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No win streak is safe in January

Top basketball teams suffer crushing losses; wrestlers, swimmers turn in big wins

Lynden's Charlie Jenkins hugs Meadowdale's Jackson Zollars after a close match. Jenkins beat Zollars 8-7 during the Lynden Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 21.
Lynden's Charlie Jenkins hugs Meadowdale's Jackson Zollars after a close match. Jenkins beat Zollars 8-7 during the Lynden Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 21. (Trenton Almgren-Davis/Cascadia Daily News)
By Connor J. Benintendi Sports Editor

The Western Washington University women’s basketball team had its 14-game win streak snapped. Western’s men’s basketball team split its two games. 

Boys basketball teams stayed the course on their way to postseason. Top girls basketball teams endured upsetting losses. Girls wrestlers left their mark on massive weekend tournaments. Boys swimmers raced in a 10-team Northwest Conference meet.

Don’t miss these highlights from Whatcom County’s prep and college sports teams over the past week.


Boys basketball

The end of the regular season is near. Lynden and Anacortes sit atop the Northwest Conference standings, both with 14-1 overall records and 10-0 resumes in league games.

Neither team has lost in 2023, and the Lions have won 10 straight games since Dec. 29, 2022. The Seahawks are winners of eight in a row, dating back to Dec. 28, 2022.

Lynden defeated a hot Mount Vernon squad 72-52 on Jan. 20, setting up a date with Anacortes on Jan. 25. The winner will take sole possession of first place in the NWC.

Junior Anthony Canales led Lynden in the Jan. 20 win with 33 points and nine rebounds. Senior Coston “Bubba” Parcher totaled 21 points, five rebounds and four steals while fellow senior Kobe Baar posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Sehome came up big with a 76-64 win over Lynden Christian on Jan. 19, and the Mariners are still in contention for first place heading into games with Ferndale (Jan. 23) and Lynden (Jan. 27) this upcoming week.

Blaine will be put to the test this week, playing Mount Vernon, Lynden Christian, Anacortes and Sehome over eight days. The Borderites, however, picked up two nice wins last week with a 90-49 victory over Mount Baker on Jan. 16 before taking down Burlington-Edison 74-72 on Jan. 20.

Meridian and Nooksack Valley continue hanging around in the middle of the pack. The two teams met on Jan. 17, with the Trojans triumphing 68-50. Senior Hunter Jones led a batch of four double-digit Meridian scorers with 16 points. Sophomore Talon Jenkins and senior Tyrel Brooks added 14 for the Trojans while freshman Jaeger Fyfe tallied 12.

Sophomores Caden Heutink and Colton Lentz led NV with 10 points apiece. Junior Joey Brown and sophomore Brady Ackerman finished with eight.

NV bounced back to beat Mount Baker 50-33 on Jan. 19. Meridian won its second-straight game over 66-47 Sedro-Woolley on Jan. 21 behind 35 points from Fyfe.

Girls basketball

photo  Squalicum’s Makayla Heaton sinks a 3-pointer during the Storm’s 56-32 win over Bellingham on Jan. 21. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Last week included a few surprising results, especially for Ferndale and Lynden.

The Lions dropped a close one to Burlington-Edison, 47-45, on Jan. 18, for only their second league loss of the season.

B-E has won eight of its last nine games, and the 2022 2A state runner-ups are now making a late-season run toward the upper echelon of the NWC.

Lynden bounced back on Jan. 20, defeating Mount Vernon 69-45 at home.

Ferndale also suffered a critical, narrow loss last week, falling to Anacortes on the road 34-33 on Jan. 20. The Golden Eagles will have a chance to get back on track against Sehome on Jan. 23.

On Sehome, the Mariners had their nine-game winning streak snapped by Lynden Christian, 53-32, on Jan. 19. They will also be looking for a bounce-back game when making the trip to Ferndale.

Nooksack Valley still has its foot on the gas pedal, refusing to lose to a league opponent. The Pioneers beat Meridian 69-22 on Jan. 17 and Mount Baker 73-33 on Jan. 19.

Squalicum continued to push back into the mix, winning each of its last three games. The Storm crushed Sedro-Woolley 65-18 on Jan. 17 before beating Bellingham 56-32 on Jan. 21.

Boys swim and dive

Ten NWC teams met at the Vanderzicht Memorial Pool in Oak Harbor from Jan. 20-21. Lynden, Sehome, Squalicum, Bellingham and Ferndale all competed at the meet.

Lynden posted the best team score among Whatcom County schools, finishing second behind Anacortes with 208 points. Sehome was on the Lions’ heels in third with 206, and Squalicum took fourth at 182. Bellingham (78) and Ferndale (18) rolled in at seventh and 10th, respectively.

The Lions’ 200-yard medley relay team of Eli Rinehart, Kai Wolfisberg, Cody Moreland and Conner Henry finished first, just three-tenths of a second ahead of the Anacortes group.

Squalicum’s Mathias Synnott finished first in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races. Synnott’s Storm teammate, Dylan Fisk, captured first place in the 50-yard freestyle, clocking in at 25.63 seconds.

