New records, lengthy win streaks top week of critical games

Leaders emerge as league schedules heat up for prep, college teams
January 16, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.
Updated January 17, 2023 at 9:18 a.m.
Western Washington University’s Katrina Gimmaka is fouled as she drives to the net. Western Washington University beat Western Oregon University 67-47 on Jan. 14.
Western Washington University’s Katrina Gimmaka is fouled as she drives to the net. Western Washington University beat Western Oregon University 67-47 on Jan. 14. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

Meridian girls bowling set five new school records. Two boys basketball teams separated from the rest of the pack, while one girls team now reigns supreme. Boys and girls wrestlers led large tournament brackets. 

Western Washington University women's basketball won its 13th straight game as the Vikings men's team split its two games in Alaska.

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


Boys basketball

The Northwest Conference boys basketball standings experienced a shake-up over the past week.

Blaine, Lynden Christian and Sehome have all suffered their first league losses of the season, paving the way for Lynden and Anacortes to gain separation at the top.

Sehome was toppled by Mount Vernon, 76-52, on Jan. 11 in a stunning first loss for the Mariners. Senior forward Isaac Lawrence led Sehome with 15 points and senior center Grey Garrison tallied 11. 

The Mariners got back on track on Jan. 14, defeating Sedro-Woolley 78-46. 

Blaine fell to Lynden 75-47 on Jan. 12 and has not played a game since. The Borderites will be back in action against Mount Baker on Monday, Jan. 16. 

LC went 2-0 after its 72-56 loss to Anacortes on Jan. 9. The Lyncs throttled Meridian 75-49 on Jan. 12 before rolling down to Seattle Academy on Jan. 14, returning home with a 77-61 victory.

Nooksack Valley is hanging around after picking up two quality league wins last week. The Pioneers narrowly edged Squalicum 51-50 on Jan. 9, then bested Ferndale 61-49 on Jan. 14.

Girls basketball

photo  Blaine junior Jordyn Vezzetti, right, beats Meridian junior Savannah Storgaard, left, to the opening tip-off in the Trojans' 60-39 win over Blaine on Jan. 10. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

The Nooksack Valley girls are now in sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference after knocking off Ferndale 69-45 on Jan. 14. 

Lynden, Sehome and Ferndale are 8-1 in NWC games while NV is 9-0. LC is just under those top five at 7-1. The Pioneers will be tough to take down in pursuit of the league title.

Sehome has won eight straight games dating back to Dec. 15, and it pulled off two big wins over league opponents last week. The Mariners took down Mount Vernon 59-46 on Jan. 11 before hosting Sedro-Woolley on Jan. 14, emerging with a monstrous 66-25 win.

Lynden is on its own win streak, stretching back to Jan. 5. The Lions are winners of four in a row following their lone league defeat at the hands of NV on Jan. 3. 

Taking advantage of the easier portion of its league schedule, Lynden beat Mount Baker 67-32 on Jan. 10 and throttled Blaine 62-21 on Jan. 12.

Ferndale had its four-game stretch of victories snapped by the loss to NV. The Golden Eagles entered the Jan. 14 game fresh off a 71-27 win over Sedro-Woolley just one night prior. 

Girls bowling

Meridian girls bowling shattered five school records on Jan. 11 en route to a 2-1 win over Blaine.

The Trojans collectively bowled a 721 in game one, setting a new program record for a single-game team pin total. It was the first-ever 700 game in school history, Meridian coach Gregg Hill said.

Blaine took the second game, but the Trojans’ 547-pin total set a new two-game record of 1268. 

Tied at 1-1, the two teams entered the first of two Baker games — when multiple bowlers compete together, bowling one game. 

Meridian broke school records in both Baker games, setting a new single-game Baker pin total mark (167) in the first and a two-game Baker pin total (314) in the second. In their final achievement, the Trojans set a new program record for total pins in a match with 1,582.

Boys wrestling

Lynden attended the 30-team King/Queen of the Hills tournament at Black Hills High School on Jan. 14, returning home with one first-place finish and three second-place performances.

The Lions’ Christian Velasquez finished first in the 120-pound weight class, pinning Capital’s Trevor Muller in 3:56. 

Kaleb Oostra took second at 126 pounds for Lynden after being pinned by Shelton’s Ty Fleshman in the first-place match. Steven Hollinsworth (138 pounds) fell to Capital’s Patrick Halpin by 6-0 decision in his first-place match, and John Johnston was pinned by Bellarmine Prep’s Soren Ogden in 1:49 in the 195-pound title match.

Squalicum’s Jonah Papetti took first at 113 pounds in the 16-team Marysville-Pilchuck Premier Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 14, beating Stanwood’s Soren Andersen by 18-8 major decision.

