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Sports roundup: Prep basketball is back

Nearly half of Whatcom County's prep teams have tipped off their seasons

Nooksack Valley’s Lainey Kimball gets the layup on a fast break Feb. 11 during last season's 1A District 1 championship game at Lynden High School.
Nooksack Valley’s Lainey Kimball gets the layup on a fast break Feb. 11 during last season's 1A District 1 championship game at Lynden High School. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Connor J. Benintendi Sports Editor

While we await the start of the prep wrestling and boys swim seasons, basketball and girls bowling are underway. 

Less than half of the local basketball teams have begun their schedules, but that’s to be expected just a few days into the season. The remainder will get going over the next week.

Western Washington University’s basketball teams earned a combined three wins last week, as they near Great Northwest Athletic Conference play.

Here’s an overview of what you may have missed from the last week of winter sports.

Prep

Boys basketball

photo  Mount Baker’s Joe Harward and Bellingham’s Joshua Tolle dive for a loose ball Dec. 29, 2022. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Two Whatcom County teams have already tipped off their seasons, as Mount Baker and Blaine got their early season schedules underway.

Mount Baker, which went 2-17 overall a season ago, has already played two games and won one of them. The Mountaineers hosted Coupeville on Monday, Nov. 27 for their season opener, but fell 58-52. 

South Whidbey came to town the next day, and Mount Baker picked up its first victory of the season with a 61-51 win over the Falcons.

Blaine, which posted its best finish last season since 2000 (third in Class 1A), began this year with a win over Friday Harbor, 72-68, on Tuesday, Nov. 28. 

Meridian, Bellingham and Lynden will start their seasons on Nov. 29, before Sehome and Squalicum get going on Nov. 30. 


Lynden Christian and Ferndale will play their season openers on Saturday, Dec. 2, while Nooksack Valley — which reached the 1A state semifinals in football — will be last with its first game on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Girls basketball

photo  Bellingham’s Genevieve Blum puts up a shot near the rim Jan. 21. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Half of the local girls teams already have their seasons underway, as Mount Baker, Nooksack Valley, Blaine, Lynden Christian and Lynden played season openers this week.

Additionally, all five teams won their inaugural contests. 

The biggest win of the bunch was Mount Baker’s 31-point victory over Coupeville on Nov. 27, beating the Wolves 52-21.

NV, the reigning 1A state champion, picked up where it left off with a 65-49 win over Class 4A Kentwood, also on Nov. 27. 

Blaine, Lynden and LC all earned wins on Nov. 28. LC pulled off a narrow 62-59 win over Archbishop Murphy, while Lynden downed Class 3A Meadowdale, 62-55. Blaine’s win over Friday Harbor was remarkably low-scoring, but the Borderites emerged victorious with a 28-10 win.

Meridian, Squalicum, Bellingham and Sehome will begin their seasons on Nov. 29, while Ferndale’s season opener will be on Friday, Dec. 1.

Girls bowling 

photo  Meridian High School’s varsity bowler Dakota Hill bowls a spare during a matchup with Blaine High School on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Mt. Baker Lanes in Ferndale. (Andrew Ford/Cascadia Daily News)  

Meridian (3-1) beat Blaine (1-3) in an in-county match on Nov. 28 at Mt. Baker Lanes. The Trojans notched their second-best pin total of the season with 1,592 to Blaine’s 1,501.

Junior Audrey Terpstra led Meridian with a two-game pin total of 382 (185, 197) — a new school record. Sophomore Dakota Hill notched a two-game total of 306 and senior Gisell Jimenez finished with a two-game score of 290.

Blaine’s Bella Vezzetti led the way for the Borderites, with a two-game total of 329. Mackenzie Schreiner finished with a 290. 

Meridian’s next match will be a home contest against Cascade (Everett) at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 at Mt. Baker Lanes. Blaine will travel to Riverside Lanes to play Burlington-Edison at the same date and time.

WWU

Men’s basketball

photo  Western Washington University’s Jonathan Ned dunks the ball Nov. 14 in the first half of the Vikings’ home win versus Hawaii Pacific University. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Western men’s basketball doubled up Douglas College’s scoring in a 122-61 victory over the Royals on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Junior guards Kai Johnson and Will Wilson led the Vikings (6-3), each scoring 20 or more points in the win. Johnson poured in a game-high 24 points, six assists, four steals and two rebounds, while Wilson added 20 points and two steals.

Senior forward Jonathan Ned dished out a team-high seven assists to go along with eight points and four steals. Freshman forward Louis Grante-Halliday stuffed the stat sheet, totaling eight points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block.

The Vikings, in a dominant win, shot 61.3% from the field and posted a stellar assist-to-turnover margin of 30-10. Western’s defense also picked 21 steals in the game.

Western’s next game will be its first GNAC contest of the season at home versus Simon Fraser at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. 

Women’s basketball

photo  Western Washington University’s Brooke Walling makes the basket Saturday, Nov. 25 while driving around a Hawaii Pacific University defender. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

The Vikings picked up two wins at its home tournament last weekend, the Lynda Goodrich Classic, Nov. 24–25.

Western (5-1) first defeated MSU Moorhead 63-43 on Nov. 24 before crushing Hawaii Pacific, 80-44, on Nov. 25.

In the latter win, senior forward Brooke Walling led a well-rounded scoring effort for Western that saw eight Vikings score six or more points. Walling tallied 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, adding four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals.

Junior guard Riley Dykstra finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists in the win, and senior guard Stephanie Peterson had nine points, five rebounds, six assists and a block.

Western’s next game will be a home contest versus Biola University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30.

GNAC men’s basketball standings — Nov. 29

Men’s basketball League Overall
Team W-L W-L
Alaska Anchorage 0-0 8-0
Saint Martin’s 0-0 7-0
Western Washington 0-0 6-3
Central Washington 0-0 4-2
Montana State Billings 0-0 3-3
Western Oregon 0-0 3-3
Seattle Pacific 0-0 4-6
Northwest Nazarene 0-0 2-3
Simon Fraser 0-0 2-7
Alaska Fairbanks 0-0 1-5

GNAC women’s basketball standings — Nov. 22

Women’s basketball League Overall
Team W-L-T W-L-T
Western Washington 0-0 5-1
Montana State Billings 0-0 6-2
Central Washington 0-0 6-3
Simon Fraser 0-0 7-4
Northwest Nazarene 0-0 3-4
Western Oregon 0-0 3-4
Alaska Anchorage 0-0 2-3
Saint Martin’s 0-0 2-4
Alaska Fairbanks 0-0 2-8
Seattle Pacific 0-0 1-5

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