary about this game was that the Lyncs had more 2’s than 3’s in the first half, as they took a 27-23 lead. DeVries hit a single 3-pointer in each of the first two quarters, while DeBoer was shut out of the scoring column.
DeBoer got the Lyncs going in the third by hitting two mid-range jumpers, then nailed another buzzer-beater at the end of the quarter, as the Lyncs opened up a 17 point lead.
But the eye-popper of the day belonged to Squalicum. Early in the third, Dedrick Mitchell had the ball at the left sidelines, about 30 feet out. He tossed a lob pass toward the right side of the rim. As the ball was in the air, I remember thinking, “Who could that possibly be going to?” Of course, it was to 6-1 junior, Brandon Cash, who promptly flushed it through with two hands!
After that, it was LC who took off, as DeVries began to go into one of those “zones.” He nailed three straight 3-pointers later in the third quarter, and three more in the fourth. Six in a row, each one seemingly carrying a higher degree of difficulty than the one before. The finale was one from a step beyond the aptly named, “DeVries Line.” He hit eight more 3’s on this day, plus a free throw which was part of a 4-point play, for a total of 25 points.
The 2A and 3A District RPI’s for boys and girls has been updated through games played on Saturday. The Tigers continue to hold the top spot, as the top four in 2A receive first round bye’s in the district tournament. Lynden, Lakewood and Mountlake Terrace round out the top four.
The 3A tournament takes the top ten to the district tournament. Currently, Ferndale and Squalicum are eighth and tenth, respectively, placing them both into the play-in round.
Buckle up and get ready for the week ahead. Lakewood travels to Lynden for a big one on Monday. Also on Monday, is a 1A showdown with Nooksack at Lynden Christian. On Tuesday, the Lions host Kings, in a game that was postponed due to the length of the Lion football season.
On Thursday, Burlington goes to Anacortes. And on the same night, the girls version of the Lynden city rivalry will be played at Jake Maberry Gymnasium. The boys game will happen on Friday, at Lynden Christian.
Remember that is it also “Coaches vs Cancer” week for boys and girls games played on Thursday and Friday.
~ Ted House
Snow Puts Season on Hold
Jan 19, 2020 6:40 AM
January 20, 2020
Last year, a snow storm in early February hit Western
Washington and halted, squeezed, and cancelled district basketball
tournaments. This year, it hit a few weeks earlier (if that’s the
only one), and caused the postponement of 28 of 36 scheduled boys
and girls games.
With the lack of action, I thought maybe use a "Best Of," this
week. Hey, it worked for Johnny Carson.
Last year, a snow storm in early February hit Western Washington and halted, squeezed, and cancelled district basketball tournaments. This year, it hit a few weeks earlier (if that’s the only one), and caused the postponement of 28 of 36 scheduled boys and girls games.
With the lack of action, I thought maybe use a "Best Of," this week. Hey, it worked for Johnny Carson.
The game between the last two undefeated boys teams, Lynden and Burlington-Edison, both 5-0 in the NWC, was one of those casualties. The Lions and Tigers won’t play each other until Saturday, February 8, which is the new, last day of the season.
What we did see was Anacortes winning a low scoring, 47-43 win over Squalicum; Lakewood handling Sedro-Woolley 79-51; and Blaine stopping a four game NWC losing skid, with a 70-61 win over Ferndale.
The rest of the league schedule was preempted by snow, until Saturday. That’s when Lynden Christian took a 271 mile (one way) trip to LaCenter, to play the Wildcats, who were the #3 team in the NON-NWC 1A Top 10. The Lyncs had to go to overtime, but came away with an 81-76 win.
LaCenter senior, Hunter Ecklund, hit two free throws with 3 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The Wildcats finished fifth in the 1A State Tournament last season, after losing to eventual champion, Zillah, in the semifinals.
Lyncs senior, Bryce Bouwman, scored a game high 29 points to make sure it was a happy trip home. Jaden Deboer (17), Zach Sipma (15), and Logan Dykstra (10) also reach double figures. The Lyncs are 8-3, with a five game win streak in 2020.
This past week in the Everett Herald, reporter Cameron Van Til (formerly of the Lynden Tribune), wrote an article on Lakewood senior, Alex Jensen. It was titled, ‘Lakewood Hoops Star Alex Jensen Breaks his Coaches All-Time Scoring Record.”
And, that’s exactly what happened on January 10, in a home game against Mt. Baker. Cougar coach, Anthony Wiederkehr, had held the scoring record at Lakewood since 2006. Wiederkehr went on to play college basketball at Western Washington University, and then returned home to coach the Cougars.
Jensen is a remarkable player. He is a four-year starter, and according to the article, has also been a team captain since his freshman season. Also on that night, Jensen broke the school’s career steals record, and scored 31 points.
It’s a busy time of year for off the court events. Very soon, we will know who will end up where in the WIAA’s new classification mystery.
For many years, classifications were balanced to have nearly the same number of schools in each classification. Beginning next school year, hard lines will be used to separate classifications, which means that they won’t all have the same number of schools. There may be one classification with 70 schools, and another with 48, for example.
The final word on that will be out very soon. When that is known, we will also know about Blaine, who is hovering near the cutoff between 2A and 1A.
One thing we do know is that the Northwest Conference will grow by two more schools in the fall of 2020. Oak Harbor, of the Wesco 3A, will be welcomed to the NW, as will a familiar former member.
Mount Vernon, a current 4A in the Wesco, will drop to 3A and will rejoin the NWC. The Bulldogs were members of the Northwest League for many decades, before departing for the 4A Wesco after the 2000-01 school year. They made a return as a member of the new Northwest Conference in 2006-07, and went back to the Wesco for the 2012-13 school year.
In the Bulldogs last three years in the Northwest League (1999-2001), they went undefeated in league play in each of those seasons, with a record of 38-0.
The big earth-shaker to the 1A teams in the NWC is that fact that the North Sound Conference, the NWC’s current foe in the post-season, is leaving District 1. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, they will combine with the Emerald City League to form the Emerald Sound Conference. With this move, North Sound teams will now be in District 2, instead of District 1.
On the move to the Emerald Sound Conference will be Kings, South Whidbey, Granite Falls, Cascade Christian, and Sultan. Coupeville is dropping from 1A to 2B, so they will join the Northwest 1B/2B League.
This creates quite a dilemma for our four (or maybe five) 1A schools. If left alone to have their own district tournament, they may only get one allocation to state tournaments. At best, it could be a rotation of one team to state in one year, and two in the next. Athletic Directors are working hard to find the best solution. As we all know, it’s a very competitive group, and this situation could leave state tournament talent at home.
With all the cancellations this week, we will forgo the NON-NWC top 10’s. After another week, maybe I’ll take the “NON” out of the title.
There would not have been a lot of movement this week. Lynden Christian did knock off #3 LaCenter, in 1A. #5 Medical Lake lost to Newport. And, #7 LaSalle beat #10 Naches.
In 2A, WF West beat #4 Tumwater in overtime, and Pullman upset #6 Clarkston.
In the NWC this week, Monday night’s Meridian-Nooksack Valley game is this week’s headliner. Both teams are 3-2 in league, one notch below Lynden Christian (4-1). 1A teams are seeded to district based on their overall league record.
The 2A and 3A district RPI standings will be out soon. The cancellations delayed having enough data to make them legitimate. After this week’s games, we will be right at the half way point of the league season, which is when the RPI is typically released.
~ Ted House
The 80's Make a Comeback
Jan 12, 2020 3:31 PM
This may be a bit of a stretch, but we seem to be living the
80’s again. Not the big hair, punk rock, and preppies, but all the
teams scoring in the 80’s recently.
It started on Monday, when Lakewood edged Blaine, 83-80, and
Lynden Christian beat Ferndale, 89-81. Six teams scored 80 or more
points in a game this week. Another four scored over 75. Lynden hit
97 this week, while Blaine (95) and Lakewood (90) kept scoreboard
operators busy earlier in the season.
This may be a bit of a stretch, but we seem to be living the 80’s again. Not the big hair, punk rock, and preppies, but all the teams scoring in the 80’s recently.
It started on Monday, when Lakewood edged Blaine, 83-80, and Lynden Christian beat Ferndale, 89-81. Six teams scored 80 or more points in a game this week. Another four scored over 75. Lynden hit 97 this week, while Blaine (95) and Lakewood (90) kept scoreboard operators busy earlier in the season.
My crack staff has uncovered that the 80 point mark has been reached 23 times by Northwest Conference teams this season. Last year that mark was hit a total of 24 times in the regular season. Lynden Christian (8) and Lynden (5) were responsible for 13 of those. Last year there was never a week in which more than three teams scored 80 points or more.
Of course, the question is: better offenses, or suspect defenses?
And, whenever the question asks, one or the other, the answer is always, “both.”
Actually, I don’t think anyone can put it all on one reason. I see more man-to-man defenses being played. That puts more hands in faces of outside shooters, but also allows offenses to shoot earlier in the shot clock, which creates more possessions in a game, which creates more shots, which creates more points…
There are also some very good shooters out there, and teams seem to be trying to fast break more, especially off of turnovers. They still need work on that outlet pass after a rebound, but many players on the floor are capable of taking a rebound and starting a fast break by dribbling out of the pack.
Burlington-Edison and Lynden remain the only two unbeaten teams in NWC play at 5-0. The Tigers beat Meridian 79-53, and Ferndale, 79-77. Lynden was absolutely dominant in their two games. On Wednesday, they won at Bellingham, 97-57, then got a home win over Sehome on Friday, 62-17.
The Lions host Meridian on Monday, while the Tigers have Mt. Baker at home on Tuesday. The Lions and Tigers tangle in Burlington on Thursday. One reason to keep those roads clear this week.
The young Lions have won ten straight, after an opening night loss to Gig Harbor. Senior Brock Heppner (22) and junior, Liam Hanenburg (22), were unstoppable against the Red Raiders. What will make the Lions even tougher will be the emergence of a third scorer. So far, two players have been that guy at different times. Junior Clay Kochuten and sophomore Jordan Metcalf, seem to alternate their scoring nights. Against Bellingham, it was Metcalf scoring 19, with 11 of those in the first quarter. Kochuten has also had games scoring in the upper –teens.
In the Lions win over Sehome on Friday, the Mariners held a 2-1 lead in the middle of the first quarter, as the teams seemed to be preparing for the upcoming “arctic freeze.” But the Lions broke away, using 10-0 and 15-0 runs in the first half, to take a 32-4 lead at halftime.
Lakewood has won four straight, and is still very much in the race for a high district tournament seeding with a 4-1 league record. The Cougars defeated Blaine 83-80, and Mt. Baker 88-72.
On Tuesday, the Lakewood-Blaine game was moved from the main gym to the Ken Waters Gym due to technical difficulties with one of the hoops. After a 15-15 first quarter, the Cougars led by 12 at the half, and the same lead after three quarters, even though the Cougar lead grew to 56-39 at the 4:25 mark.
At the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Borderites started a 9-0 run to close the gap to 63-60 with 4:20 left.
With 3:00 to play, Lakewood senior, Morgan Stacey, beat the shot clock with a long 3-pointer, giving the Cougars a 69-61 lead. The Cougars even increased the lead to ten with 2:26 left.
Blaine junior, Josh Russ, knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:03 left to cut the Cougar lead to five. With :26 to play, Borderite sophomore, Scott Baldwin, converted on a four-point-play to get the Borderties within three. The Cougars were able to withstand the run by hitting a total of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Free throws were a big part of the story in this one. The Cougars sank 28-36 in the game, while Blaine hit on 22-28. Stacey hit an incredible 16-18 from the line, and led the Cougars with 26 points. Senior Alex Jensen added 23, before fouling out late in the game. Shae Dixon, the Cougars only underclassmen in the starting lineup, scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half.
The Borderites got 26 points from senior, Zane Rector, who was also 7-7 from the free throw line. He fouled out with 3:28 left in the game.
Baldwin scored 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter. Russ added 12, and senior Mason Vega dropped in 11, as the Borderites dropped to 1-3 in NWC play.
On Thursday, the Borderites traveled to Laurel to try to end a three game losing streak, but the Trojans stayed hot, and won their sixth in their last seven games, 60-58, over Blaine.
The Trojans were on fire from the opening tip, and took a 19-6 lead after eight minutes. Trojan senior, Jordan Veenstra, scored eight of his 15 points in the opening quarter.
Trailing by six at halftime, the Borderites went on a 9-2 run in the first 3:30 of the third quarter, to take their first lead of the game, 37-36. After a 20-9 quarter, the Borderites were in good position, starting the fourth quarter with a 48-43 lead.
However, the last few minutes of this one, resembled Blaine’s ending to the Lakewood game. The Trojans took the lead on a lay-in by Joseph Plagerman with 4:19 left, and would keep the lead the rest of the way by using clock and sinking free throws.
The win gives the Trojans a 3-2 league record, tied with Nooksack Valley, and a game behind Lynden Christian. Jackson Short scored 17 to lead the Trojans, along with Veenstra’s 15. Sophomore Cole Thomas scored 11 off the bench to lead the Borderites.
All that brings us to Saturday, where my five game week came to a crescendo at Lynden Christian, as they hosted Port Angeles. The Roughriders were my #4 2A team in the Non-NWC Top 10. And, they played like it, after losing an Olympic League game at Bremerton the night before, dropping their record to 9-3.
The Roughriders play to their name. They are a very muscular and physical team, and scored the first seven points of the game. The Lyncs scored eight of the next ten points to close the gap to one, and a 15-15 tie after one quarter.
The Roughriders took their biggest lead, 29-22, with 1:30 left in the half. To this point, neither Andrew DeVries or Jaden DeBoer, had logged a point for the Lyncs. However, DeBoer did hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the half, as the Lyncs trailed 31-28.
Even though the “De”-boys combined for only three points, it wasn’t like they were tossing up shots in desperation. Seniors Bryce Bouwman and Zach Sipma scored six points each, and others contributed to keep the Roughriders within striking distance.
However, the third quarter wasn’t much better for the two LC shooters. DeVries hit a 3-pointer in the first minute, then Bouwman gave the Lyncs their first lead with a shot in the key. After that, the Roughriders controlled the next six minutes, and held a 48-39 lead, with eight minutes left.
The Lyncs went on an 11-0 run, for a 50-48 lead with six minutes to play. DeVries hit his second 3-pointer of the game in the run. After a timeout, the Roughriders tied the score at 50-50, then opened a 55-51 lead on a 3-pointer by senior, Anton Kathol, with 2:40 left.
PA junior, Chase Cobb, converted a 3-point play to give his team a 59-54 lead with 1:06 left. The Lyncs followed that with a turnover, eleven seconds later.
However, the Lyncs got back in to it, as DeBoer sank two free throws with 37 seconds left, to cut the lead to three. After a missed free throw, DeVries nailed a long 3-pointer from the left wing, to tie the score at 59-59, with just 21 seconds left.
After a Roughrider timeout with 14 seconds to play, senior Derek Bowechop sank two free throws with seven seconds left, for a 61-59 lead.
The Lyncs got the ball to midcourt and called a timeout in front of their bench with 3.7 seconds remaining.
Anyone who has seen the Lyncs play over the years, knows that Coach Roger DeBoer has some pretty deep pockets when it comes to game winning plays. Add another one to the list, although, I don’t think this one went 100 percent according to plan.
The inbounds pass from Bouwman went to Jayden DeBoer, who caught it with his back to the basket, on the left wing, outside the 3-point line. At that point, both Bouwman and DeVries made a cut past DeBoer, and it was Bouwman who took the pitch and dribbled toward the left corner. As he rose to launch the possible game winner, he was fouled, and went to the free throw line, for three free throws with eight-tenths of a second on the clock.
Bouwman hit nothing but net on all three shots, and the Lyncs got away with a 62-61 win.
In other happenings, Squalicum defeated Mt. Baker and Bellingham this week, and improved their NWC record to 3-2. While the Storm was playing in a holiday tournament in Tustin, California, senior DeVonte Powell recorded his 1000th career point. Powell has been a steady, four-year starter for the storm.
Ferndale lost to Lynden Christian and Burlington this week, and dropped to 2-3 in the NWC. Ferndale and Squalicum will again be part of the Wesco/NWC 3A RPI. The 2A teams in the NWC, along with the 2A’s in the Wesco and KingCo will be involved in the 2A RPI. Those will be released after the upcoming week of conference play.
This is also an important week at the WIAA. The state is going to a new classification system, where the numbers will be set. This could make some classifications larger than others, instead of the balance they currently have. This week, the lists will shake out, and the “opt-ups” and appeals will be completed. Classifications are now adjusted every four years. There could be significant changes in the NWC and Wesco, moving forward. More on what happens, next week.
1A NON-NWC Top 10
1. Zillah 10-1, Two point loss to Toppenish
2. Seattle Academy 10-1
3. LaCenter 8-3
4. Kings 7-7
5. Medical Lake 9-1, NL win over Cashmere
6. Deer Park 9-2
7. LaSalle 8-2
8. River View 11-0
9. Bellevue Chr. 8-3
10. Naches 10-2
Watch: Vashon, Cashmere, Kings Way Chr., Omak
2A NON-NWC Top 10
1. North Kitsap 11-2, New leader in the clubhouse.
2. Toppenish 12-0
3. Mountlake Terrace 7-2, Lost to Stanwood
4. Tumwater 11-1
5. Ephrata 10-2, Win over Prosser, up from #7
6. Clarkston 7-3, Dark this week.
7. White River 10-3, up from #10
8. Liberty 11-3, up from the watch list
9. Selah 8-4, Scored 181 pts in last 2 games
10. Pt. Angeles 9-4, Losses to Bremerton & LC
Watch: Prosser, WF West, Bremerton, Lindbergh, Columbia River, Black Hills
~ Ted House
Curing Post Holiday Blemishes
Jan 5, 2020 1:20 PM
During my early season bye week, it’s my job to update the
schedules of the thousands of high school basketball teams from our
state that participate in holiday tournaments. That’s right, I
It was brought up to me recently, and I’ve thought about this
before: since the WIAA “State” Basketball RPI was put into play a
few years ago, are there fewer teams traveling out of state? The
issue would be that against teams from out of state, they are all
categorized as having a .”500” record for RPI purposes.
During my early season bye week, it’s my job to update the schedules of the thousands of high school basketball teams from our state that participate in holiday tournaments. That’s right, I said, “Thousands.”
It was brought up to me recently, and I’ve thought about this before: since the WIAA “State” Basketball RPI was put into play a few years ago, are there fewer teams traveling out of state? The issue would be that against teams from out of state, they are all categorized as having a .”500” record for RPI purposes.
My answer is, the WIAA RPI formula has not affected the number of teams that travel to out of state holiday tournaments. In fact, I think more teams go out of state every year. Some actually go every year, some every other, and some now and then.