Girls wrestling

Blaine hosted Mount Baker, Meridian, Ferndale, Bellingham United and 14 other schools for the Borderite Blizzard tournament on Jan. 14. 

Bellingham and Blaine each tallied two first-place finishes, while Mount Baker and Ferndale each picked up one.

Blaine’s Genesis Vazquez pinned Mariner’s Carolina Barajas in 1:25 for the 125-pound title. The Borderites earned their second first-place finish when Milania Rodriguez (135 pounds) pinned Stanwood’s Mariah Fulgenzi in 4:34.

Bellingham got strong performances from its top two wrestlers, Frances Porteous and Isabella Phillips. Porteous took first in the 155-pound weight class following a pin over Mount Baker’s Sydney VanBrocklin in 1:52. Phillips pinned Mount Vernon’s Shecid Garcia-Quiroz in 2:28 to take first in the 190-pound weight class.

Ferndale’s Malia Welch was a bright spot for the Golden Eagles, quickly pinning Sedro-Woolley’s Trinity Covert in 1:17 to finish first at 120 pounds.

Mount Baker was led by Tempest Heiner, who captured first in the 105-pound weight class following a pin of Burlington-Edison’s Lilia Ortiz in 3:17.


Men’s basketball

Western split its two games in Alaska and is now 10-7 overall and 3-4 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests.

The Vikings began their annual trip up north with a 79-74 win over the University of Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 12. Redshirt freshman forward BJ Kolly continued his solid stretch of games, leading Western with 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting, five rebounds and four blocks.

Junior guard D’Angelo Minnis tallied 13 points, four assists and three steals, while junior forward Darius Gary totaled 10 points. 

Western lost a heartbreaker on Jan. 14, wrapping up its road trip with a 75-73 loss to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Vikings led 36-35 at halftime before permanently relinquishing their advantage in the first three minutes of the second half.

Sophomore guard Kai Johnson led Western with 18 points on 6-for-13 shooting, adding four rebounds, three assists and five steals. Minnis (14 points), Kolly (12 points) and Gary (10 points) rounded out the Vikings’ double-digit scorers. Kolly also tallied nine rebounds, two assists, five blocks and a steal.

Despite their recent struggles, particularly in losing four of the last five games, the Vikings should be excited about Kolly’s recent production. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 assists over his last four games.

Women’s basketball

photo  Western Washington University’s Truitt Reilly blocks a shot by Western Oregon University’s Amber Winkler on Jan. 14. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

It’s now 13-straight wins for the Vikings after nabbing another pair of victories last week.

Western defeated Saint Martin’s University 81-65 on Jan. 12 before clobbering Western Oregon University 67-47 on Jan. 14.

Redshirt freshman guard Mason Oberg led the way offensively for Western in the win over Western Oregon, tallying 22 points, three rebounds and two steals. 

Junior forward Brooke Walling did what she’s done all year, finishing with a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double while adding five assists, four blocks and a steal. Walling now has seven double-doubles on the season.

Senior guard Avery Dykstra finished with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists to round out Western’s notable performances.

Track and field

Western attended the UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 14 at the Dempsey Indoor athletic complex on the University of Washington campus, its second meet of the indoor season.

The men’s and women’s teams posted 15 combined top-10 marks in school history, with five coming from 8,000-meter runners.

In the women’s race, junior Marian Ledesma placed 12th out of 33 total runners with her time of 2:14.40 to stay ranked second in Western history. Sophomore Sophie Wright set a new personal record in the 8,000-meter with a time of 2:18.14, ranking eighth all-time.

Sophomore Will Henry led the Vikings in the men’s 8,000-meter race, finishing fourth out of 15 runners in 1:52.08 and ranking third in the all-time Western ranks. Freshmen Jonah Bloom (1:53.82) and Connor Palmen (1:54.19) rank sixth and seventh, respectively, all-time.

Western sophomore Tyrone Woodard posted a 60-meter dash time of 6.96 seconds, ranking third in the school’s indoor record books.

Next up for the Vikings will be the UW Invitational on Jan. 27-28. Full results from the Jan. 14 meet can be found on the WWU Athletics Department website.

Basketball standings — Jan. 17

Boys basketball, Northwest Conference

Boys basketballLeagueOverall
Lynden Christian8-114-1
Mount Vernon5-39-4
Nooksack Valley4-57-6
Oak Harbor3-65-8
Mount Baker0-92-10

Girls basketball, Northwest Conference

Girls basketballLeagueOverall
Nooksack Valley9-014-1
Lynden Christian8-113-2
Oak Harbor4-57-6
Mount Vernon2-63-10
Mount Baker1-94-10

*Standings were updated on Jan. 17 at 9:18 a.m. to reflect the outcome of the Jan. 16 games.

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