Local teams will wrap up their regular-season duals from Jan. 24-26 before districts begin on Feb. 10.

Girls wrestling

Bellingham and Blaine were just two of 63 total teams that attended the 2023 Lady Huskie Wrestling Invite from Jan. 20-21 at Othello High School.

The Bayhawks’ Isabella Phillips finished first in the 190-pound weight class, defeating Toppenish’s Makayla Torres via pin in 5:44 for the title.

Frances Porteous nearly nabbed Bellingham’s second first-place finish at 155 pounds, but she lost to Toppenish’s Ruby Rodriguez-Rios by 5-2 decision in the finals.

Genesis Vazquez led Blaine with a second-place finish in the 105-pound weight class. Vazquez was pinned in the first-place match by Toppenish’s Sophia Torrez.

Bellingham finished 10th as a team with 85 points. Blaine took 14th with 75 team points.

Meridian, Mount Baker and Lynden competed at the 18-team Lady Hawk Invitational at Mountlake Terrace High School on Jan. 21, bringing home three more first-place finishes.

The Mountaineers’ Sadie Schenck pinned Mountlake Terrace’s Rosechelle Obare in 1:15 for the 120-pound title. Gabby Cortes also finished first for Mount Baker in the 170-pound weight class, pinning Lynden’s Belen Lopez in the finals.

Ella Moa (100 pounds), Tempest Heiner (105 pounds), Karalyn Cook (110 pounds) and Tyla Olson (140 pounds) all reached the finals at their weight class for Mount Baker but lost, placing second.

Meridian was led by a finals victory at 155 pounds from Madison Brzozowski, who pinned Lynden’s Olivia Castaneda in 4:12. Mirage Deneal took second for the Trojans at 130 pounds, falling to Lake Stevens’ Madisen Bowers in 1:23 during the first-place match.

Mount Baker finished second as a team with 178 points while Meridian took sixth with 84. Lynden captured ninth among the 18 teams with 55 points.


Women’s basketball

All good things must come to an end, and such was the case with Western’s 14-game win streak.

The Vikings, riding high off a close 58-53 win over Seattle Pacific two days prior, were downed 73-61 by Montana State University Billings on Jan. 21. It marked Western’s first loss since Nov. 18, 2022, in its first game of the season.

Senior center Carley Zaragoza scored a career-high 19 points, coupled with three rebounds and two assists, in the loss. The Vikings uncharacteristically had only two double-digit scorers in the game. Senior guard Avery Dykstra added 13 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Western tied its season-high for team turnovers in a game with 24 and season-low in rebounds with 33.

The Vikings, now 14-2 overall and 8-1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference games, will remain on the road for the second-consecutive week, traveling to Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 26 and then Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 28. Both games tipoff at 8 p.m.

Men’s basketball

photo  Western redshirt forward BJ Kolly secures a loose ball during the Vikings’ 78-60 win over Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 21. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

Before taking down Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 21, Western dropped a close one to Central Washington 84-82 at home on Jan. 19.

Redshirt freshman forward BJ Kolly continued to dominate, posting 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the Jan. 19 loss.

Junior forward Jonathan Ned added 17 points and three rebounds for the Vikings as junior guard D’Angelo Minnis (12 points) and senior guard Lucas Holden (11 points) also scored in double figures.

Western is now 11-8 overall and 4-5 in GNAC games with the added benefit of staying home next week. The Vikings will host Saint Martin’s on Jan. 26, followed by Western Oregon on Jan. 28. Both games will tipoff at 7 p.m.

Basketball standings — Jan. 24

Boys basketball, Northwest Conference

Boys basketball League Overall
Team W-L W-L
Anacortes 10-0 14-1
Lynden 10-0 14-1
Sehome 10-2 13-3
Blaine 9-2 12-3
Lynden Christian 8-2 14-2
Mount Vernon 7-4 11-5
Lakewood 5-5 8-8
Meridian 5-6 10-6
Nooksack Valley 5-7 8-8
Squalicum 4-7 7-10
Burlington-Edison 4-8 5-10
Oak Harbor 3-7 5-9
Bellingham 3-8 5-11
Sedro-Woolley 3-8 5-11
Ferndale 1-11 1-16
Mount Baker 0-10 2-11

Girls basketball, Northwest Conference

Girls basketball League Overall
Team W-L W-L
Nooksack Valley 12-0 17-1
Sehome 10-2 14-2
Lynden Christian 9-1 14-2
Lynden 9-2 14-3
Ferndale 9-3 10-7
Burlington-Edison 8-3 11-5
Anacortes 7-3 8-6
Oak Harbor 5-5 9-6
Squalicum 5-5 7-8
Lakewood 3-7 7-8
Meridian 3-8 5-9
Mount Vernon 3-8 4-12
Bellingham 2-9 4-12
Blaine 1-10 3-12
Mount Baker 1-10 4-11
Sedro-Woolley 0-11 1-15

*Standings were updated on Jan. 17 at 9:16 a.m. to reflect the outcome of the Jan. 23 games.

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