The most popular tournaments are in Southern California and Arizona, of course. Tops on the list of popularity among teams from Washington are San Diego’s Surf’n Slam, and Cactus Jam tournaments. They offer several brackets, and they do a great job of lining up our teams so that they don’t see other teams from Washington right away. But there are so many Washington teams there, that most likely, in a three or four game tourney, you will play at least one team from the state.
Usually, the competition is equal. You might get drubbed one day, then win by 40 the next. But most are competitive. The highly elite teams from California usually play in more national events, which some of our teams will get to as well. But for the most part, teams from the Evergreen State do quite well when they travel.
So, the question of whether this helps or hurts a team’s state RPI is kind of a wash. Whether you are playing an out of state team that ends up 22-4, or 4-22, they all count the same (as 13-13). I think teams from our state use these trips more as a bonding adventure, and a way to simulate a future trip to a state tournament. Something the RPI cannot measure.
Speaking of adventures, these tournaments typically have teams play three or four games over four or five days. On your day off, you are welcome to take in one of the many attractions that the Golden State has to offer. Yes, they will make some cash off of us too!
There are also many two and three-day tournaments and classics in our state. There is one at Lynden Christian every year that draws some very good teams from out of the area. Blaine puts on their own four-teamer, and there are always a few from the NWC that travel to the SunDome Shootout. Always a good place to go for potential 1A and 2A state tournament hopefuls.
This year, Meridian, Lakewood and Lynden made the trip. (I stayed home this year, covered in bubble-wrap).
The three NWC brothers won five of their six games. Meridian gave Bellevue Christian its first loss of the season, with an overtime win, then they defeated Royal the next day. Lynden won against 3A Prairie and 4A Davis. Lakewood lost to Davis, but then hammered Ellensburg by 29 points.
The Cougars current 5-5 record does not identify who they are. They had a stretch of four games where they had a close loss to Kings; a one point win at Meridian; a home loss to Burlington-Edison; and a one point road loss to Port Angeles (8-2).
Davis got them pretty good in the SunDome, 74-55. The next day they beat Ellensburg, 89-60. I got my first look at the Cougars on Friday night at Ferndale, and was quite impressed with their 84-69 win.
They start four seniors and a junior, all listed between 5-10 and 6-1. Just because they lack size, that doesn’t mean that their offense is based on the 3-pointer. They did sink seven of those in this game, but their damage was done with their passing skills, which aloud them several opportunities around the rim.
Their offense begins the second they possess the ball, no matter where that happens. You don’t see a lot of teams “rebound-outlet-go,” but it is happening more. These guys do that. They have excellent passing skills while on the move, always looking for the next passing opportunity.
I don’t watch NHL Hockey, but I do remember some games from decades ago that would come in on the “TV/Rabbit Ears.” (Ask your dads or grandparents). When there was a goal, you would hear the public address announcer recite who scored, and who assisted. Sometimes, there were two assists on a goal.
While watching the Cougars move the ball for a lay-in during the third quarter on Friday, I couldn’t help but think that if I were the PA guy on the play I just saw….”Lakewood goal by Jensen, assist to Schultz and Stacey. The time, 3:45…” That’s my assessment of just how well they moved the ball that night.
Ferndale’s zone defense did a good job early on of denying the ball to the high post. They are really good at that. Both teams were able to get up and down the court several times in the first quarter, and the Golden Eagles had a 22-19 lead.
The Cougars held a seven point lead after three quarters, and used a 14-2 run over the first three minutes of the fourth to put the game away.
The Cougars had an incredible six players in double-figures. Senior floor-leader, Alex Jensen, led with 19. He scored 11 of those in the fourth quarter, hitting 7-8 free throws down the stretch. Senior Morgan Stacey added 13, as did juniors, Shae Dixon and Kaiden Harrison, who’s 13 came off the bench. Seniors Jackson Schultz and Jared Taylor added 11 each.
Ferndale’s three leading scorers in this game were all sophomores. Jazen Gillory led the Golden Eagles with 17, while battling foul trouble. Mark Schlichting and Jesse Sapp added 14 and 13, respectively. Add to the starting lineup, junior Andrew Monks, and freshman Isaiah Carlson, and the Golden Eagle future looks bright.
On Saturday night, it was a trip to Anacortes, by way of Tacoma. No, no scouting down there. I must say, even in the darkness, rain and wind, the Seahawk nation has carved out a pretty nice nest for itself. And, I’m speaking of the entire walk through campus to the gym.
And the gym itself? Thumbs up! It has the same sort of look, meaning it’s not sitting the opposite direction, or something. They still have the upper level on the team side. Acoustically, the sound from the game and the media system is great. And, best of all, it still smells like a new car!
Early on, the Seahawks were on fire, as they took off to a 22-13 lead over the Lions after eight minutes. During that time, Seahawk junior, Michael Aggergaard, added some excitement off the bench for the Seahawks.
During on baseline inbounds play, four Seahawks were lined up across the floor, out near the 3-point line. Three of them came toward the ball, setting screens, while the ball was lobbed over the top to Aggergaard, who caught the pass, while standing on the well known, volleyball line. Much to my surprise, and to many others outside the Seahawks huddle, he launched a shot that hit nothing but net.
Some of us were wondering if the shot clock was about to expire, but no, that wasn’t it. Because, a few minutes later, he hit another one from the same distance out of the half-court offense. So, he definitely has the green light from the “DeVries Line.”
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, those were the only two he could connect on. The Lions rode a parade to the free throw line in the first half, as the Seahawks quickly put them in the double-bonus. Lynden hit 16 of 20 free throws in the first half, and had a 16-0 run over the first four minutes of the second quarter, to take a 29-22 lead.
The Lions parade float resembled a three-headed monster. Senior Brock Heppner and 6-10 junior Liam Hanenburg were dominant around the rim, scoring 18 and 20 points, respectively. From the outside, junior Clay Kochuten knocked down three 3-pointers, and scored 19 points.
The Lions joined Burlington-Edison as the only 3-0 teams in the NWC. And, what on earth did the Tigers do to Blaine on Saturday night? Burlington had four starters in double-figures in their 90-51 home win. That score raised my eyebrows because I have seen Blaine score in the 90’s this year.
As messy as the top of the 2A race is going to be, the 1A’s are going in the same direction. Meridian, Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley all have 2-1 league records. The Trojans flushed a bad first quarter and won at Sehome, 61-51 on Friday. The Lyncs had a big second half in an 83-62 win at Mt. Baker. A game that saw LC senior, Andrew DeVries, go over the 1000 career points. On Saturday, the Pioneers defeated Bellingham, 74-56.
In looking at the upcoming schedule, I hope it’s not my anniversary, or something, because I hope to see five different gyms this week. And I can’t wait for Saturday’s headliner. Port Angeles, who had already played two of the top 2A teams in the NWC, pays a visit to Lynden Christian. That one starts at 4:15pm. The Roughriders are in my Non-NWC Top 10. See below.
Speaking of that, let’s wrap this up with the second edition of the Non-NWC Top 10’s for 1A and 2A boys. And, I must say, that I am not happy with this week’s lists. I’m just not comfortable with parts of both. Many teams got a pre-picture day pimple recently, and it became a lot harder to access some teams. Here goes…
1. Zillah 9-0, No problem with this one.
2. Seattle Academy 8-1, Here’s where it begins.
3. LaCenter 6-3, Lost to Pt.Angeles by 28. That’s a pimple.
4. Kings 5-7, Slight drop for an 0-4 holiday tourney, but maybe too much.
5. Vashon 8-1, 20 point loss to North Kitsap. (See LaCenter).
6. Medical Lake 8-1, Won 3 over the holidays.
7. Deer Park 8-2, Two losses over break.
8. LaSalle 5-2, Went 2-1 on an Oregon trip. Just lost to Zillah by 11.
9. River View 9-0. River View is 9-0.
10. Kings Way Christian 5-4. Tough schedule. Just lost to Kings by 9.
Also receiving votes (as they say): Omak 8-2, Cashmere 5-2, Naches 7-2.
1. Mountlake Terrace 6-1, Can’t drop for a 2pt loss to 4A Mariner (8-1).
2. Toppenish 9-0, Still unblemished in the CWAC.
3. North Kitsap 8-2, Leaps PA with 3 strong wins.
4. Port Angeles 8-2, Drops a spot with loss to Cashmere, and to feed the rivalry.
5. Tumwater 9-1, Four good wins over break.
6. Clarkston 7-3, Good win over Walla Walla. Tough to read opponents from Idaho.
7. Ephrata 8-2, Been waiting for them. Four strong wins in the group of 8.
8. Selah 7-4, Losses to NK & Prosser.
9. WF West 6-3, Losses to NK & Seton Catholic.
10. White River 8-3, First appearance. Beat LaCenter, lost to PA.
Also receiving votes: Lindbergh 9-2, Prosser 7-3, Columbia River 4-2, Liberty 9-3.
Four Undefeateds After 1st Week of League Action
Dec 22, 2019 1:34 PM
Four Northwest Conference boys basketball teams made it through
the first week of league play with perfect 2-0 records.
Burlington-Edison, Ferndale, Lynden and Sehome will stay that way
for a while, as the league now takes its Christmas Break, and teams
will head for many different holiday events.
Four Northwest Conference boys basketball teams made it through the first week of league play with perfect 2-0 records. Burlington-Edison, Ferndale, Lynden and Sehome will stay that way for a while, as the league now takes its Christmas Break, and teams will head for many different holiday events.
For the most part, those 2-0 teams didn’t have it easy. The Tigers had to survive Lynden Christian in overtime, 83-74, then the Tigers won a big 2A game at Lakewood. Ferndale beat a good Nooksack team, then overcame an 18 point halftime deficit to beat 3A rival, Squalicum, in overtime. Sehome won a close one at Sedro-Woolley, then distanced themselves from city rival, Bellingham, 51-30, on Friday night. Lynden won their two games, handily over Mt. Baker and Sedro-Woolley.
Lynden Christian went 3-1 on the week, as they played catch-up from football season. With a couple non-league games having been rescheduled, they had no time to knock the dust off. They had to do that on the road, at Burlington, one of the NWC title contenders. And, it only took them about 18 minutes of game time to run out of Pledge.
The Tigers took off quickly, and led 12-2, behind eight quick points from Tiger senior, Wyatt Walker. But the Lyncs rallied to pull within 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the second quarter, and with about three minutes left in the half, the Tigers lead was just 20-19. But, back-to-back 3-pointers by Tiger seniors, DJ Clark and Logan Wright, helped them take a 28-21 lead at the half.
In the first 16 minutes, I was trying to get a read on the Lyncs senior guard, Andrew DeVries. During his freshman season, he would come off the bench and hide out in a corner, and catch and shoot the occasional 3-pointer, usually in transition. Then opponents would wonder, “Now… who’s that guy?”
Over the next two seasons, he became one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the history of the league. But, he was still mostly a catch-and-shoot player, not having to create offense off the dribble, which I thought he would have to do this year.
And, for the first half of this game, he struggled to get open, either off the dribble, or otherwise. In the first half, he hit three free throws, and then the Tigers dared him to take a shot from the “volleyball line.” He did, and they didn’t dare him to do that again. He finished the half with six points, and my question was being answered. However, I did keep in mind that the Lyncs, as a group, had only been together for a week.
In the first minute of the second half, the Tigers scored seven points, and took a 35-21 lead. That prompted an LC timeout, and wonderings of, is this one over?
With 5:20 left in the third, the Tigers led 40-27. That’s when DeVries and junior running-mate, Jaden DeBoer got going. DeVries made some moves that reminded me of “me” on my Nerf hoop as a youngster.
Once he made a couple, he was then able to get the Tiger defenders off balance and out of the way with head fakes and side steps. My favorite was a jab and step-back that he hit from 22 feet, in the fourth quarter. He was certainly able to create for himself, and teammates. DeVries scored 11 points in the third quarter, and DeBoer popped in 12, using a variety of 3-point shots and drives to the rim. Had it not been for Tiger sophomore Zach Watson’s 12 points off the bench in the quarter, the Lyncs may have had a comfortable lead. As it was, the game was tied at 52-52 after three quarters.
A DeVries three to start the fourth quarter gave the Lyncs a 55-52 lead, and capped a 28-12 run. After the Lyncs led 61-57 with 4:46 left, the teams were never more than a shot apart to the end of regulation. The Lyncs had a chance for the game winner in the last 11 seconds, but senior Bryce Bouwman’s baseline jumper hit off the rim.
Walker and Wright hit 3’s early in the overtime to give the Tigers some breathing room. The Lyncs were within two points with two minutes left in OT, but could not score after that. Walker scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Watson finished with 16, and Wright added 12.
DeVries scored 32 points, with 26 after halftime. DeBoer added 22. DeVries’ nine 3-pointers (8 after halftime), made him the most prolific 3-point shooter in LC history. He also broke his own LC single game 3-point record of eight, he set as a sophomore.
Blaine defeated Squalicum to improve to 5-0 on the season, but then took on the Lyncs, at LC, on Friday night. The Lyncs ran away with an eye-opening 80-55 win over the Borderites.
DeVries picked up where he left off, hitting the first 3-pointer of the game, but played only 1:30 of the first quarter, as he picked up his second foul.
The Lyncs were still able to lead 38-23 at halftime. DeVries played most of the second quarter, and scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half.
The Lyncs had an 8-3 run early in the second half to go up 20. Then the Borderites went on an 11-2 run to get back in it. However, the Lyncs hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to put the game away. Bryce Bouwman led four Lyncs in double-figures with 20 points. Blaine also had four score in double-figures, with junior Josh Russ leading with 15.
Meridian faced two tough 2A teams this week. Lakewood got out of Laurel with a 52-51, come-from-behind win on Tuesday. But on Friday, the Trojans won at Anacortes, 53-45.
Lakewood hosted Burlington on Friday, in a game matching two of the top 2A teams. The Tigers came away with a big 69-58 win.
On Saturday, the Cougars traveled west to the edge of the state, to take on a very good Port Angeles team. The Roughriders, who had lost to Burlington by three earlier in the season, needed two last second free throws to beat Lakewood, 63-62.
Ferndale also had a great week, going 3-0. The young Golden Eagles defeated a good Nooksack group, 76-61. After a non-league win over Tamanawis, Ferndale overcame an 18 point deficit at Squalicum, and beat the Storm, 69-67 in overtime.
This was an important game in the 3A RPI standings. Squalicum and Ferndale only get one chance for a win over a 3A team, and Ferndale was able to cash in. Remember that these two teams are part of the District 1 3A RPI standings that includes the Wesco Conference. I will have more on the district and state RPI’s in January.
I’ve never really done Top 10 rankings here, but I thought of a way to do that without showing “homor-ism.”
Much like when all-league teams or all-star teams are formed, where you can’t vote for your own players, I have taken this theory to a state wide Top 10 ranking for 1A and 2A boys. Teams in the Northwest Conference are ineligible.
1. Zillah (6-0) Wins over 2A Ellensburg & Selah.
2. LaCenter (6-0) Wins over Kings, Woodland, Ridgefield.
3. Kings (4-3) Brutal schedule of 2A-4A teams and 1A contenders.
4. Seattle Academy (6-0) Wins over Renton and Kings Way Chr.
5. Vashon Island (6-0)
6. Bellevue Chr. (6-0)
7. Deer Park (7-0)
8. Medical Lake (5-1)
9. Kings Way Chr (3-2) Tough schedule. Close loss to Sea.Acad.
10. Naches (6-2) 18 point loss to Zillah on Saturday.
Also: LaSalle, River View, Newport.
1. Mountlake Terrace (4-0) 3 wins by 21 points or more.
2. Toppenish (6-0) Topping CWAC. Wins over Selah & Grandview.
3. Pt. Angeles (5-1) Lost to B-E by 3; beat LW by 1; beat NK by 1.
4. North Kitsap (5-2) Blew 20 point lead vs PA.
5. Selah (5-2) Early tough stretch of games.
6. WF West (5-1) Lost to 3A Capital by 2.
7. Tumwater (5-1) 1pt loss to Kings.
8. Clarkston (5-1) Def Pullman to lead the GNL.
9. Grandview (6-2) Hanging with upper part of CWAC.
10. Washougal (4-2) 3pt loss to WFW.
Also: Ephrata, Franklin Pierce, Lindbergh, Prosser.
Holiday tournaments are upon us. Several NWC teams will be traveling to events out of the area, and out of the state. Please check schedules for dates and venues. No games will be played until December 26. League games will resume on January 3.
The Cloud 9 Christmas Classic will be played at Lynden Christian and Lynden gyms. Blaine High School is hosting the Blaine Holiday Tourney.
I will be hanging close to home this year, and in full bubble-wrap protection.
Big Games Coming in Week 1 of Conference Play
Dec 18, 2019 7:24 AM
Week two of Northwest Conference basketball action seemed more
like week eleven of the Southeastern Conference football schedule.
There were lots of mismatches lopsided scores. In the end, as we
transition into a week of league games before Christmas Break,
Blaine, Burlington-Edison and Nooksack Valley all own perfect 4-0
Week two of Northwest Conference basketball action seemed more like week eleven of the Southeastern Conference football schedule. There were lots of mismatches lopsided scores. In the end, as we transition into a week of league games before Christmas Break, Blaine, Burlington-Edison and Nooksack Valley all own perfect 4-0 records.
Lynden Christian has yet to see the floor, and due to postponements from the Lyncs late run at a football championship, they will begin the season with a tough league battle at Burlington-Edison on Monday night.
Meridian was able to keep a couple non-league games in place after their football season went long. On Thursday, the Trojans pulled away from very strong (1B) Lummi Nation team in the fourth quarter, for a 68-55 win on their opening night.
One Trojan who is now in the “worth the price of admission” category, is senior guard, Jackson Short. At 6-3, he is difficult to guard due to his proven 3-point ability, and the wide variety of shots he is able to create, inside the line. He scored 24 points against Lummi. Ten of those came in the fourth quarter, when the Trojans went into the last period, trailing by a point.
Don’t get the idea that the Trojans are a one-man show. They are a deep and balanced team, and one that they’ve been waiting for in Laurel. They share the ball very well, making the extra pass to the guy who has a better shot.
Against Lummi, all nine who played got into the scoring column. Senior Jordan Veenstra, hit three 3-pointers, and totaled 15 points. There seems to be no limit to his range.
The next night, they handled (2B) La Conner, 60-11. In that game, the Trojans held a 43-5 lead at halftime.
If you have read any of these blogs over the years, you know that one of my favorite toys is, “scores.” Scores, and the interesting things they create. Just remember that Meridian led La Conner 43-5 at halftime.
In a game that began a couple hours earlier on Thursday, (2B) Friday Harbor, arch rival of La Conner, was playing at Nooksack Valley. The Pioneers are pretty good themselves, and Friday Harbor was hit with a recent injury bug that greatly reduced their depth.
The Pioneers scored the first 40 points of the game. Friday Harbor scored on a steal and a lay-in with 1:40 left in the half. The Pioneers led at halftime, 42-5. Okay, before you accuse me of playing it fast and loose with the word “interesting,” also remember that each team’s rival was on the same side of those lopsided scores.
The Pioneers have a nice assortment of weapons as well. Junior, Cody Coppinger, the only underclassman on the roster, scored 16 of his 18 in the first half against Friday Harbor. The Pioneers will also get consistent production from seniors, Zach Johnson and Cole Eldridge. They also have 6-6 senior, Clancy Coppinger, in the middle.
After the early game at Nooksack on Friday, I drove 31 minutes directly west to Blaine. The Borderites were hosting Bellingham in a non-league event that was played in the Ken Waters Gym. Long timers know that as the “Old Gym.”
The game was there due to the Battle of the Border wrestling tournament that was going on in the new gym. My arrival at 7pm was not ideal for parking purposes, with all that was going on there. I was able to find an ideal spot near Birch Bay, and caught the free canoe to the game.
The atmosphere (another one of my toys), was great in the little Ken Waters. Blaine’s band, full student section, and 14 cheerleaders, got the building revved up, to the tune of a 95-66 win by the home team.
Over the first two weeks, no one in the NWC has put together a better 32 minutes than the Blaine Borderites had on Friday night.
With a 14-10 lead in the middle of the first quarter, the Borderites began to put on quite a show. They shot three’s, they drove to the rim, they made great passes, and they turned defense into fast break offense. But there was just a little more.
As the buzzer sounded at the end of the first quarter, the packed house witnessed junior Kyle Turnberg heave a perfect shot from nearly three-quarter court. The Borderites had rolled up a 19 point lead by scoring an astounding 34 first quarter points. Eight Borderites scored in the first eight minutes, and all had between three and six points.
Turnberg finished with a game-high 22. He scored 13 of those in the third quarter. Turnberg added one normal range 3-pointer in the second half, but did most of his damage inside, maneuvering his way to the rim several times.
Joss Russ, a 6-3 junior, tossed in 21. He also showed the ability to hit the three, as well as get to the rim off the dribble. Five players finished in double-figures for the Borderites.
Bellingham senior, Colm Schaefer led his team with 19 points. He is an exceptional outside shooter, and you better be defending him when he leaves the locker room, because he is especially accurate early in games.
Earlier in the week, the Borderites were 83-54 winners over (3A) Oak Harbor (1-3). Oak Harbor has a new coach this year, who is Nate Sullivan. Coach Sullivan was the assistant to Brett Senff at Anacortes for many years.
Oak Harbor and Anacortes are 21 miles apart, and we need to get them scheduled. In fact, I wonder if the Washington State Ferry system has a boat big enough to host a basketball game. Why should San Diego have all the fun?
Lynden had an easy 81-50 win over Tamanawis BC. Senior Brock Heppner was back on the floor at full strength, and he and 6-11 junior, Liam Hanenburg dominated the smaller Wildcats.
On Saturday, the Lions (2-1) won at (4A) Eastlake, 46-42. Hanenburg led the Lions in scoring (15) for the third straight game, and is now averaging 20 points per game on the season.
Now comes one solid week of league play, and things will get interesting very fast.
Lynden Christian gets no dry runs, and they are at Burlington, Monday night. On Thursday, Ferndale goes to Squalicum for their only matchup of the regular season. Friday gives us for great matchups. Each one carries a level of importance and intrigue. Burlington travels to Lakewood, and Blaine goes to Lynden Christian. You also have 1A rivals Mt. Baker at Nooksack, and 2A’s, Sehome at Bellingham.
Unlike last year when we had two dominant teams, I don’t see anything like that this year. I see several teams that have a shot at the NWC title. In fact, is the league so balanced this year that 10-3 just might be enough to win it?
That’s a rhetorical question, unless it happens. Then, it’s a prediction.
Northwest Conference Basketball Returns
Dec 9, 2019 9:15 PM
Every season, teams make some sort of transition due to player
change-over. Seniors graduate, and underclassmen move up. This
happens to every team, in every classification, and in every league
around the state.
No league responds better to those yearly roster transitions
than those in the Northwest Conference. It doesn’t seem to matter
who comes and goes, the results remain the same.
Every season, teams make some sort of transition due to player change-over. Seniors graduate, and underclassmen move up. This happens to every team, in every classification, and in every league around the state.
No league responds better to those yearly roster transitions than those in the Northwest Conference. It doesn’t seem to matter who comes and goes, the results remain the same.
Lynden is currently the reigning 2A champion, having won back-to-back state titles in 2018 and 2019. Lynden Christian won the title in 2018, but was dethroned last year, and brought home fourth place. The Lyncs were the only local 1A team to make the regional round, while Anacortes and Burlington-Edison joined the Lions in the top 12.
The Lions and Lyncs look to replenish this season. The Lions lost ten seniors, while the Lyncs lost five. All-League and All-State players littered their rosters. Sehome also graduated ten seniors, and will play with just two this season. Ferndale had nine seniors on the roster last year, and has four this season.
The 2019 senior class of the Northwest Conference certainly made their mark. Bajema, Whitman, Hochsprung, Ferdinand, Julius, Thompson, Freeman, Zamora, Senff and Colwell, are all very familiar names.
However, now is the chance for this year’s crop of NWC seniors to shine. The new list of NWC Seniors includes, but is not limited to:
Andrew DeVries & Bryce Bouwman, (Lynden Christian)
Jackson Short & Ryan Johnson, (Meridian)
Waylon Kentner & Jason Lee, (Mt. Baker)
Clancy Coppinger & Cole Eldridge, (Nooksack)
Grayson Eaton (Anacortes)
Colm Schaefer, (Bellingham)
Zane Rector, (Blaine)
Jackson Reisner & Wyatt Walker, (Burlington-Edison)
Alex Jensen & Jackson Schultz (Lakewood)
Brock Heppner, (Lynden)
Alex Garcia (Sedro-Woolley)
Nick MacPhee (Sehome)
Reese Gillespie & Nicholas Leavitt (Ferndale)
Dedrick Mitchell & Devante Powell (Squalicum)
This season, the senior-heavy team appears to be Nooksack-Valley, with ten. Sedro-Woolley has eight seniors on its roster, while Lakewood has seven.
The first week of the 2019-20 season has come and gone, and two teams have yet to see the floor. Meridian and Lynden Christian have had to postpone basketball games to accommodate their lengthy and successful football seasons. (Not every league is able to do this, ya know!). The Trojans will begin their season on Thursday by hosting Lummi. The Lyncs will have to wait another week, and their first game will be league counter at Burlington-Edison.
Week 1 began at Sehome, where they hosted rival Bellingham in the season opener for both teams. Playing your rival in game one multiplies the degree of difficulty. Teams haven’t worked out all the kinks, and have not run their stuff against someone who doesn’t know it. But, this isn’t something new to the contestants, and I’m sure Coaches McKay and Gillispie had the extra attention of their teams for the first two weeks of practice.
Not knowing what I was going to find, I went back several years to check on how this rivalry has gone. Over the last 12 seasons, the Mariners and Raiders have played twice, every year except two. The Mariners had dominated the series, winning 18 of the 22 games, dating back to the 2007-08 season. Included in those numbers is Sehome’s 11-1 record in league contests against Bellngham.
On Tuesday night, Red Raider sharp-shooting senior, Colm Schaefer, led his team to a 53-49 win, in the non-league contest.
Schaefer came out on fire, hitting two 3-pointers in the first minute, and scored his teams’ first 14 points. He finished with six 3’s, and a game high 25 points on the night, even sitting several minutes due to foul trouble.
The Mariners had a 33-28 lead at halftime, but could not hang on. Mariner junior Micah Daheim led the Mariners with 16 points. The two teams combined for only eight points in the fourth quarter.
Thursday meant a trip to Blaine to catch the Borderites against Archbishop Murphy (which included a pre-game stop at Border Town Pizza).
The Borderites overcame a 22-4 deficit after eight minutes, to take a 67-61 win.
Early on, Archbishop Murphy was using a full court press, and basically just more muscle to run out to the huge lead. However, Blaine found their shooting eye, and the Wildcats seemed to lose a step or two. The Borderites hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter, and trailed only 33-31 at halftime.
The teams played even in the second half, until the Borderites put the game away in the final minutes. Senior Zane Rector scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half. He sank eleven free throws on the night. Juniors Josh Russ and Kyle Turnberg added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Did you know…?
Remember Sedro-Woolley’s high scoring guard, Jackson Price? He is now the JV coach at Blaine, working with his former coach at Sedro, Brett Farrar. Price played college ball at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. Then he played two years at Lindenwood University, in Missouri, and finished his collegiate career last year at Central Washington University.
The only varsity coaching change was at Mt. Baker, where Ben Zakheim will lead the Mountaineers. This is Coach Zakheim’s first time as a head coach, after two years with the Sehome girls program.
Saturday night was spent at Jake Maberry Gym, getting a look at the Lions in their first game of the season. They hosted 3A Gig Harbor, who had logged a win over 4A Kentwood this week.
With Brock Heppner as the only Lion on the roster with meaningful game experience, it was not in the game plan for him to only play four minutes. But that’s what happened, as Heppner suffered an injury that put him on the sidelines for the rest of the night. Though not part of the plan, Coach Roper may have learned more about his team over the last 28 minutes.
The young Lions were not shy or intimidated by the older Tides, as they led 12-9 and the end of the first quarter. Gig Harbor held a slim 27-26 lead at halftime, and managed to hold the same lead after three quarters, despite a quick start by the Lions to start the half.
Down the stretch, the Lions had several chances to take the lead, but could never hit that big shot to get them over the hump. Down by three, in the last 14 seconds, the Lions had a couple good looks for the tie, but came up empty. The Tides got the win, 51-48.
While the young Lynden team did see some lessons learned at both ends of the floor, they were aggressive, and did not shy away, or defer shots. They also got a great performance by 6-10 junior, Liam Hanenburg, who scored 17 of his 27 points in the 2nd half.
Burlington-Edison is off to a 3-0 start, with wins over Meadowdale, Mt. Vernon and Port Angeles. The shooting eyes of Jackson Reisner and Wyatt Walker will make the Tigers aiming for more than a league title.
The Anacortes Seahawks christened their new gym with a 56-54 win over Cedarcrest. Their next game was a home loss to Arlington, 56-51. Keep an eye on Seahawk senior, Grayson Eaton. He was my “most improved” player last season, and at 6-7, he is a tough match up with his inside-outside game.
Squalicum began the year winning two of three, and I believe this will be the seventh straight season that the Storm team will be led by a Mitchell (Dedrick), and a Powell (Devante).
Seven seniors at Meridian are aiming for a deep run in the post-season. Sharp-shooting senior guard, Jackson Short and athletic senior forward, Ryan Johnson will lead the way for the Trojans. The bad news is that one of their returning seniors, Cameron Webster, seems to be out for the season after suffering an injury in their final football game.
Nooksack Valley will get some double-takes as they take the floor this year, with ten seniors and only one player listed under six feet tall. The race between the four 1A teams should be highly competitive this year.
Coverage. Coverage. We all want more high school sports coverage. Even me. I just wanted to mention a few more avenues for that sort of thing.
Former Bellingham Herald sports reporter has his own website going – WhatcomHoops.com. He writes many game and feature articles, along with plenty of photos.
To the south of us, check out the Skagit Valley Herald. They have great coverage on our teams in Skagit County.
Also, the Everett Herald covers a lot of ground. Their focus is on Snohomish County teams, but many of our NWC teams play against the Wesco and North Sound Conference. They have game coverage and box scores, when available.
One more week of non-league games before things get serious. The headliners this week include Kings at Lakewood on Wednesday, and Burlington-Edison at Anacortes on Friday.
~ Ted House
Over & Back - 2019 Edition
Mar 10, 2019 11:54 AM
By Ted House
After “State Tournaments Past,” it’s been easy to show the
dominance set forth by the Northwest Conference, when it comes to
playing for the coveted Gold Ball. It was never easier to do than
March of 2018, when the NWC came away with three of the four
championship trophies (with the fourth having been achieved the
After “State Tournaments Past,” it’s been easy to show the dominance set forth by the Northwest Conference, when it comes to playing for the coveted Gold Ball. It was never easier to do than March of 2018, when the NWC came away with three of the four championship trophies (with the fourth having been achieved the year prior).
To narrow it down, the dominance, during that time, can be attributed to four teams who share the same zip code. State Championships were won in 2018 by the Lynden Christian boys and girls teams, along with the Lynden boys. The Lynden girls won the title in 2017, and took home sixth place in 2018.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, there was nothing about those four returning rosters that would lead you to believe that any of them would drop to just an average year. In fact, it was evident that the Lions and Lyncs boys would have a bold separation on everyone, except each other.
So, after one championship in 2017, and three more for the foursome in 2018, would it be that farfetched on the first day of practice on November 19, 2018, to think that they could go for the “SunDome Sweep” in 2019?
Why, no, not at all.
By the time the final 16 teams were slotted for regional play, the Lynden boys and girls teams, along with the Lynden Christian boys, had secured the #1 seeds. The LC girls held a solid #3. The two boys teams had plenty of breathing room over their closest chasers.
Well, of course, that didn’t work out perfectly. The teams from the 98264 were sent home with “only” the 2A Boys Gold Ball, won for the second straight year by Lynden.
However, all was not lost. The Lynden girls brought home fourth; the LC boys also took fourth; and the LC girls took second. In a normal year, that’s pretty good!
Based on the wild expectations that were set up, well, no one could live up to that. Anything less than four would be falling short. But, that was the dream. And what other league, or what other small town, can dare to dream that big?
The dreams and expectations will continue because this league is that competitive. I’m sure there are several boys and girls teams in the NWC who can picture themselves playing on the first Saturday in March next year, in the SunDome, making their own dreams a reality.
Two of those teams would be Burlington-Edison and Anacortes. Both teams were eliminated in the loser out round on Wednesday. Both also have a strong nucleus on their returning rosters.
The Lion boys became the third in program history to win back-to-back basketball championships (61 & 62, 91 & 92). This was their tenth state championship, and they will be talked about as one of their greatest teams ever.
Lion players from earlier decades may disagree, sighting a league loss to their rival. However, that LC team should also be compared to the greatest that their program has ever produced. Both teams are responsible for a single blemish on their 2018-19 record. The Lions loss to the Lyncs did not hinder their chances for a state title. The Lyncs loss did, but they can still had a fantastic season, which includes a win over the 2A champions. They also built a 31 game winning streak over two seasons.
The Lions, who played the most challenging schedule available, defeated the eventual 3A champions, O’Dea, by 23 points; Marysville-Pilchuck, 3A’s fourth place team by 34, in a game in which Clayton Whitman played only the first 30 seconds. They also beat 1A champion, Zillah, by 36. Their 21 game winning streak was snapped by LC.
Going into the 2A tournament, I thought the biggest regional game was that between #7-Selah and #2-Columbia River. I thought Selah would be the greatest threat to the Lions, and the loser of that game, provided they won their loser out game on Wednesday, would slip right into a Thursday, quarterfinal game against #1-Lynden. Selah got the win over Columbia River, and set up an early #1 versus #2, quarterfinal game between Columbia River and Lynden.
The Lions got through Columbia River, and a semifinal game against Pullman by identical 52-40 scores. Meanwhile, Selah got wins over #9-Fife and #13-Renton, setting up a Vikings-Lions championship game.
The crowd that night was amazing, especially from the Lions aspect. The Vikings, who are all of ten minutes away from the SunDome, were matched fan-for-fan on the Lions side. They certainly had some help from the friendly rivals from Lynden Christian, who stayed for the 2A final. The Lion band was also in attendance, which helped to bolster the largest Lion student section of the season.
In the 1A boys tourney, the Kings Knights warmed up by beating Deer Park, 77-40, in a loser out game on Wednesday. The Knights following win over Lynden Christian in the quarterfinals, while at the time seemed like an upset of epic proportions, may not have been the case.
Certainly, the Lyncs had more to lose. They were the #1 seed, defending champs, and the 31 straight wins. One of those was a 70-63 win over the Knights, two weeks earlier. That may have been the key to it all. Stating that, “Kings has a really good basketball team,” is like saying, “Chocolate and peanut butter taste good together.” They both just do.
The adjustments made by the Knights from game one to game two worked perfectly, in addition to playing flawless at the very same time. The Knights, on that night, played as if they could have won a state championship in any classification.
However, the Knights could not parlay their great fortune into a semifinal win. They carried a heavy LC hangover into their semifinal game against Kings Way Christian, trailing at halftime, 21-11. They would eventually lose in the final seconds.
The Lyncs, on the other hand, rebounded like the previous 17 hours had been wiped from their minds. They held a 57-16 halftime lead over Seattle Academy, creating a running clock for the entire second half.
Losing those lofty expectations, with games remaining to play, can be very difficult to rebound from, especially for seniors. The Lyncs coaches deserve a great deal of credit for readying their team for the next two days, with fourth place as the new goal. That half of basketball, to me, was more eye-opening than what had occurred the previous day.
And to finish it off on Saturday, after trailing by three points at the end of the first quarter, they went on to beat Bellevue Christian by 30 points to claim fourth place.
The 2A boys All Tournament Team was led by the Lions Clayton Whitman, who was voted the Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. He was joined in the first team by Elijah Pepper of Selah, Damarco Williams of Renton, Brandton Chatfield of Clarkston, and Jacob Wells of Pullman.
In three state tournament games, Whitman averaged 23 points per game for the Lions. He hit 27-52 shots from the field, showing a proficiency for scoring from anywhere on the floor.
Lynden’s Christian Zamora made the second team, along with Noah Pepper of Selah, Malachi Afework of Fife, O’Shae Barquet of Renton, Bryson Williams of Fife, and North Kitsap’s Shaa Humphrey.
The 1A boys MVP was Antonio Salinas of champion Zillah. Joining him was Khalfani Cason of Kings Way, Cole Bajema of Lynden Christian, Tyler Lindhardt of Kings, and Ken West of Bellevue Christian.
Second teamers were: Weston Ide of Zillah, Bryson Metz of Kings Way, Avery Seter and Hunter Ecklund of LaCenter, Eyon Zevenbergen of Kings, Andrew DeVries of LC, and Cesar Diaz of Zillah.
Cole Bajema was recently named as the Most Valuable Player of the Northwest Conference for the second consecutive season. He was also named as the 1A Player of the Year by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association (WIBCA). Clayton Whitman was named as the WIBCA’s Player of the Year for the 2A classification. Keep these names in mind in the coming days when the Associated Press names their Players of the Year.
The invention of the 2A classification goes back to 1998. There have been 22 tournaments played. The Northwest Conference owns ten titles in that time, and has finished second, another ten times. Lynden has four of those ten championships.
Going back to a Lynden Christian 2A championship in 2006, NWC teams have won seven of the 14 championship games, and have finished second, another seven times.
In the last 14 years, the NWC has had at least one team in the 2A championship game, 12 times. In the 22 year history, there have only been five years in which there was not an NWC team playing for the 2A championship.
All these tournaments and seeds and things make me look for interesting trends in the ways that the seeds played out. Well, I don’t know if they are interesting, but there were some trends.
First, the #1 seeds went the distance three times in boys tournaments and three times in girls tournaments. Ten of the 12 #1 seeds placed in the top six of their respective tournaments. The two that did not place were both in 4A, the Union boys and the Woodinville girls.
The top two seeds did not play for the championship in any of the six boys tournaments. They played twice on the girls side, in 3A and 1B.
Take the regional round game where the #7 seed plays the #2 seed. There are six classifications, so those teams met 12 times. The #7 seed won seven of the 12 meetings. That seems to be comparable to the “Big Dance,” in which the #12 seed always seems to beat the #5.
There were low seeds that had high finishes. The Renton boys were the #13 seed, and finished third in the 2A tourney. O’Dea, the #11 seed, won the 3A boys tournament. The #8-Eastlake girls won the championship in their 4A tournament.
Other than the 4A #1’s that did not place, 2A boys Columbia River was the only #2 seed not to place.
In 1A boys, there were three double-digit seeds that finished in the top six.
The 1B girls tournament held closest to form. The top six seeds all placed, but not in order.
I’ve heard many coaches and observers of state tournaments over the decades agree that the best team going in, doesn’t always come out. I don’t know what percentage you could put on it. Maybe the best team on the season wins the tournament half the time?
In 2A this year, the best team won. In 1A, the best team didn’t. It’s very hard to win one. And it’s certainly harder to win two.
It’s been a season of severe ups and downs, for me included. The season goes by in the blink of an eye, while the off-season seemingly takes decades to pass by. It’s never too early to wonder about next year. I wonder which hand will produce my best penmanship by then!
2018-19 All Northwest Conference Boys Basketball Teams
Mar 5, 2019 8:05 PM
The 2018-19 All Northwest Conference Boys Basketball teams are led by Most Valuable Player, Colson Bajema, senior, from Lynden Christian.
The Coach of The Year award goes to Brett Senff of Anacortes.
For the complete first and second teams, please see the attachment below.
The 2018-19 All Northwest Conference Boys Basketball teams are led by Most Valuable Player, Colson Bajema, senior, from Lynden Christian.
The Coach of The Year award goes to Brett Senff of Anacortes.
For the complete first and second teams, please see the attachment below.
The Lynden Lions defeated the Selah Vikings, 60-51, for the 2A
State Championship, Saturday, March 3, in the Yakima SunDome. It
was the tenth state championship for the storied Lions program. And
in doing so, became the third group of Lions to win back-to-back
The Lynden Lions defeated the Selah Vikings, 60-51, for the 2A State Championship, Saturday, March 3, in the Yakima SunDome. It was the tenth state championship for the storied Lions program. And in doing so, became the third group of Lions to win back-to-back state championships.
The Lions have used the first quarter to dominate teams this season. They took a 14-10 lead after the first eight minutes, but it was the second period where they Lions separated themselves from the Vikings. An 18-6 second quarter sent the Lions to the locker room with a 32-16 halftime lead.
Clayton Whitman, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, scored 15 points in the first half, shooting 6-9 from the field, and 3-4 from 3-point range.
When you give up just 16 points to a team that averages 68 points per game, you are doing something right on the defensive end. That was apparent in the final seconds of the first quarter, as the Vikings were holding for the last shot.
With the ball in the hands of one of the state’s all-time leading scorers, Selah’s Elijah Pepper, the Vikings were trying to cut their four point deficit. As Pepper began to work the dribble for an opening, he couldn’t find one, under the watchful eye of Lion senior, Blake Silves. And, with the awareness of the rest of the defense, a shot clock violation resulted, which seemed like a goal line stand.
The defensive combination of Silves and Kobe Elsner put the clamps on Pepper, as he scored only four points on 1-6 shooting in the first half.
Meanwhile, the flood gates opened for Whitman and the Lions. Whitman nailed a 3-pointer in transition, then Elsner hit his second three of the game. Then Whitman followed with a step-back NBA line 3-pointer that gave the Lions their 16 point halftime lead.
However, the explosive Vikings would not go down easily.
Christian Zamora, who was held scoreless in the first half, got loose for back-to-back 3-pointers, early in the third quarter. The second gave the Lions a 40-20 lead.
From there, the Vikings began to chip away. Elijah Pepper began to do what he does best, maneuvering his way inside for scores, or setting up defenders for long 3-pointers. He hit two in a row in the third quarter, and along with one from sophomore brother, Noah Pepper, and Calvin Herting, the Lions lead shrunk to just five points with 5:07 to play in the game.
But the Lions weathered the storm, and righted their ship.
With just over two minutes to play, the Lions milked time on their possession. A shot was missed, and caromed far into the left corner. An athletic save by junior, Brock Heppner, bought the Lions more time. When the next shot was missed, an alert James Marsh tipped the ball toward center court, where it was grabbed by Zamora, for a third possession. The Lions were able to build the lead to 55-45 with 1:23 left.
Whitman finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Zamora, who made all-state second team, scored all 13 of his points in the second half, while collecting 11 rebounds.
What really won this game for the Lions, was the work of the “role players.” Elsner made two 3-pointers and recorded a season high 11 points. Marsh scored eight points and grabbed six boards, and Heppner hit 3-5 shots for seven points and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
For the Vikings, Elijah Pepper finished with 20 points, while Noah had 15. Both were held well below their averages.
The Lynden Lions also won back-to-back state championships in the 1961 and 1962 seasons, as well as the seasons of 1991 and 1992. The Lions put themselves through a grueling schedule this season. They finished with wins over 3A champion, O’Dea, as well as 1A champion, Zillah. Given that, and their 26-1 record, this may be their best team ever. Let the discussion begin.
Lyncs Hammer Vikings, Take Home 4th Place
Mar 2, 2019 11:50 AM
By Ted House
It was business as usual for the Lynden Christian Lyncs, as
they wrapped up fourth place in the 1A Boys State Tournament with a
78-48 pounding of Bellevue Christian, Saturday, in the Yakima
It was business as usual for the Lynden Christian Lyncs, as they wrapped up fourth place in the 1A Boys State Tournament with a 78-48 pounding of Bellevue Christian, Saturday, in the Yakima SunDome.
Both teams had fresh legs early, as the Vikings took a 21-18 lead after one quarter. After that, however, it was all Lynden Christian.
The Lyncs used a 16-5 second quarter to pull away, as senior Cole Bajema scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half. Bajema also collected 14 rebounds.
In the third quarter, Andrew DeVries hit four straight 3-pointers. In fact, he scored 11 consecutive points for the Lyncs in less than a two minute stretch. DeVries finished with 20 points, and hit 6 of 11 threes.
In the final minute, Coach Roger DeBoer removed his seniors from the floor, one at a time so they could be recognized by their fans. High-fives, hugs and tears followed.
While the Lyncs could not successfully defend their 2018 state championship, they did have some memorable wins in the 26 they piled up.
Lynden Defeats Pullman, Aims for Second Straight Title
Mar 1, 2019 5:43 PM
By Ted House
The Lynden Lions defeated the Pullman Greyhounds, 52-40, in a
state semifinal game, Friday, at the Yakima SunDome. The Lions will
compete for their second consecutive, and 10th overall
state title, Saturday night at 9pm. They will play the winner of
the semifinal game between Renton and Selah.
The Lynden Lions defeated the Pullman Greyhounds, 52-40, in a state semifinal game, Friday, at the Yakima SunDome. The Lions will compete for their second consecutive, and 10th overall state title, Saturday night at 9pm. They will play the winner of the semifinal game between Renton and Selah.
The 52-40 score is identical to the Lions Thursday win over Columbia River. In both games, the first quarter was the Lions best.
For the Lions, the first half was all Clayton Whitman. That’s when Whitman scored 18 of his 28 points, using a variety of drives to the rim, while sprinkling in step-back 3-pointers. He was the only Lion starter who shot better than 50 percent from the field, as he hit on 10 of 16, with two 3-pointers.
Christian Zamora hit three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, as the only other Lion in double-figures.
After building a 13-6 lead in the first quarter, the Lions maintained control of margins that went between four and ten points. Brock Heppner’s 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the game, gave the Lions their largest lead of the game, which was 13.
Pullman won back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014, defeating Anacortes and Lynden in championship games.
This Lion group, now 25-1, will try to capture the programs third set of back-to-back state championships. The first came in 1961 & 1962, along with 1991 and 1992.
Lyncs Regroup Quickly, Crush Seattle Academy
Mar 1, 2019 3:05 PM
By Ted House
Responding to a tough loss can be difficult. Responding to a
state tournament loss can be even more so. Responding to a state
tournament loss in less than 17 hours? That sounds impossible.
However, the Lynden Christian Lyncs showed that youth can indeed
turn the page quicker than the rest of us.
Not that they had a lot of choice, but the Seattle Academy
Cardinals picked the wrong day to play the Lynden Christian Lyncs.
Though the teams had played competitive games twice this season,
neither the Cardinals, nor anyone else, had seen the Lyncs after a
loss. Now they have, as the Lyncs crushed the Cardinals,
Responding to a tough loss can be difficult. Responding to a state tournament loss can be even more so. Responding to a state tournament loss in less than 17 hours? That sounds impossible. However, the Lynden Christian Lyncs showed that youth can indeed turn the page quicker than the rest of us.
Not that they had a lot of choice, but the Seattle Academy Cardinals picked the wrong day to play the Lynden Christian Lyncs. Though the teams had played competitive games twice this season, neither the Cardinals, nor anyone else, had seen the Lyncs after a loss. Now they have, as the Lyncs crushed the Cardinals, 75-39.
Lyncs coaches and fans didn’t have to wait long to see how their team would react. The Lyncs came out on fire, taking an 8-0 lead. But it didn’t stop there. Riding a wave of open court offense, deadly 3-point shooting, and team defense, the Lyncs cruised to a 27-8 lead after one quarter.
The second quarter was no better for the Cardinals, as the Lyncs topped that with 30 second quarter points, and a 57-16 lead at halftime. Senior Jake Libolt’s jumper with 12 seconds left in the half, put the Lyncs up by 41 points, and assuring a running clock for the entire second half.
The Lyncs shot 63 percent in the first half, led by junior Andrew DeVries, who hit 4-5 3-pointers and scored 19 points. Senior Cole Bajema, added 14 more, as the Lyncs totaled 12 assists on 20 first half field goals.
With a 41 point halftime lead, the final 16 minutes took just slightly longer than that to play. The Lyncs substituted freely during the quick second half. DeVries finished with 22 points, and Bajema 14.
The Lyncs, now 25-1, will play for 4th and 6th place, Saturday, at 930am, in the SunDome. They will take on the Connell-Bellevue Christian winner.
Lyncs Upset by Kings in State Quarterfinal
Feb 28, 2019 10:29 PM
By Ted House
The Kings Knights, spearheaded by the performances of two
freshmen, dominated the Lynden Christian Lyncs, 73-50, Thursday
night in a state quarterfinal game in the Yakima SunDome. The
Knights will play Kings Way Christian, Friday in one semifinal,
while the Lyncs will take on Seattle Academy, in a loser out
contest, also on Friday.
The Kings Knights, spearheaded by the performances of two freshmen, dominated the Lynden Christian Lyncs, 73-50, Thursday night in a state quarterfinal game in the Yakima SunDome. The Knights will play Kings Way Christian, Friday in one semifinal, while the Lyncs will take on Seattle Academy, in a loser out contest, also on Friday.
The Knights went inside to the versatile 6-5 freshman, Tyler Linhardt, who scored nine points in the first 3:12 of the game. Six of those entailed moves around the hoop, along with nailing a 3-pointer.
Another Knights freshman was in the center of a his teams torrid shooting first half. Jordan Hansen came off the bench and drained four 3-pointers, as the Knights shot 6-10 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Lyncs tied the score at 11-11 with three minutes left in the first quarter, but the Knights scored the next nine points, and never looked back. They rode their hot shooting to a 37-22 lead at halftime.
The Knights had more than just good offense working. They were able to double-team Cole Bajema enough to keep him from getting any routine looks at the basket. At the same time, they also were able to put the clamps on Andrew DeVries, and dare anyone else to beat them from the outside.
Lyncs sophomore Jaden DeBoer, a steady outside shooter, came off the bench to try to provide a spark from the outside, which he did. The Knights defense, basically left him alone at the 3-point line. DeBoer shot well, hitting 5-13 3-pointers, and leading the Lyncs with 15 points. But that is not part of the Lyncs winning combination.
If the Lyncs held out any hope of a comeback, they had to start quickly in the second half. But, down 14 in the second minute of the third quarter, the Knights got back-to-back 3-pointers from senior, Hunter Reeves and sophomore, Shane McGaughey-Fick, to quickly extend the lead to 20.
Bajema was held to a 1-7 night from the field, and scored only four points. Junior, Andrew DeVries missed his only two attempts from the field, and did not score. And, senior center, Cristian Colwell, got only two field goal attempts, and scored six points.
Senior Luke Bos shot the ball well early, and finished with 11 points for the Lyncs.
The Knights shot 51 percent for the game to LC’s 37 percent. Kings connected on 10-23 3-pointers, to the Lyncs 7-32.
This was the first loss in 32 games for the Lyncs, who defeated the Knights, 70-63, in the Northwest District championship game, two weeks ago. The Lyncs knew at that time, that the Knights would be trouble in a rematch.
Lynden Christian now moves to a 12:15pm game on Friday, against Seattle Academy, who the Lyncs have beaten twice this season, most recently, for the Bi-District championship, 65-54. That is a loser out game, with the winner advancing to Saturday, to play for 4th & 6th.
#1-Lynden over #2-Columbia River in State Quarterfinals
Feb 28, 2019 3:45 PM
By Ted House
The Lynden Lions began defense of their 2A championship, by
defeating the Columbia River Chieftains, 52-40, in a state
quarterfinal game, Thursday, at the Yakima SunDome.
The Lynden Lions began defense of their 2A championship, by defeating the Columbia River Chieftains, 52-40, in a state quarterfinal game, Thursday, at the Yakima SunDome.
After an “oh, too familiar,” 14-2 start for the Lions, everything unraveled over the next eight minutes. The lead went to 16-2 on two free throws by Christian Zamora to start the second quarter, and then the Lions went dark.
The Chieftains crept back slowly. Kobe Elsner scored inside to give the Lions an 18-4 lead with 5:03 left in the half. The Lions led 18-11 at the mid way point of the quarter, and the momentum built until junior, Alex Miller, hit a tying 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the half.
The Lions endured eight straight empty possessions after the Elsner layin, until Clayton Whitman sank two free throws with 22 seconds left in the half.
On the first possession of the second half, the Lions went into a trapping defense. James Marsh stepped into the only outlet for the Chieftain, sandwiched between Blake Silves and Zamora, and intercepted a pass at the sideline. He found Whitman on the run, who scored on a layup, to get the Lions moving again. In fact, that score by Whitman was the first two of 12 points he would score in the quarter.
Another Chieftain 3-pointer by Miller cut the Lion lead to 35-29 with 12 seconds left in the period. Silves then raced the dribble quickly up the floor, and drew a foul on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. He hit all three free throws to give the Lions a nine point lead, starting the fourth quarter.
The Lions were in control from there, but didn’t put the Chieftains away until the final minutes, building a 52-37 lead with 1:25 left.
Whitman scored 22 for the Lions, while Zamora finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Point guard, Elsner, came up with seven rebounds.
The Lions and Chieftains, the #1 and #2 seeds, faced off early in the state bracket due to the Chieftain’s regional loss to #7-Selah.
The Lions, now 24-1, will play Pullman (21-5), who was a quarterfinal winner over Great Northern League rival, Clarkston, on Thursday. The Lions and Greyhounds will play the first semifinal of the day, beginning at 3:45pm on Friday.
Seahawks & Tigers Eliminated on Day 1
Feb 27, 2019 3:09 PM
By Ted House
The Anacortes Seahawks and the Burlington Edison Tigers each
saw their seasons come to an end in the first round of the 2019
Hardwood Classic, in the Yakima SunDome. The Seahawks lost to the
Columbia River Chieftains, 49-37, while the Tigers were eliminated
by the Renton Indians, 57-52.
The Anacortes Seahawks and the Burlington Edison Tigers each saw their seasons come to an end in the first round of the 2019 Hardwood Classic, in the Yakima SunDome. The Seahawks lost to the Columbia River Chieftains, 49-37, while the Tigers were eliminated by the Renton Indians, 57-52.
COLUMBIA RIVER 49, ANACORTES 37
The Seahawks, sporting their usual “all blonde” state tournament look, now understand that blonde’s don’t have more fun.
Juniors, Grayson Eaton and Kaeden Flynn kept the Seahawks close in the first half, combining for all 21 Seahawk points, as the Chieftians led by six at halftime. Eaton and Flynn shot 9-12 form the field, combined, while the rest of the Seahawks went 0-10.
Senior Cort Senff hit a free throw early in the third quarter, then finished a 6-0 Seahawk run with an NBA distance 3-pointer to tie the game at 27-27. However, the Seahawks could muster only four points over the next 9:14, as the Chieftians took control, with a 47-31 lead with 3:10 to play.
Eaton finished with 13 points for the Seahawks, while Flynn had 11. The Seahawks shot 35 percent from the field, including 1-11 from 3-point range.
Columbia River, 22-3, champions of the Greater St. Helens League, and the #2 State RPI, will take on #1 Lynden, Thursday, at 10:30am in a state quarterfinal game.
This was the sixth trip to the SunDome in the last eight years for the Seahawks. After an 0-4 start to the season, the Seahawks finished with a record of 16-9.
RENTON 57, BURLINGTON-EDISON 52
The Indians never trailed after a 9-2 start, and took a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers tied the game at 22-22 on an inside move by senior, Taino Ferdinand, with 2:30 left in the half. However, turnovers in the final moments of the half, paved the way for an 8-2 run by the Indians, and a 30-24 lead at halftime.
Renton went for quantity over quality, as they took 38 shots in the first half, but hit only ten, for 26 percent from the field. However, they did stroke 5-9 from 3-point range.
Trailing by 11 starting the fourth quarter, the Tigers closed to within 45-43 with 4:45 to play, but could never tie or take the lead. They stayed within striking distance, and had chances, but could not push themselves over the top. Their 13 second half turnovers, hindered that ability.
Ferdinand, at 6-5, spent 32 minutes maneuvering around the key, with the presence of Renton’s senior center, Jason Bowen, a 7-footer. Despite that, the active Ferdinand finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Bowen scored four points on two put-backs, and collected 12 rebounds.
Junior Wyatt Walker scored 14 points for the Tigers, but only two of those in the second half.
In 2018, the Tigers were eliminated by Fife in the regional round, in Coach Chas Kok’s first season as head coach. This year, they got one step farther, and finished the 2019 season with an 18-9 record.
REGIONAL RECAP: Everyone Advances
Feb 24, 2019 1:32 PM
By Ted House
The Mt. Vernon High School gym, again, proved to be a home away
from home for local Northwest Conference teams. The NWC went a
perfect 6-0 in The Palace on Friday and Saturday, and in all, will
send nine teams to Yakima for next week’s 1A and 2A boys and girls
The Mt. Vernon High School gym, again, proved to be a home away from home for local Northwest Conference teams. The NWC went a perfect 6-0 in The Palace on Friday and Saturday, and in all, will send nine teams to Yakima for next week’s 1A and 2A boys and girls state tournaments.
In fact, the only loss suffered by NWC teams, was the Burlington-Edison boys 69-68 loss to Pullman, in overtime, Saturday at Everett Community College. However, the Tigers are still packing for Yakima, as their game was not a loser out contest. All nine teams that went into regionals, came out of regionals.
The Meridian girls defeated Bellevue Christian, 40-26, at Issaquah High School on Saturday. That sends the Trojans straight to the state quarterfinals on Thursday, at 2:00pm. They await the winner between Medical Lake and Kings, which will be played on Wednesday.
The Anacortes girls won a loser-out contest, Saturday in Mt. Vernon. They eliminated North Kitsap, 65-49, to advance to a Wednesday, loser out game against East Valley-Spokane. The Eagles were the state’s #2 seed, but lost to Washougal on Saturday.
The Burlington-Edison girls also avoided elimination on Saturday, by defeating Renton, 53-42. The Tigers will play a loser out game on Wednesday, against defending 2A champion, WF West. The Bearcats were hammered by Lynden, 66-45.
Teams from Lynden did rather well on Saturday. The Lynden and Lynden Christian boys and girls teams all advanced to Thursday quarterfinal games. The closest contest of the four, was the LC girls 18 point win over Annie Wright.
To recap: the NWC already owns five quarterfinal spots, and have four other teams trying to make the quarterfinal field, playing loser out games on Wednesday.
(BOYS) ANACORTES 44, BLACK HILLS 38
These two teams had already met in a holiday tournament in December at Everett Community College. That game was won by the Seahawks, 56-51.
Credit the defenses for the offensive struggles in this one, although the Seahawks were able to just enough offensively, to take 10-7 and 26-18 leads at the first two quarter breaks. The Seahawks edge was at the free throw line, where they hit 8-12 in the first half, to only 2-3 for the Wolves.
The table turned in the first four minutes of the third quarter, as Black Hills went on an 11-2 run, and took a 29-28 lead. From there, the game stayed tight with the Seahawks taking a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Seahawk junior, Grayson Eaton, broke a 35-35 game with 3:51 left. However, Black Hills senior, Jackson Bauer, had the answer at the 3-minute mark, to tie it again at 38.
After several empty possessions by both teams, the Seahawks opened up a four point lead by scoring off of two offensive rebounds. Then, late in the final minute, free throws by senior Duane Jedlinsky, and Eaton, sealed the victory for the Seahawks. Eaton led the Seahawks with 13 points, scoring seven of those in the fourth quarter.
After a year away, the Seahawks (16-8) will return to the SunDome for the sixth time in the last eight years. They will take on Columbia River, the state’s #2 seed, in a loser out game at 10:30am on Wednesday. The Chieftains are champions of the Greater St. Helens League, and own a 21-3 record. They lost their regional game to Selah, 66-61.
(GIRLS) LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 77, ANNIE WRIGHT 59
The #3 seed Lyncs were assigned the task of controlling #6 seed Annie Wright, and their two young guards who average a combined 55 points per game. Though it may not have seemed like it if you were watching, in the end, they did just that. The two guards combined for exactly their average, but the Lyncs overall game was too much for the Gators. The Lyncs advanced to the state quarterfinals, with a convincing 77-59 win.
The play of 5-4 Annie Wright sophomore, Julianna Walker, is difficult to explain. But it’s safe to say, I don’t think she has ever lost a game of H-O-R-S-E. She has an ability to get shots of without much space needed. And, once it’s in the air, don’t count on many misses. Her range is undefined. The volleyball line seems, at times, like a layup. And, the more the defenders, the merrier. I thought it might be better if they didn’t try to help her by setting screens. That It just cluttered things up. But she was still able to get shots off among double and triple-teaming.
Walker scored all of her teams 13 first quarter points. The first three of which came from a step-back 3-pointer, as the shot clock expired. She would score 27 in the first half (38 total), but it was the Lyncs with a 39-32 lead at halftime.
LC discovered a wealth of opportunities against the interior of the Annie Wright defense. LC junior, Riley Dykstra, scored nine points in the first quarter, all from close range. She would finish with 16. Seniors Isabela Hernandez and Grace Sterk took over in the paint in the second half, each scoring 12 points. Hernandez finished with 19, and Sterk 14.
The Lyncs (21-3) will play either Overlake or Elma, in a state quarterfinal game, Thursday, at 12:15pm.
The defending 1A champions are making their 20th consecutive state tournament appearance. They have won 12 state championships.
(BOYS) LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 79, CONNELL 53
The #1 seed Lyncs won their 24th game of the season, and extended their unbeaten streak to 31 games, with a regional win over Connell. The theme of the game for the Lyncs became, “scoring balance.”
Senior Luke Bos got the Lyncs going, scoring six if his ten points in the first eight minutes. Six players scored for the Lyncs in the first quarter, as they took an early 16-4 lead. That lead closed to 19-13 at the end of the quarter.
Connell seniors, Austin Smith and Silas Chase, combined for all 15 points for the Eagles in the second quarter. The Eagles made a nice run to tie the game at 24-24, with four minutes to go in the half. The next four minutes belonged to the Lyncs, and they finished the half with a 38-28 lead.
Lyncs senior, Cole Bajema, had only four points by halftime. But it wasn’t that he struggled. He only took a handful of shots, but it was the “balance” that created itself in the LC offense.
The Lyncs would pull away in the second half, and would finish with five players in double-figures scoring. Cristian Colwell led the way with 17. Cole Langstraat had 15, off the bench. Bajema and Andrew DeVries each scored 11, and Bos 10. Bryce Bouwman finished with nine, all in the fourth quarter.
The Lyncs will step onto the SunDome floor on Thursday, at 5:30pm, for a state quarterfinal game. They will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between Kings and Deer Park.
The defending 1A champions have had their name etched on the gold ball six times.
(GIRLS) LYNDEN 66, WF WEST 45
On their way to the 2018 2A state championship, WF West defeated Lynden in a regional round game. The Lions would go on to finish sixth in the state. This year, the Lions got their regional revenge, in a big way.
The Lions scored the first 13 points of the game, and never looked back. It was 18-2 with 3:50 to go in the first quarter, as the Lions defense seemed to suffocate the much taller Bearcats.
The Lions settled on a 22-14 lead after one quarter, and then held the Bearcats to a single field goal, and four total points in the second quarter, and a 32-18 halftime lead.
The game plan for the much taller Bearcats: pound the ball inside to any of their much taller post players. That plan didn’t last long, as the quick Lion defenders got their hands on several entry passes, which created early turnovers and fast break opportunities.
The one thing that the Lions seem to thrive on are simply, box outs. They are one of the best teams I have ever seen at finishing off their defensive efforts with a rebound. And, given their overall size, what choice do they have with no one over 5-8?
Every team teaches it. Every team does it. But the Lions take it to the next level. They focus on making contact with offensive players, and really holding their position. There has been several times where, having boxed out the offense so well, they could have let the ball bounce once on the floor before going after it.
The Bearcats top three scorers, all inside players ranging from 5-10 to 6-1, combine for 34 points a game. The Lions held them to 13.
And they had good offense too, getting four players, and almost a fifth into double-figures. Juniors Keylie Hershey and Liv Tjoelker scored 13 each. Senior Blakely Doerge added 12, with three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Anna VanderYacht added 10 more, with junior Ruby VanderHaak finishing with nine.
The Lions quarterfinal game will be Thursday, at 5:30pm in the SunDome. They will play the Anacortes-East Valley-Spokane winner.
This is the Lions 12th trip to state in the last 13 seasons. They have placed eight times in their last ten trips, including two championships, most recently in 2017.
(BOYS) LYNDEN 71, FRANKLIN PIERCE 34
Just like their girls team, the Lynden boys used early turnovers en route to an 18-2 lead over the Cardinals.
The Lions have been known for their great defensive teams over the years, but none have gone through a recent stretch such as this. In four post-season games, the Lions are giving up 34.4 points per game. Only once did they give up more than 20 points in a half (23 by B-E), in that stretch.
Franklin Pierce had a 12-1 record in the SPSL, and were 23-3 overall. They play a fast paced, mostly unscripted style. However, they have had games where turnovers have been a problem, notching 30 in a game this year.
They Lions proved to be just as quick on the floor, and their team defense created 17 Cardinal turnovers in the first half. Many of which the Lions turned into fast break opportunities. Franklin Pierce hit only four field goals in the first half, and seven through the first three quarters.
Meanwhile, Lion seniors Clayton Whitman and Christian Zamora were doing what they do. Scoring, defending, and finishing with highlight reel plays. Zamora finished with 20 points, to Whitman’s 19.
Lion senior, Dakota Baar, came off the bench in relief of senior, James Marsh, due to foul trouble. Baar played very well in his role, accumulating nine points in the process, before fouling out himself, in the fourth quarter.
The Lions quarterfinal game will be Thursday, at 1030am. They will take on the winner of Wednesday’s loser out game between Anacortes and Columbia River.
The defending 2A champion Lions, are making their seventh state trip in the last eight years. They will be trying for their tenth state championship.
The season has had its ups and downs. I know I have!
The snow storm and subsequent delays and postponements seemed to take forever to get through. However, looking back, the season has gone by in a blink of an eye, as it always does. For me, this will be 35 in a row. For a little while, that streak was in a bit of jeopardy, but I’m happy to say that I will be going back to an event in a city I love going to, even though sometimes, I don’t think “it” feels the same way!
I’m not Douglas MacArthur, but, “I shall return!”
From a Marathon to a Sprint
Feb 17, 2019 6:04 PM
By Ted House
After having no games over many days, suddenly, there were many
games in very few days. The question for all was, who would be able
to best use their time off?
I don’t think anyone went on a Hawaiian vacation (teams that
is). It seems as though everyone came through the snow induced
layoff just fine. The only thing left to do would be to negotiate
the condensed tournament schedules.
After having no games over many days, suddenly, there were many games in very few days. The question for all was, who would be able to best use their time off?
I don’t think anyone went on a Hawaiian vacation (teams that is). It seems as though everyone came through the snow induced layoff just fine. The only thing left to do would be to negotiate the condensed tournament schedules.
Most teams went seven days without a game. However, 2A teams that finished high enough to earn the coveted first round bye, were off two full weeks.
The first game I saw after the break was a good one. On Wednesday, Lynden Christian and Kings met at Mt. Vernon High School. The Lyncs beat the Knghts 70-63, sending the Lyncs to the Bi-District title game against Seattle Academy.
I expected the teams to come out somewhat sluggish. Maybe the rhythm and timing would be off for a few minutes. I was wrong! Actually, I had the right answer, but just in the wrong place.
It was a very well played first half, as the Lyncs took a 37-30 lead. LC’s Cole Bajema was in playoff form, scoring 12 of his game-high 30 points in the first quarter.
The third quarter is where the snow effect took place. After six minutes of play, each team had ripped the nets for six points. Exactly what I thought would have happened two quarters earlier.
The fourth quarter was back to normal. The Lyncs hit 12-14 free throws in the final eight minutes to hold off the Knights. Cristian Colwell had an excellent game around the rim for the Lyncs against a lengthy Knights front line. Colwell scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half.
The Kings Knights are good enough to be playing on the final Saturday in Yakima.
Also on Wednesday, Meridian blasted Cedar Park Christian 63-40 in a 1A loser out contest. The Trojans were led by juniors, Jackson Short’s 25 points, along with Ryan Johnson’s 19 point, 9 rebound performance.
The very next day, the Trojans beat Eastside Prep 72-50, in another loser out game. This was the first round of the Bi-District tournament. However, the following day, they had to travel to Overlake, the #2 team from the Emerald City League, where they were eliminated, 69-50.
Thursday was the start of the double-elimination district tournaments for 2A and 3A. Squalicum was eliminated from the 3A tourney after losses to Arlington and Shorewood.
In 2A, Burlington-Edison edged Liberty 58-55, while Lynden rolled over Bellingham 68-27. In that game, the Red Raiders opened in a delay game offense, and took an 8-4 lead, four minutes into the game. The difficult part of that is you can’t hold on to the ball like you used to be able to do, prior to the shot clock. But, it was a solid strategy, none-the-less.
Once the Lions schemed their defense to pick up the pace, they really got rolling. I mean, they really got rolling. The Lions scored 15 straight before the Red Raiders could break the streak with their only two points of the second quarter. Then the Lions ran off another 20 to take a 39-10 halftime lead. After scoring the first two points of the third quarter, the run reached 37-2 over roughly 13 minutes of play.
All that set up a Tiger-Lion double-header, as the same girls teams tipped off the Friday event at Jake Maberry Gymnasium. These games were both district semifinals contests, with the winners advancing to the district championship games, and being assured a spot in the regional round.
In the opener, Lynden junior Ruby VanderHaak, had a game-winning 3-point shot in the Lions 43-40 victory. In the nightcap, it was again the Lions and their defense. The Lions held the Tigers to 15 first half points, on the way to a 63-38 win.
Anacortes defeated Sehome in the other semifinal, on Friday. This was the Seahawks eleventh win in their last twelve games. And after playing all their home contests at Skagit Valley College this year, the Seahawks found a new temporary home, playing two tournament games at Oak Harbor High School.
Friday’s 2A elimination games saw Mountlake Terrace eliminating Lakewood 70-58, and Liberty ending Bellingham’s season, 70-51.
When Saturday rolled around, it was the third game in three days for everyone, and we had finally reached Mt. Vernon High School.
Burlington-Edison and Mountlake Terrace tipped off roughly 16 hours after their games ended on Friday night. The difference being that MLT won at home, while the Tigers had a bus ride after the loss at Lynden.
But the Tigers turned the page from Friday rather quickly, and were on their game from the opening tip, taking a 16-6 lead after one quarter, and a 35-19 lead at halftime. There was lots of urgency in this one. An incredibly fast and physical pace lasted for 32 minutes, as the Tigers eliminated the Hawks, 59-43.
By my count, the Tigers hit 18 of 19 free throws in the game. That’s tough enough to do in the gym by yourself, let alone in your third game in as many days. Jackson Reisner and Taino Ferdinand scored 15 points each, Wyatt Walker added 12.
The other elimination game went to Liberty, as they ended Sehome’s season, 80-73. This was also a game that was played with extreme urgency by both teams.
Liberty’s 6-4 senior Jake Elfstrom is an extremely gifted shooter, and a three year starter. He gets the focus of opponent’s defenses. On this day, however, Elfstrom found himself in early foul trouble, and spent most of the first three quarters on the sidelines, with just two points.
However, Gianni Almeda, a 6-3 senior, more than picked up the slack for his teammate. Almeda could not miss, whether it was a dribbling drop-step spin-fall-away in the key, or a 3-point bank-shot that beat the halftime buzzer. Almeda tossed in 22 points in the first half.
Almeda was held to just three points in the third quarter, while Elfstrom was still stuck on the single bucket. However, the Mariners lost ground on the Patriots six point halftime lead.
The Mariners gave it a valiant effort in the fourth quarter, as they started the final eight minutes trailing 52-38.
Sehome scored an astounding 35 points in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Liberty scored 28, as Elfstrom came alive for 13 of his own. Almeda finished with 31 for the game.
In his final game as a Mariner, senior Eddy Hochsprung scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, using a variety of twisting, off-balance maneuvers, that seemingly few other than Eddy can accomplish. Senior Michael McLin also had a big fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his 18 points.
The girls championship game went to the Lynden Lions, as they defeated yet another, much taller opponent, the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats, 54-41. Friday night’s hero, Ruby VanderHaak, led the Lions with 16 points.
The boys championship would match the Anacortes Seahawks and the Lynden Lions, two teams very familiar with district championships. The Lions beat the Seahawks 74-36 back in mid December, but this is a much better Seahawk team. They would also be in a great position, as having already earned a regional spot, they would want to see if they could put some pressure on the Lions.
Anacortes came out playing their usual fast-paced style at both ends of the floor. And, it took some time, but by halftime, the Lions had forged a 33-18 lead. Lion senior, Blake Silves got loose for three 3-pointers in the first half, and matched fellow senior, Clayton Whitman’s nine points for the half.
The Lions broke things wide open in the third quarter, as Whitman would score 14 of his game high 23 points.
One play was particularly impressive, and it began with Whitman’s heads up defense on an Anacortes inbounds play, under their own basket.
With the five-second count nearing an end, the ball was lobbed in toward center court. Seeing this, Whitman stayed close to the Anacortes receiver as he back peddled to get the inbounds pass. Whitman leaped and tipped the ball over the Seahawk, into Lynden’s front court, where he managed to get to it after the first bounce, take it to the rim for a two-handed dunk.
On the 1A side, Lynden Christian, who defeated Seattle Academy 73-55 in early December, notched a 65-54 victory over the same team for the Bi-District championship. The LC girls also won a Bi-District championship, as they beat Overlake, 60-46.
What’s next? Well, there’s just a little bit more to do before the state RPI numbers become official.
In District 1 boys, Burlington-Edison will have a rematch with Liberty on Monday for third and fourth place. That game will be played at 1:30pm at MVHS. Both teams have qualified for the regional round so it doesn’t seem like a game with much meaning. However, Burlington is now #5 in the RPI, with Pullman #4. Since #4 plays #5 in the regional round, a win could mean the difference of traveling east, as opposed to hosting the game close to home. A loss to Liberty could drop the Tigers to 6th or 7th, but that’s just a guess.
Though much more difficult to see, a win for Liberty could also mean a game close to home. The Patriots will be in the 9-16 range, but #9-12 will be the host teams. A win may vault them in to a hosting position for a loser out regional game.
There are only a few games around the state in the 1A or 2A classification that will be played on Monday, but they still could have an impact on local teams, specifically the LC, Meridian and Lynden girls. All games, scores and records must be completed by 5:00pm on Monday, per the WIAA. I would estimate that seeds could be out Monday night, as they want to give teams as much time as possible to plan for games and travel.
THE FOLLOWING MATCHUPS ARE NOT OFFICIAL
For 2A boys, we still have the Burlington-Liberty game to add to the RPI, but at this point, it looks as though #1 Lynden will be matched up with #8 Franklin Pierce (23-3) of the SPSL.
Anacortes is the #10 seed, but will still have math involved pending the outcome of the Burlington game. If things remain the same, they could host #15 Black Hills (14-9) of the Evergreen Conference, in a loser out game. Liberty is currently #14, and would play #11 Steilacoom in a loser out.
The Lynden Christian boys, the runaway #1, would host #8 Connell (19-4) of the SCAC. Kings, currently #10, is looking at a loser out game with #15 Cascade Christian (14-10) of the Nisqually League.
The Lynden girls, who regained the #1 seed after their win over Archbishop Murphy, right now is looking at #8 Burlington-Edison. However, the Tigers will play Anacortes in a 3rd/4th place game at noon on Monday at MVHS. A win or a loss by the Tigers should be enough to move them one way or the other. That would leave Lynden with either Washougal (19-4) from the Greater St. Helens, or WF West, (17-6) from the Evergreen.
If Burlington moves to #7, they would go east to play East Valley-Spokane (19-3) in the Great Northern League. A loss would put them in the loser out side, but they would host a #15 or #16 seeded team.
A win by the Anacortes girls would also vault them into a host team in a loser out game. They would probably be a #10-12 seed.
The Lynden Christian girls are the #3 seed. Their opponent is less determined than any I have listed here. It is possible that it is Annie Wright (19-3) from the Nisqually, but they have a game on Monday against Cascade Christian, who would be a low seed if they get in. If Annie Wright loses, Meridian is a possible opponent for LC. That game would not be loser out.
If Meridian stays at their current #7, they would play the #2 seed, which is La Salle (23-0) from the SCAC.
To review the regional process, seeds #1-8 are the top group, and their regional games are not loser out. The winners play at state in Yakima on Thursday. The losers start state week with a Wednesday game, which is loser out.
Seeds #9-16 also play, but their regional game is loser out. Those four winners will play in Yakima on Wednesday against the four losers from the #1-8 seeds.
With so many local teams with hosting positions, I would expect the MVHS gym to again host a full complement of regional games on Friday night, February 22, and all day on Saturday, February 23.
The Week That Wasn't
Feb 10, 2019 2:08 PM
The Week That Wasn’t
By Ted House
It seems that local athletic directors perspired more than the
athletes this week. Because of the early week weather problems, all
of our respective district tournaments had to be postponed. That
meant a lot of work by AD’s to get things lined up again. You can
bet that they now have back-up plans, for their back-up plans.
It seems that local athletic directors perspired more than the athletes this week. Because of the early week weather problems, all of our respective district tournaments had to be postponed. That meant a lot of work by AD’s to get things lined up again. You can bet that they now have back-up plans, for their back-up plans.
The 1A’s had to do a complete reformat due to their time constraints, as their first round was moved from Monday to Wednesday. Nooksack Valley beat Sultan on Wednesday in a loser out game, but then was eliminated by Cedar Park Christian, the next day.
Meridian was knocked into a loser out game against South Whidbey on Thursday, due to a loss to Kings on Wednesday. The Trojans advanced, by beating the Falcons 67-47. Meridian is scheduled to play Cedar Park Christian on Monday at Mt. Vernon Christian High School. That game is for 3rd and 4th in the district, with both teams advancing to the Bi-District tournament.
Lynden Christian defeated Cedar Park Christian on Wednesday, setting up a district final against Kings, Monday, at Mt. Vernon High School. The winner of that goes straight to the Bi-District championship game, with a regional spot secured.
In the game against CPC, Lynden Christian’s Cole Bajema became the Lyncs all-time leading scorer. He surpassed the record of 1,602 that was held by Isaac Reimer since 2013.
Those two 1A district games don’t have a lot of empty days to play with, as the Bi-District tournament is set to start on Wednesday.
The loser out round of the 2A tournament was moved from Wednesday to Thursday. The Wesco Conference was to play their last regular season game on Monday, but those games were eventually cancelled.
Sehome, Lakewood, Burlington-Edison and Bellingham all survived loser out contests. In Bellingham’s win over Cedarcrest, Red Raider junior guard, Colm Schaefer, set a school record by knocking down eight 3-pointers. Schaefer finished with 26 points. They will play at Lynden on Monday. Also on Monday, Burlington-Edison goes to Liberty; Lakewood is at Anacortes; and Sehome goes to Mountlake Terrace.
All those teams will be in action again on Tuesday, as the winners will face off in the semifinals at MVHS, and the losers will play elimination games at MVCHR.
Squalicum, who is on a season-best five game winning streak, survived their loser out game by beating Lynnwood on Thursday. Their next action will be on Monday at Arlington.
You may notice that I never once used the term, “weather permitting.” It would have been redundant, so I’m using it now!
Basically, tournaments will get squeezed until we run out of open days. It is possible that some district tournaments will be finishing early next week. Regional at State tournaments can’t be changed, so one way or another, those 16 regional spots will be filled. Each district has their own ground rules in place to do that, and will do everything in their power to get the games played.
In conclusion, we will either see a whole bunch of games in a short amount of time, or no games over a lot of time. Hopefully Mother Nature is a basketball fan!
Winter & the Post-Season Arrive Together
Feb 3, 2019 12:58 PM
By Ted House
The first sign of winter snow accompanied by its long time
companion, the Nor’easter, has finally hit. But we can’t deal with
either of you right now, as it’s time for post-season basketball.
And brackets don’t hold up well in the snow (see 2017). Plus the
fact that I still need solid traction under my feet.
The first sign of winter snow accompanied by its long time companion, the Nor’easter, has finally hit. But we can’t deal with either of you right now, as it’s time for post-season basketball. And brackets don’t hold up well in the snow (see 2017). Plus the fact that I still need solid traction under my feet.
The 1A schedule ended on Thursday night. Nooksack Valley’s win over Blaine, coupled with losses by Meridian and Mt. Baker, created a three-way tie in which only two could advance.
Meridian claimed the #2 seed from the Northwest Conference by way of their wins over Nooksack and Mt. Baker. Nooksack gets the #3 seed by way of their victory over Mt. Baker. The Mountaineers will have to sit this one out. The NWC advances three of their four 1A teams, while the North Sound Conference sends five of their six this year.
The 1A District Tournament begins Monday night for both the boys and girls. The way the seedings fell, four schools will host boys and girls double-headers. Boys games will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the girls games at 7:45.
The Nooksack boys and girls are both a #3 seed from the NWC. Both teams will play at Cedar Park Christian, the NSC #2’s, on Monday. Meridian will host the South Whidbey boys and the Granite Falls girls. The Lynden Christian boys, winners of 27 straight, will be at home against Sultan, then, the LC girls play Coupeville. The NSC champion Kings boys host Granite falls, followed by the Kings girls taking on Sultan.
This is a double-elimination tournament, with the top four teams advancing to the Bi-District tournament with District 2.
In the 2A classification, the Wesco Conference ends its regular season on Monday. The top four teams listed in the district RPI will avoid Wednesday’s loser out round. Lynden will be the #1 seed, and Liberty is locked into the #4 spot. Anacortes is currently #2, but could change places with #3 Mountlake Terrace. For that to happen, MLT has to beat Shorewood, and must couple that with a Meadowdale win over Archbishop Murphy.
Most of the 12 seeds “seem” set. Sammamish has been eliminated. There could be a change in the order between #9 and #11, pending Monday outcomes.
The top four from the 2A tournament will earn a spot in the regional round.
The 3A classification got real crazy last week. I spent several hours going over their RPI scenarios. Squalicum seems to have come out of nowhere to grab the #10 and final 3A seed, over Ferndale.
I must point out that, not even I am confident enough to proclaim Squalicum as the #10 seed, until Monday’s games are concluded. Sometimes, there are underlying circumstances in these scenarios that can’t be seen.
However, the Storm has gone from #12 to #10 this week, thanks to wins over 2A Lakewood and Burlington-Edison. The fact that both of those teams finished with winning records, meant bonus RPI points for the Storm.
As the #10 seed, the Storm would play a loser out game on the road, against either Lynnwood, Shorewood, or Meadowdale, on Thursday.
In girls 2A, Lakewood has been eliminated. The top four teams will be Archbishop Murphy, Lynden, Burlington-Edison, and Anacortes. The loser out, first round will be played on Thursday.
The Ferndale girls currently hold the #6 seed, which will let them avoid the loser out round. Squalicum is #11, and appears to have been eliminated. The Wesco girls schedule also ends on Monday.
There were a couple milestones that were reached last week. On Monday, in Anacortes’ win over Mt. Baker, head coach Brett Senff, earned his 200th victory with the Seahawks. He is now 201-94 in his 12th season.
On Friday, Lynden senior, Christian Zamora, became the Lions all-time leading scorer. Zamora broke the 1,506 point mark set by Eric Petersen in 1986. The record stood for nearly 33 full seasons.
The fun begins now! Just make sure I have a salty path to your gym door.
Lyncs Prevail in “The Game of The Year”
Jan 27, 2019 3:44 PM
By Ted House
In what was labeled as “The Game of The Year” in the state of
Washington, the Lynden Christian Lyncs soundly defeated their
cross-town rival, Lynden Lions, 75-57, Friday night at Jake Maberry
The crowd, which just may be the largest ever to watch a high
school basketball game in Whatcom County, was about 50 people deep
when the doors opened at 3:15pm. The 3,000 plus jammed the two
mammoth grandstands at The Jake, even filling aisles, hallways, and
In what was labeled as “The Game of The Year” in the state of Washington, the Lynden Christian Lyncs soundly defeated their cross-town rival, Lynden Lions, 75-57, Friday night at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
The crowd, which just may be the largest ever to watch a high school basketball game in Whatcom County, was about 50 people deep when the doors opened at 3:15pm. The 3,000 plus jammed the two mammoth grandstands at The Jake, even filling aisles, hallways, and doorways.
By the time the junior varsity game was at halftime, the mass of people hampered media outlets chances for any type of wifi broadcast. Fortunately, a Facebook feed was able to be viewed by several hundred more fans.
The game itself also had its story lines. The two very familiar rivals, who were also undefeated, reigning state champions, treated all to some unbelievable basketball.
Lynden Christian senior, Cole Bajema, while converting on only 11 of 27 field goal attempts, electrified the crowd on each of his 11 successes. He finished with 32 points and ten rebounds.
The Lyncs team defense was the difference on this night. After careful study of said defense, I can’t really categorize it with a single term. Sometimes it appeared as a 2-3 zone, with “special circumstances.” Other times, it resembled a “triangle-and-two.” However you look at it, their focus was certainly on Lynden senior standouts, Christian Zamora and Clayton Whitman.
Although both scored well, Zamora 21 points and Whitman 20, those 41 did not come easy, as each had a Lync defender (or two) draped over them on every possession. The strategy by the Lyncs was, simply put, to force other Lions to beat them.
In games of this magnitude, you need someone, other than your “go-to” guys, to throw a monkey wrench into your opponent’s game plan. The Lyncs got just that.
Here’s a scenario: If I said that at game’s end, Lyncs senior center Cristian Colwell and junior shooter, Andrew DeVries, who each average 12 points per game on the season, would combine for only eight total points, who would be the winner? Lynden. Easiest story problem ever.
However, the 32 from Bajema helped to even that out. What put the Lyncs over the top was the 17 points from Lyncs senior Luke Bos. The Lyncs found Bos open on the perimeter, time after time, as he nailed 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
The Lyncs got the first bucket of the game, and ran out to an 11-2 lead. The Lions had trouble getting the movement and shots they usually get from their half court offense. But when the Lions were able to get their transition game going, that’s when they would make their strong runs at the Lyncs.
Whitman electrified the crowd with two breakaway dunks in the first half, and the Lions closed the gap to a 26-24 lead for the Lyncs at halftime.
The Lyncs had great starts to each quarter, and to start the third they went on a 12-0 run, to take a 38-24 lead. That’s when one of the greatest 1-on-1 battles surfaced.
At that point, Whitman, as if to say, “Enough,” scored his team’s next 13 points. It began with a thundering dunk in traffic, as he took a pass on the right wing on a fast break. After hitting two free throws, Whitman hit consecutive long range 3-pointers to force an LC time out with the score at 40-34.
Whitman then nailed another 3-pointer, but while all this was going on, he and Bajema ended up guarding each other several times, adding to the intensity of the already piping hot building.
Zamora hit a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter for the only non-Whitman score of the quarter for the Lions. The Lyncs held a 47-40 lead after three.
Another quick run by the Lyncs to begin the fourth quarter, essentially put the game away.
After shooting only 38% (10-26) in the first half, the Lyncs hit 15-27 in the second half, and rolled up 49 points.
The game, in combination with Coaches vs Cancer, and the honoring of the late football coach, Curt Kramme into the Lynden Athletic Hall of Fame, was an event that could only happen, right where it happened.
The fallout? As much as the fans, coaches, and teams were awaiting and preparing for this night, It just might be that after all the hoopla, both teams might be glad it’s over. Each can go back to their regularly scheduled programming, and reset themselves for their final two games of the regular season, and beyond.
The Lyncs will win their first “outright” Northwest Conference title with wins over Meridian and Lakewood. They will be the #1 1A seed from the NWC to the District Tournament. The Lions will hang on to the top 2A District RPI by finishing with wins over Blaine and Ferndale.
The big 1A GOTW was Meridian’s 69-57 win over Mt. Baker on Friday. The Trojans dominated the glass and got 24 points from junior, Cameron Webster, and 14 more from junior Ryan Johnson.
The Trojans and Mountaineers are 2-9 with two games left. Meridian owns head-to-head tiebreakers over Mt. Baker and Nooksack Valley (1-10). Two of the three advance to the District Tournament.
After dropping to the #11 seed earlier this week, Ferndale is back in the #10 seed. They are in a battle with Oak Harbor for the final spot to the 3A District Tournament. The Golden Eagles finish with Sehome and Lynden.
Anacortes continues to play well, with wins over Blaine and Burlington-Edison last week. They are currently the #2 seed for the 2A District. Liberty and Mountlake Terrace are seeds 3 and 4 right now. The top four receive a first round bye.
The final week of the regular season is upon us. I’m going to attack it by continuing to go left. Hopefully I can start to go right by tourney time. That should make me tough to stop.
Speaking of stops, I have a road trip to Blaine on Monday, which will include a stop at my favorite Blaine pregame hangout, the Pizza Factory. Can’t wait.
Nothing Left to do But Play It
Jan 23, 2019 9:18 PM
By Ted House
It was March 3, 2018. The boys court at the north end of the
Yakima SunDome was done for the year. The Lynden boys team had
secured their programs ninth state title, with a win over WF West.
And the Lynden Christian Lyncs had just won their sixth state
championship, with a resounding win over Freeman.
It was March 3, 2018. The boys court at the north end of the Yakima SunDome was done for the year. The Lynden boys team had secured their programs ninth state title, with a win over WF West. And the Lynden Christian Lyncs had just won their sixth state championship, with a resounding win over Freeman.
Much earlier in the day, the Lynden girls, who just one year prior, won their programs second state championship, earned the sixth place trophy in 2A for 2018. And, on the final game on the girls court, Lynden Christian was about to win a nail biter over Cashmere, which would net them the programs 12th title.
It was at that moment, much like in 2012 when the Lions and Lyncs both won state championships, that the two teams walked back on to the north court as one, representing their basketball crazy town of 14,000 residents. As many fans captured photos of the two teams posing together, how could one not, even if only for a second, think about the future?
That “future” is finally upon us, as the undefeated Lynden Lions will host the undefeated Lynden Christian Lyncs at Jake Maberry Gymnasium, Friday, January 25, at 7:15pm. Tickets to the 3,000 seat venue are on sale at the respective school offices, while they last.
If you compare the faces in that group picture with those involved in pregame warm-ups on Friday, it’s the amount of similarities that would have everyone quickly thinking about the future, and the possibility that those two teams could pose on the north court again in 2019.
But that takes a lot work, and some luck along the way. Even if you return the entire starting lineup. Or, even if you have a player who was courted, and signed, by the University of Michigan. Teams change from year to year, no matter what. And, no matter how good a team may be, it is still very difficult to win a championship.
In the same thoughts of the 2019 season, the revelation hits that, “Hey, these two are on each other’s schedule next year!”
Not only are they on each other’s schedule, in a massive high school venue to boot, but they are both 10-0 in the Northwest Conference, and have identical 17-0 season records.
Furthermore, for several seasons, the Lions and the Lyncs have been scheduled to play during Coaches vs Cancer week, which helps greatly in support contributions. Also, during halftime on Friday, the Lynden Athletic Hall of Fame, will induct the late Curt Kramme, in a special ceremony.
All of that, and a game!
Since the 1960’s, the Lions have won more than twice as many games in the series as the Lyncs. But let’s narrow those years down to the last nine, which coincides with Roger DeBoer’s tenure as the coach of the Lyncs.
The Lyncs have won only twice in the last nine meetings between the two, but that includes a two-point loss, as well as a loss in overtime in 2013, the last time both teams were reigning champions. The Lyncs won by three points last year, but endured three-point losses in 2016 and 2017.
Lion Coach Brian Roper has a career record of 13-2 against the Lyncs.
These teams knew they were championship caliber, and scheduled accordingly. The Lions have had dominating non-conference wins over 3A’s, O’Dea and Marysville-Pilchuck, as well as 2A and 1A powers, Selah and Zillah.
Generally, a 13 game Northwest Conference schedule is enough competition for a good 1A team. However, the Lyncs scheduled up some classifications as well. They beat 3A Wilson, who currently third on the WIAA’s 3A RPI. The Lyncs also notched a win over 4A Glacier Peak, who is 8-1 in the 4A Wesco.
Is the fact that both teams have cleared 17 hurdles a surprise? Playing a Northwest Conference schedule, one would tend to answer, yes. But, in hindsight, maybe it’s not a surprise at all.
The Lyncs have won four games where the difference was eight points or less. But in those 17 wins, their average margin of victory is nearly 23 points per game. In league play, the Lyncs margin of victory is 24.5.
The Lions closest game this year was an 11 point win at Kings. Even with that, they win by an average of 30 points per game. In NWC play, the difference is an astounding 34.1.
Going back through NWC history, the largest margin of victory in league play belongs to the 2012-13 Lynden team, who won by an average of 25.5 points per game. Other teams who have had a league margin of victory greater than 20ppg are: Anacortes (’17), LC (’16), Squalicum (’09 & ’10), Burlington-Edison (‘10). None of those teams were anywhere close to a 30 point average margin for a season.
The Lynden Christian girls recently had a 45 game win streak snapped. They didn’t have to go far to hand off the baton, as the LC boys now hold the state’s longest win streak at 24 games. Should they not reach 25, they won’t have to go far either, as the Lions have won 21 straight games.
The 4A Union boys, of Vancouver, are next in line with 18 straight. Next is 3A Eastside Catholic with 17. The longest win streak for girls is currently 17, by 1A LaSalle.
The Lyncs are led, of course, by 6-7 senior, Cole Bajema. He has “volleyball line” range, and can shake any defender to get a shot off, using a variety of moves off the dribble. His scoring average can be defined as, “However many are needed.”
The second most dangerous Lync is 5-11 junior, Andrew DeVries. He is deadly at catch-and-shoot, and doesn’t need much room to do so. Watch for him to fire in transition, or coming off screens.
Cristian Colwell, a 6-9 senior, gives the Lyncs a solid inside presence and rim protector. Cole Langstraat, a versatile 6-5 senior, uses his length effectively to defend outside, and can score when needed. Luke Bos, a 6-2 senior, is a very under-the-radar offensive player who can drill 3-pointers if you pay too much attention to Bajema and Devries.
The Lyncs keep it rolling when they go to the bench. Juniors Bryce Bouwman and Zach Sipma give their team quality minutes at both ends of the floor. Sophomore Jaden DeBoer provides an offensive spark off the LC bench.
The Lions basic eight man rotation includes seven seniors. The two that make it go are Christian Zamora and Clayton Whitman. Zamora, at 6-4, and a four-year starter for the Lions, is driven to score, which he can do from anywhere on the floor.
Whitman, at 6-5, who not only is explosive from rim to rim, has also become a deadly outside shooter.
Blake Silves gives the Lions another pure shooter from the outside, and is also a tough on-the-ball defender. Point man Kobe Elsner runs the show, and may be one of best rebounding guards the league has seen.
Inside, 6-5 James Marsh, is a very good post defender, and will also step out for the occasional 3-pointer.
Off the bench, 6-2 junior Brock Heppner has tremendous strength and versatility. Carson Bode, at 6-4, is another long defender, who also has a good 3-point stroke. Dakota Baar gives the Lions additional inside presence, and is very quick around the hoop.
Lynden-Lynden Christian is a great rivalry that has changed with the times. In the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, it was heated. In those years of the Whatcom County League, teams would play each other three times. Maybe a fourth at District, and a fifth time at state. The drama would build from year to year, and you definitely had to be either Green or Navy.
Things began to change when Lynden went to the 2A classification in the early 90’s. No longer were they competing for the same trophies. As the years went by, there were more and more Lynden and LC athletes playing on the same teams as youth sports began to expand. Then friends and relatives were able to cross those lines and actually root for each other. And now, today, if one band can’t make it to the SunDome, the other one picks up the slack!
People have been wondering out loud if this is the biggest game in the state this year? I know that there are no present or future games featuring 17-0 rivals who are both reigning champions! I would say that, “Yes, this is the state of Washington’s biggest game.”
Now, throw all this nonsense out the window, because, on game day it will again be a rivalry. And that means, anything can happen. Hopefully, you will be one of the 3,000 in attendance. Or, maybe you will be one of the many thousands that will, one day, say they were there.
Many Questions Remain in the NWC
Jan 20, 2019 3:00 PM
By Ted House
With two weeks left in the regular season, there are several
races that will be settled over the final four games. Who will
emerge as the second and third seeds to the 1A District Tournament?
Who will get the four first round bye’s to the 2A District
Tournament? Will Ferndale hang on to a top ten District seed, and
will Squalicum be able to fight their way back into contention? Oh,
and that little issue concerning the Northwest Conference title is
still up in the air.
With two weeks left in the regular season, there are several races that will be settled over the final four games. Who will emerge as the second and third seeds to the 1A District Tournament? Who will get the four first round bye’s to the 2A District Tournament? Will Ferndale hang on to a top ten District seed, and will Squalicum be able to fight their way back into contention? Oh, and that little issue concerning the Northwest Conference title is still up in the air.
On Monday of last week, Meridian picked up a key 68-54 win over Nooksack Valley. The Pioneers have a league win over Mt. Baker, so this Friday’s Meridian-Mt. Baker game will be a determining factor in District seeding, with one team staying home. The three 1A rivals have identical 1-8 records, which is how seeds are determined, prior to head-to-head results.
Ferndale currently holds the #10, and final seed to the 3A post-season. While it’s close to impossible to forecast the RPI, it appears that the Golden Eagles will have a tough time improving their standing unless they can reel off three or four more wins. Even with that, the teams in front of them may need to lose a game or two that they didn’t see coming.
In 2A, Lynden has a solid hold on the top District seed, followed by Liberty of the KingCo Conference. The Patriots have three league games remaining, and may make things tight if they can pick up 3A wins over Lake Washington and Bellevue. Anacortes and Mountlake Terrace are third and fourth, respectively, with Burlington-Edison on their heels. The top four teams get to avoid the “loser out” round.
Anacortes has won 9 of 12 overall, since their 0-4 start to the season. They are tied for third in the conference with Lakewood and Burlington, with 7-2 records. They beat Lakewood last week, and play at the Tigers on Thursday. Coach Brett Senff is my leading candidate for Coach of the Year in the conference. Even though the Seahawks have been one of the most successful programs around for several years, they went through a big roster change this year, and they have been getting better each week.
Case in point: on Friday night, the Seahawks held a 15-14 lead after eight minutes, at Lynden Christian. However, a six minute dry spell in the second quarter put them in a 14 point hole at halftime. It was the same deficit heading into the fourth, but the Seahawks put up a 9-0 run in the first 90 seconds to cut the Lyncs lead to just five points. That would be as close as the Seahawks would get, until a half-court shot at the buzzer made the final score 73-71 for LC.
Cole Bajema ripped the nets for 36 points, but had it not been for three fourth quarter 3’s by teammate Andrew DeVries, things would have been dicey for the Lyncs. DeVries scored 10 of his 13 in the final six minutes.
It also should be noted, that Bajema’s jumpers from the volleyball line are just as smooth as his ten-footers. (We’ve gone over the new relevance of what the volleyball line means to the basketball floor in a previous issue).
This week will build to a crescendo. We start with Lynden traveling to play a dangerous Lakewood team on Monday, just as the Lyncs will head down the Badger Road to play the Pioneers. Those are the last two hurdles in the way of the Lyncs and Lions getting together as unbeatens, on Friday.
Tuesday, we have Burlington at Sehome, which is pivotal in the 2A seeding. Burlington will be busy again on Thursday as they host Anacortes. Also on Thursday, Sehome goes to Lakewood. And on Friday, Bellingham visits Blaine. As of now, those two are tied with Sedro-Woolley with 3-6 records.
Also on Friday, Meridian goes to Mt. Baker for their big 1A game. The winner should have a slight edge heading into finals week.
And, of course, there’s that rivalry in the 98264 that has NWC title implications on the line, also on Friday. The Lions and the Lyncs will finally meet, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
Tickets will be sold at both high school offices from Tuesday through Thursday, this week. It is anticipated that the 3,000 seats that The Jake offers, will not be enough. Due to the crowd, the JV and C undercard games will be played on one floor, with the C game to start at 4pm.
I hope to have more on this matchup, later in the week.
We're All Just Day to Day
Jan 13, 2019 5:29 PM
By Ted House
Due to a recent mishap, I was forced to spend some time on the
Disabled List. Or, the Physically Unable to Perform List, if you
prefer. Either way, not an enviable position.
Earlier this week I was having normal correspondence with AD’s
and tournament directors concerning post-season basketball. I was
also letting them know that my recent injury to my right arm may
slow me down because I don’t go very well to my left.
Due to a recent mishap, I was forced to spend some time on the Disabled List. Or, the Physically Unable to Perform List, if you prefer. Either way, not an enviable position.
Earlier this week I was having normal correspondence with AD’s and tournament directors concerning post-season basketball. I was also letting them know that my recent injury to my right arm may slow me down because I don’t go very well to my left.
The best line of advice I received was, “It is always better to work on going to your left before you are forced to do so.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t help my situation much, but its dandy words of wisdom for all the young hoopers out there. Get that left hand working strong, so when your opponent forces you that way, it will be an easy “two.”
If you happen to be left-handed, just reverse those words to fit. Lefty’s seem to have a better grasp at working both directions anyway.
Okay, serious business. Here are your RPI reminders.
The most important RPI for 2A and 3A teams in District 1, is the District RPI. Those are now up and running, and can be found on the Northwest Conference and Wesco boys and girls basketball pages, by using the RPI link.
They are updated every weekend when games are completed for the week. Possibly more frequently as we get closer to season’s end. They are important because the top twelve 2A’s qualify for the district tournament. In 3A, the top ten qualify.
By now, the WIAA’s state RPI has enough data to be legitimate as a poll, but it does not qualify your team for anything. If you are one of the 16 teams that qualifies for state through district tournaments, then you will be assigned a seed of 1-16. So, if you are confident that your team will be there in the end, then you can certainly eyeball where you might end up, seed wise.
While the state RPI builds data in December, many people refer to those “rankings” when comparing teams. For a poll comprised of data, that is too early for it to be accurate. To me, I like the eye test much better, which is why I miss the banter of opinion polls, which have become very scarce.
Skipping ahead, after a couple weeks on the mend, there are a few streaks we need to talk about. Now, we are not speaking loudly of a no-hitter happening in the bottom of the eighth inning. There is no jinx at work. The reason streaks get snapped is because they just gets too large!
I will guarantee that the following three winning streaks will end. Eventually. At some point. I can even go as far as to say that one of them will end on, or before, but no later than, January 25, 2019. The other two will also end. Could be this week, or in the years to come. There. I’m covered.
The Lynden Christian boys have won 21 straight games. They are undefeated since their first post-season game last year. The Lynden boys have an 18 game winning streak, going back to their regional win over WF West last season.
The Lyncs and the Lions meet on January 25, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium. If both remain undefeated until then, one of those streaks will end!
The Lynden Christian girls must be wondering what all the fuss is about?
The LC girls 44 game winning streak takes up parts of three seasons. Their last loss was on March 2, 2017, in a state quarterfinal game against Mt. Baker, the eventual champion. They won their next two games, and then went 28-0 last year. Add 14 more this season, and that makes 44 straight.
Want more? Prior to the loss to Mt. Baker, they had won 18 straight. That’s a current run of 62-1.
After a 6-1 start to the season, the Ferndale Golden Eagles find themselves at 8-6, and on the edge of the post-season list. They currently hold the tenth and final spot in the 3A RPI. The good thing is that Ferndale has a win over #2 Arlington, as well as a tight loss to #9 Shorecrest. They have some winnable games remaining to help their district RPI.
Squalicum is not currently in the top ten, but if they can squeeze out some wins down the stretch, they have also been competitive against Wesco teams this year.
The Lakewood Cougars have won 8-of-9 overall, and are tied with Anacortes at 6-1 in the NWC. Those two play an important game on Tuesday, as Anacortes will host the Cougars at Skagit Valley College.
Another big NWC game happens Monday, as Meridian hosts Nooksack Valley in a key 1A game. Of the four 1A teams, only three will advance to the post-season. Nooksack already has a win over Baker, however, overall league records will place the top three 1A’s into the district tournament.
Here are some teams around the state to pay attention to, as we hit the final three weeks of the regular season.
In 2A, Selah just welcomed the return of senior, Noah Pepper, who had missed most of the season due to a knee injury. The Vikings are currently tied with Ellensburg at the top of the CWAC standings. Ellensburg was just upset by Prosser.
North Kitsap (12-2), and Port Angeles (10-4), continues to be the powers of the peninsula. Franklin Pierce is a perfect 15-0 in the SPSL 2A, but their schedule has not provided me an accurate barometer.
Liberty continues to be competitive in the 2A/3A Kingco. The patriots are third behind Mercer Island and Bellevue.
In the Southwest, Columbia River is leading the 2A GSHL. They already have a 19 point win over second place Mark Morris.
Pullman and Clarkston have owned the Great Northern League for several years. Pullman was a perfect 12-0 until a Friday night home loss to the Bantams (6-6) by 19 points.
On the 1A side, post-season competition for the NWC starts with the Kings Knights. The Knights are their typical long, solid, fundamental team. They are also the team that has come the closest to Lynden this year (11 points).
Seattle Academy (11-2) can be tossed into the mix when the bi-district tournament rolls around. They have losses to the Lyncs, as well as LaCenter. LaCenter’s only setback this year is to the Lyncs, 90-78. LaCenter is averaging 93.8 points in their four league wins.
Zillah is 14-1, with their loss to Lynden. They also have a win over Lakewood.
Okanogan and Cashmere are battling for the Caribou Trail title. They have split their two games. The big news in the CTL is Cashmere 6-0 sophomore, Mason Landdeck, who averages 31 points a game, with a high of 48.
And yes, the Cashmere girls (13-2) still have their sensational junior, Hailey Van Lith. She is one of those lefties who would have no problem being forced to her right.
In the Northeast 1A League, Deer Park is a perfect 14-0, and Newport is 11-1.
Finally, big kudos to the concessions at Sedro-Woolley! For a mere $4, you can get the largest order of nachos ever seen at a high school event. I only added the spicy cheese, but I think you can go farther than that.
And one pet peeve: have you ever noticed that at some gyms, during timeouts, you look at the clock and you see the clock running, letting you know how much time is left in the timeout?
Who needs to know this? My memory is such that two seconds after I look at the clock, I tend to forget the time. So I look again, but now I have to wait 20-50 seconds to see it. So please stop!
Mission accomplished. I just went left the entire game, and no one stopped me!
Feats of Strength by the NWC
Dec 23, 2018 4:32 PM
By Ted House
As Festivus rolls on, we come to the feats of strength.
After a slow start, the Northwest Conference has been flexing
its muscles lately against out of conference opponents. The NWC
currently holds a 37-14 record against the OOC’s. I don’t know if
that’s any better than the conference usually does. But, I do know,
it’s really good!
As Festivus rolls on, we come to the feats of strength.
After a slow start, the Northwest Conference has been flexing its muscles lately against out of conference opponents. The NWC currently holds a 37-14 record against the OOC’s. I don’t know if that’s any better than the conference usually does. But, I do know, it’s really good!
Most recently, the conference sent its two best teams out to take on a couple highly regarded 3A programs. Lynden stayed home and overwhelmed O’Dea, 70-47, who was the #2 team in 3A according to the Seattle Times.
The Lynden Christian Lyncs traveled to the Showare Center in Kent on Saturday, to take on 5-0, Wilson. The Lyncs trailed 38-35 after three quarters, but prevailed, 52-44.
I’ve seen basketball played at the Showare, and it does not seem like the surroundings are conducive to offensive production. Lyncs senior, Cole Bajema certainly didn’t have the same opinion, as he scored 31 points.
Wilson, who finished 21-8 last year, has been to the 3A state tournament two years in a row, and three of the last five seasons. In the two years they didn’t make it to the Tacoma Dome, they did reach the regional round.
The week began with a great game in Laurel, as Sehome edged Meridian 72-69. The Trojans controlled this one until early in the fourth quarter, thanks to Trojan junior, Jordan Veenstra’s exceptional 3-point shooting. Veenstra had 15 points in the first half, all on 3’s, as the Trojans led 40-34 at intermission.
Mariners senior Eddy Hochsprung, led four Mariners in double-figures with 15 points, including several free throws down the stretch, to help secure the victory. And, they needed every point they could get, because Veenstra was far from finished.
Trojan junior Jackson Short helped the cause by scoring 18 points. The most difficult was a running 3-point bank shot from the left wing, as time expired in the third quarter.
The momentum of that shot didn’t last long, however, as Sehome’s Lucas DeLisle hit a 3-pointer to put the Mariners ahead, 58-57, with six minutes left.
The Mariners led 67-63 with 51 seconds left, when Veenstra drained a 3-pointer from the volleyball line.
Side bar: Isn’t it amazing how “volleyball line” has become a point of reference on the basketball floor?
Sehome hit four straight free throws to take a 71-66 lead, then Veenstra hit another one, which was a 25-foot desperation heave, that cut the lead to just two points.
Michael McLin split a pair of free throws to give the Mariners a three point lead. With only seconds to go, the Trojans could not hit a tying shot.
In Blaine on Tuesday, the Burlington-Edison Tigers outlasted the Borderites, 81-69. Taino Ferdinand, the Tigers 6-5 senior, had a big week. He scored 23 on this night, and would be heard from again in the coming days.
Fast forward to Friday, and the Tigers were on the road again, this time at Meridian, where they were trying to avoid what Sehome went through. On this night, the Tigers overcame a 31 point performance by Jackson Short, and held on for a 72-71 victory.
Tiger 6-4 junior, Jackson Reisner, led the Tigers with 30 points. Ferdinand had another big night, scoring 27.
Lakewood registered two big NWC wins last week, the first being a 70-58 win over Ferndale. The Golden Eagles led 36-34 at halftime. Morgan Stacey, who I proclaimed recently to be one who plays much bigger than his 6-0 frame, scored 29 for the Cougars. Junior Alex Jensen added 20.
The Cougars second win of the week was an 80-70 victory over Blaine. This time, it was 5-10 senior, Machai Harris leading the way for the Cougars with 26 points. Jensen had another strong night, scoring 20.
Sedro-Woolley also swept a pair of games last week. They defeated Squalicum 73-57, and then won at Nooksack Valley, 73-63. Eli DeJong, a 6-3 senior, scored 24 and 25 points in those two games for the Cubs.
With all the action lately, it’s finally seems like it’s time to take a breath. Next week, teams go their separate ways, as many will involve themselves in tournaments or holiday classics. There are way too many trips to mention here, but please check the schedule on the NWCAthletics.com basketball page.
I only see one team that is headed out of state, as the Lynden girls will be in a four day tournament in San Diego, beginning the day after Christmas.
The Lyncs boys and girls will host the Cloud 9 Classic at LCHS and LHS. Meanwhile, the Bellingham, Lakewood and Lynden boys teams will play in the SunDome shootout. That’s where I will be, as long as the trip doesn’t look like too much of a problem. If it does, there’s still plenty around here to do.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading these little things every week. I appreciate the kind words, and anytime you have an RPI questions, or whatever else, don’t hesitate to ask.
Finally, on behalf of all of us at the WPA Network, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
NWC Coaches Lead the Way
Dec 9, 2018 3:05 PM
By Ted House
There wasn’t a lot of intrigue in Northwest Conference action
over the past week, but NWC teams did combine to go 15-2 against
None of the four games I saw this week were nail-biters, but
there was high interest, none the less.
There wasn’t a lot of intrigue in Northwest Conference action over the past week, but NWC teams did combine to go 15-2 against out-of-conference opponents.
None of the four games I saw this week were nail-biters, but there was high interest, none the less.
The Meridian Trojans used a quick, trapping zone defense to ambush Cedar Park Christian, 73-46. Trojan underclassmen scored all but ten of those 73. Jordan Veenstra (15), Jackson Short (13), and Joe Plagerman (11), reached double-figures. The Trojans improved their season record to 4-0 after an easy win at LaConner on Friday.
Wednesday evening was spent at Pioneer Pavilion, where the band still plays “Jesus Christ Superstar,” as the team enters the building. Still the best team intro around. However, it didn’t help the Pioneers against Mt. Baker that night.
The Mountaineers ran out to a 14-2 lead after eight minutes, as they turned defense into offense, with some exceptional passing sprinkled in for good measure. The Pioneers had a lot of trouble getting into any offensive flow, as shot after shot kicked off the rim as if they were shooting at gag rims from the local carnival. Their first field goal didn’t exit the net until the 5:38 mark of the second quarter.
A 15 point halftime deficit turned into 20 by the end of the third quarter. However, in that third quarter, the Mounties were whistled for ten fouls in the first seven minutes. That slowed the game down, and allowed the Pioneers to cash in at the free throw line. They (unofficially) hit 21-30 for the game, and crawled back to within eight, as the game ended with a 58-50 non-league win for the Mountaineers.
Junior Cole Eldridge came off the bench to score a game high 20 points for the Pioneers, and was their only player in double-figures. The Mountaineers were led by junior, Truman Anderson, who scored 14 points, all in the second half.
The impressive part of Mt. Baker’s game was their passing, especially from sophomore, Mason Jacoby. He threw two behind-the-back passes that were right on the money. (I guess the kids would call them, “dimes”). The great team passing led to balanced scoring, as Mt. Baker had five players score between seven and nine points.
After a loss at 4A Mt. Vernon on Friday, the Mountaineers are off to a 3-2 start. Nooksack, after a win at Friday Harbor on Saturday, is now 2-2.
My first look at Lynden Christian was Friday night, as they overwhelmed Seattle Christian, 82-37. Long arms stretched across the court attached to presses and zones led to several uncontested transition scores. Cole Bajema scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half, and started the second half with back-to-back dunks generated from the Lyncs defense.
Andrew DeVries scored eight of his eleven in the first quarter to help get things going the right direction for the Lyncs. Sophomore Jaden DeBoer tossed in 13 of his 16 in the second half.
The Lyncs came up with a 73-55 road win over a good Seattle Academy team on Saturday. They are now 3-0, and are averaging nearly 82 points a game.
On Saturday night, the Lynden Lions took the floor for the first time, and defeated Eastlake, 71-52. Clayton Whitman came out on fire, scoring 17 of his 21 in the first half. Christian Zamora used a variety of nifty inside moves to score most of his 19 points.
The Lions graduated only eight seniors over the last three seasons combined. This year, they have enough to start a “conga line.” Ten seniors are on the Lions roster this year. Their underclassmen are junior, Brock Heppner, who is one of the baddest dudes’ on any football field, and Liam Hannenberg, who is 6-foot-10.
Lynden will play four games this week, as they play catch-up from the football season. On Monday, they travel to Marysville-Pilchuck. M-P is led by UW commit, 6-5 senior, RaeQuan Battle.
We navigate through the workings of a seemingly endless supply of quality teams every week. But a big reason we are able to enjoy the successes of the Northwest Conference is because of the talented head coaches, and coaching staffs, that represent their schools.
Five of the 14 NWC head coaches have been in the league for at least ten seasons. Meridian’s Shane Stacy, and Lynden’s Brian Roper are in their 14th seasons at their respective schools. Stacy also coached the Meridian girl’s team for three seasons, so I guess that gives him the tiebreaker to hold the gavel at league meetings.
For Coach Roper, this is his 26th season as a head coach, which includes time at North Mason and Sequim. He began the year 423 career wins, and has three state championships with the Lions.
If for any reason, either of those two is unable to fulfill their duties, the second runner-up is Squalicum coach, Dave Dickson. (See what I did there)? Dickson is in his 13th year with the Storm, and 25th overall, with previous stops at Oak Harbor and Bellingham. He started the season with 378 career wins, and has led the Storm to two state championships.
Anacortes coach Brett Senff is in his 12th year leading the Seahawks. With 188 wins in that time, Senff has built the Seahawks into a yearly title contender.
Roger DeBoer, while only in his 10th season with Lynden Christian, is in his 28th season overall, including his years at Seattle Christian. DeBoer began the season with 502 career wins, which is good for 17th most all-time. DeBoer has won two state titles with the Lyncs, and one with Seattle Christian.
Brett Farrar, in his first year at Blaine, coached the Sedro-Woolley Cubs for six seasons. Bellingham’s Brad McKay is in his sixth season with the Red Raiders. Anthony Wiederkehr is in his fifth year at Lakewood. Ferndale’s Jason Owens is in his fourth season with the Golden Eagles. Nooksack Valley’s Rich Skillman is in his third season with the Pioneers, and Chas Kok is a second year coach at Burlington-Edison.
Last week I chronicled the three newcomers to the conference: Shelby Greenlaw at Mt. Baker; Chris Spencer at Sedro-Woolley; and Skyler Gillispie at Sehome.
It’s fun to watch these coaches interact and compete. Their competitiveness, knowledge and innovations, drives the league to new heights every year. There are also some tremendous friendships among the group, which I have seen, first hand.
South on I-5 a few hours, you’ll come to the town of Longview, home of the Mark Morris Monarchs. The Monarchs have been the epitome of consistency under head coach Bill Bakamus, who is in his 27th season at the school. The Monarchs have won 18 consecutive Greater St. Helens 2A titles.
Bakamus is in his 36th season overall, including his time at Coulee-Hartline and Toledo. The Monarchs next win will be career #600 for Bakamus, which is currently sixth all-time, and the most for any active coach in the state. The Monarchs were denied on Friday, as they lost to Skyview. Their next chance is on Tuesday, in a non-league home game against Timberline.
Back in the Northwest Conference, league play begins this week, with the headliner being Burlington-Edison at Lynden Christian on Monday.
Thursday’s action has Squalicum at Ferndale. That‘s an important 3A “District” RPI game, as it’s the only chance those teams have to pick up a 3A win. (See last week’s post on RPI’s).
On Friday, watch out for the Bellingham-Sehome rematch, as well as Lakewood at Burlington-Edison.
*Coaches statistical information courtesy of Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.
2018 Associated Press All-State Basketball Teams
Nov 22, 2018 11:04 AM
by Ted House
The 2017-18 was an amazing year for basketball teams in the
Northwest Conference, as three earned state championships. It’s now
time to recognize some of the amazing individuals who made up, not
only those teams, but several other highly competitive programs,
that belong to the best league in the state.
The 2017-18 was an amazing year for basketball teams in the Northwest Conference, as three earned state championships. It’s now time to recognize some of the amazing individuals who made up, not only those teams, but several other highly competitive programs, that belong to the best league in the state.
The Associated Press All-State Teams have been announced. Nine individuals who belong to Northwest Conference teams have been selected to either first team, or honorable mention status. The list also includes one “player of the year.”
The 2A champion, Lynden Lions (22-6), had two players selected to the AP first team. They are juniors, Christian Zamora, and running mate, Clayton Whitman.
Senior Trystan Lowry, of the 20-3 Anacortes Seahawks, received honorable mention honors. Lowry was a four-year varsity star for the Seahawks.
Lynden Christian junior, Cole Bajema, was selected as the “Player of the Year,” for the 1A classification. The Lyncs took the 1A title, and finished with a 27-1 record.
1A honorable mention honors went to Nooksack Valley senior, Casey Bauman.
1A girls champion, Lynden Christian (28-0), had two players honored. Senior Avery Dykstra was named to the first team, while teammate, Isabela Hernandez, a junior, received honorable mention.
Nooksack Valley senior, Katrina Gimmaka, was also selected to the 1A all-state first team. Gimmaka led the Pioneers to a 20-9 record, and one win short of a top six finish at the state tournament.
Lakewood senior, Jelly Perry, was named to the 2A girls all-state first team. Perry is an extremely talented three-sport athlete for the Cougars.
For a complete list of the 1A and 2A Associated Press All-State teams, please see the attachment below.
It was quite a week for the Northwest Conference. It was quite
a week for the greater “98264.” It was quite a week for Lynden and
Lynden Christian boys and girls basketball programs.
Specifically, they Lynden boys, the Lynden Christian boys, and
the Lynden Christian girls basketball programs all won their
respective State Tournament titles, in the Yakima SunDome,
Saturday, March 4, 2018.
It was quite a week for the Northwest Conference. It was quite a week for the greater “98264.” It was quite a week for Lynden and Lynden Christian boys and girls basketball programs.
Specifically, they Lynden boys, the Lynden Christian boys, and the Lynden Christian girls basketball programs all won their respective State Tournament titles, in the Yakima SunDome, Saturday, March 4, 2018.
The Lynden girls basketball team brought home a sixth place trophy from Yakima. Let’s not forget, that the Lion girls won the 2A state championship in 2017. That’s a lot of big hardware for one town.
The town has seen “double-titles” four times since 1991. The Lynden boys and the LC girls each won back-to-back championships in the 1991 and 1992 seasons. In 1991 season, the Lyncs beat the Lions for the 1A girls championship.
The Lynden Christian boys and girls both won championships in 1999. The Lion and Lyncs boys both won championships in 2012. The 2018 season was the first “trifecta.”
The LC boys’ last three championships have all been three years apart, going back to 2006. The LC girls have won every other title since 2014, and have a total of 12. The LHS boys have three since 2007, and the LHS girls have two since 2009. The four programs have combined for 12 state championships since 2006.
In the last 13 seasons, the Lynden boys have made 11 regional/state appearances, and won ten trophies. In the last 12 years, the Lynden girls have placed nine times in 11 appearances.
The Lynden Christian boys have been to regional/state seven times in the last eight years, winning five trophies. And the Lyncs girls have won 14 trophies in the last 14 years.
With that many horses in the race, it was just a matter of time before three of them got together.
2A Boys Championship: Lynden 57, WF West 53.
The Lynden Lions defeated the WF West Bearcats, 57-53, in the 2018 2A State Championship game, Saturday, March 4, in the Yakima SunDome. It was Lynden’s ninth state championship in program history, after finishing third, each of the last two seasons.
The Lions and the Bearcats got together just seven days earlier in a regional game at Mt. Vernon High School. The Lions used a two minute span in the second quarter, to ignite a 73-46 victory. The win sent the Lions to the state quarterfinals. The Bearcats played in the Wednesday loser out round, where they edged North Kitsap, 60-59.
WF West, who was the #8 RPI seed, then went on to knock off #2-Selah, 57-54, and #3-Foss, 53-50. The Bearcats momentum should have made everyone forget about that 27 point loss to the Lions.
Lynden waited for Columbia River to knock out Fife on Wednesday, then they derailed the Chieftains, 44-33 on Thursday, surrendering only nine second half points in the process. That was followed up by a 13 point defensive effort in the first half against Mark Morris, in the state semifinals. The Lions beat the Monarchs, 67-43.
In the Championship game, there were early signs that this could be another runaway win for the Lions, as they went out to a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Blake Silves and Christian Zamora nailed early 3-pointers, as the Lions divided their 14 points, five ways.
Clayton Whitman and Zamora hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Whitman followed that with a jumper to give the Lions their biggest lead of the game, 27-11 with less than three minutes left in the half.
Whitman’s bucket was the last field goal of the half for the Lions, however, and the Bearcats squeezed the lead down to ten by halftime, 28-18. The lead could have been larger were it not for the Lions 1-6 from the free throw line in the second quarter. James Marsh was also limited because of early foul trouble.
Another Zamora 3-ball lifted the Lions to a 37-24 lead with 3:47 left in the third quarter, and again, that would be it for offense for the Lions. The Bearcats scored the next eight points to cut the lead to 37-32, headed to the fourth quarter.
Brandon White, the Bearcats 6-8 senior, hit a jumper in the key to cut the lead to three, just seconds into the final frame.
The Lions finally generated a couple momentum plays, as Whitman maneuvered for a 3-point play with 3:11 to go, giving the Lions a six point lead. Then, after two Brandon White free throws, Zamora followed in Whitman’s footsteps, for another “and-one,” and a 49-42 lead.
The Lions led by ten with 37 seconds left, but the Bearcats didn’t give in. They scored seven of the games last eight points, to come within four at the buzzer.
The Lion team, which finished 22-6 and lists ten underclassmen, celebrated at mid court, achieving the programs ninth state title. It is their third championship at the 2A level, all under 13-year head coach, Brian Roper.
Clayton Whitman and Christian Zamora, both juniors, each scored 17 points. Whitman was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Zamora was also named first team all-state. Whitman averaged 16.7 points per game in the tournament. Zamora was a point behind, and averaged 16.3.
All 12 Lions logged playing time in the championship game, some only for a few seconds. But the difference between Lynden and several of the other teams in the state tournament was the depth of their bench. Sophomore Brock Heppner, senior, Trey LaBounty, as well as juniors Carson Bode and Dakota Baar, were vital in the Lions championship run, as they gave quality minutes when called upon.
For WF West, it has been a quick climb back into the upper echelon of 2A basketball. The Bearcats finished 0-20 in the 2015 season. In 2018, they finished 24-5, with two losses to Lynden, and second in the state.
Over the three state tournament games, the Lions defense allowed only 43 points per game. Lion opponents scored seven points or less in five of the 12 quarters of play.
Lynden 57, WF West 53
Lynden 14-14-09-20 = 57
WFW 05-13-14-21 = 53
Lyn – Kobe Elsner 6, Blake Silves 9, James Marsh 2, Clayton Whitman 17, Christian Zamora 17, Brock Heppner 4, Trey LaBounty 0, Noah Walker 0, Dakota Baar 2, Carson Bode 0, Carter Parcher 0, Jacob Kettels 0. FG 18-41, 43.9%; 3P 6-16, 37.5%; FT 15-28, 53.6%.
WFW – Nole Wollan 3, Jordan Thomas 12, Brandon White 17, Colby White 3, Bailey Cooper 14, Bryce Dobyns 4, Tyler Speck 0. FG 18-42, 42.9%; 3P 2-12, 16.7%; FT 15-26, 57.7%.
1A Boys Championship: Lynden Christian 82, Freeman 45
The Lynden Christian Lyncs shot their way to their sixth state title, with an 82-45 win over the Freeman Scotties, Saturday, March 4, at the Yakima SunDome.
It was the Scotties third straight appearance in the championship game. The Lyncs last championship appearance was a 2015 loss to Kings.
LC junior, Cole Bajema, entered the finale averaging 26.5 points in the Lyncs two wins over Kings Way Christian and The Northwest School. Freeman’s philosophy was to “face guard” Bajema with 6-5 junior, Dylan Oja.
Recognizing this, the Lyncs ran two set plays for Bajema, and they worked for a quick 5-0 lead. On the first set, with Oja in a nose-to-nose defensive position, Bajema went from the left low post, around a screen near the top of the key, where he took a pitch and planted a 3-pointer. On their next possession, he started to run the same route, but quickly cut back-door, and took a pass from George DeJong for an easy layin.
The Lyncs were up 9-0 before the Scotties hit their first field goal, but then ran off seven straight points to cut the lead to 9-7. But that’s as close as the Scotties would get the rest of the way.
Andrew DeVries hit his first 3-pointer with 2:23 left in the quarter, starting a 12 point run, that culminated with another DeVries 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer.
The Lyncs 24 point second quarter was nothing short of amazing, considering the shooting difficulties that most normal teams face in the SunDome. But the 2018 Lyncs are not your ordinary offensive team.
With 3:16 to play in the half, Freeman’s leading scorer, and all-stater, Michael Coumont, scored on a layup to cut the LC lead to 28-18. What happened next would be more believable if you were telling a story of the Golden State Warriors.
Bajema scored on a layup to extend the lead back to 12, with just under three minutes left in the half. And then came the 3-point show.
Luke Bos hit a 3-pointer at 2:35, followed by another one by Bajema at 2:03. Then, it was Bos again, in transition, with 1:26 left. At 1:11, Bajema strokes another one from the same spot on the right wing. Then DeVries grabbed a loose ball after a DeJong blocked shot, and pulled up at the hot spot, and nailed another one with 54 seconds left in the half.
The score went from 28-18, to 45-18 in a matter of 2:04 of clock time. The Bajema layin was followed by five consecutive 3-pointers, for a 17-0 run.
After a free throw by Oja in the final seconds, the Lyncs led 45-19 at halftime.
The Lyncs shot 56 percent from the field for the second time in three days. They would hit 12 of 20 3-pointers in the championship game, and break at least a couple state offensive records in the process. Freeman shot only 26 percent for the game, and that mark finished on a high note, as they outscored the Lyncs 16-11 in the fourth quarter.
The Lyncs built the lead to 69-29, late in the third quarter, invoking the 40-point, running clock rule.
Bajema finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds. He averaged 24.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in the three games. He also made nine of 15 3-point attempts in the tournament, for a 60 percent pace.
DeVries, who was voted first team all-state, scored 18 points on the night, on six of nine shooting from 3-point range. DeVries averaged 15.7 points per game in the tournament.
Luke Bos was the final Lync in double-figures, with 17. He hit three of four 3-pointers.
With all this good shooting, there must be someone getting them the ball at the right time. That would be senior point-guard Jordan Riddle, who dished out nine assists.
The Lyncs tournament total of 242 points, was 20 points more than the 3-day state tournament record set by Zillah, last year. Their 80.7 average also sets a 3-day record.
It was the Lyncs second state title under nine-year coach, Roger DeBoer. They finished the season with a record of 27-1. This was the Scotties only loss of the season, and they finish with a record of 24-1.
Lynden Chr. 21-24-26-11 = 82
Freeman 09-10-10-16 = 45
LC – Jordan Riddle 6, Cole Bajema 21, Andrew DeVries 18, Luke Bos 17, George DeJong 5, Michael Lancaster 0, Bryce Bouwman 7, Tanner Jansen 2, Cristian Colwell 2, Cole Langstraat 4, Jake Libolt 0, Zach Sipma 0. FG 26-46, 56.5%; 3P 12-20, 60%; FT 18-22, 81.8%.
Freeman – Michael Coumont 14, Rhys Mcvay 0, Dylan Oja 6, Quin Hopkins 8, Jackson Clark 10, Kaleb Ohler 0, Johnny Mcguire 1, Jace Phelan 0, Ryan Crosswhite 0, Jarett Wright 0, Jimmie Pearce II 4, Zach Trumble 2. FG 15-57, 26.3%; 3P 1-17, 5.9%; FT 14-26, 53.8%.
2016-17 ALL NWC BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM
Jul 9, 2017 11:18 AM
Squalicum Senior Damek Mitchell was named as the Most Valuable Player of the Northwest Conference, by league coaches.
Bellingham’s Brad McKay was named the Coach of the Year.
For complete first and second teams, please see the attachment below.
Squalicum Senior Damek Mitchell was named as the Most Valuable Player of the Northwest Conference, by league coaches.
Bellingham’s Brad McKay was named the Coach of the Year.
For complete first and second teams, please see the attachment below.