State berths, key late-season contests close out January
January 30, 2023 at 5:35 p.m.
Two girls bowlers are off to state tournaments. Prep basketball teams endured rigorous stretches of their league schedules.
Western Washington University women's basketball got back on track, while the men's squad is searching for answers. Indoor track and field athletes set two new school records.
Don’t miss these highlights from Whatcom County’s prep and college sports teams over the past week.
Meridian’s Emma Hill and Ferndale’s Haylee Ochoa are headed to state for the second consecutive season.
Hill set a new personal best four-game pin total, averaging 148 per game at the 1A/2A/3A District 1 tournament. She also posted a new single-game best in game four, racking up a 176.
Ochoa, a sophomore, finished 71st at the 3A state tournament a year ago as a freshman, posting a 473-pin total with a high of 132 in game four. Hill took 43rd at last year’s 1A tournament as a junior, tallying a 523-pin total with a high of 144 in game two.
Both bowlers will be looking to improve on last year’s finishes, and the state tournaments will be Feb. 1–4 at Bowlero in Tukwila, King County.
With Sehome’s win over Lynden on Jan. 27, there remains a jam at the top of the Northwest Conference standings, especially among 2A teams.
If Lynden wins its last two games of the regular season and Anacortes wins all three of its matchups, there will again be a tie for the league lead. Unfortunately for the Lions, one of their final two games includes a date with an old friend: Lynden Christian.
Those games are always a tossup, no matter how talented either team is, and a win for LC would also put them in contention for a share of the league title.
Nothing will be certain until that game is played on Saturday, Feb. 4. Lynden does have the advantage of having bested Anacortes, so if push comes to shove and all are tied, the Lions should get the top 2A District 1 seed.
Blaine has lost three-consecutive games, which has wiped away its chances at a share of the league crown. The Borderites were tasked with facing Mount Vernon, Lynden Christian and Anacortes in five days, none of which went their way. They will still have to face Sehome on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Meridian, Bellingham, Nooksack Valley and Squalicum have all managed to hang around.
The Trojans are 11-7 overall, but all of their losses have come against league opponents. Regardless of its final placement, Meridian has won four of its last five games with two left in the regular season.
Bellingham snapped a four-game skid with its 56-53 win over Meridian on Jan. 25. The Bayhawks went on to beat Mount Baker 72-45 on Jan. 27.
NV has been up and down all year, and the Pioneers lost to Burlington-Edison 76-64 on Jan. 23 before losing a heartbreaker to Mount Vernon, 68-67.
Squalicum had its three-game win streak broken following a 58-54 loss to Lakewood on Jan. 26. The Storm bested Oak Harbor 56-47 just two days prior.
Barring an upset loss to either Anacortes or Sehome this next week, NV has nearly wrapped up the NWC title with its 13-0 league record. LC still has a shot for a share of the top spot if the Pioneers lose either of those games and the Lyncs win out.
LC is back on a tear in January, winning seven straight games heading into the final two regular season games of the season. The Lyncs will have their annual rivalry game with Lynden on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Sehome and Ferndale had their hopes for title contention dashed this week, as the Mariners fell to Lynden on the road and the Golden Eagles lost to LC in their home gym.
Lynden and Sehome will need to keep a close eye on streaking Burlington-Edison when the 2A District 1 tournament begins, as the Tigers have won five of their last six games.
Squalicum is another team that could play spoiler in the postseason. The Storm has found their groove and were winners of five in a row before a 47-33 loss to Burlington-Edison on Jan. 28.
Meridian had its three-game win streak snapped via a 42-30 loss to Oak Harbor on Jan. 27. The Trojans have two league games remaining to try and improve their postseason positioning.
Western got back on track this week, sweeping the competition during its annual road trip to Alaska.
The Vikings beat the University of Alaska Fairbanks 99-62 on Jan. 26, splashing a new single-game program record for made 3-pointers in a game (18). Senior forward Katrina Gimmaka tied her career-high in points with 22, while adding five rebounds and two steals.
Western took down the University of Alaska Anchorage 62-52 on Jan. 28 to complete the sweep. Junior forward Brooke Walling finished with a game-high 17 points along with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.
Senior center Carley Zaragoza posted her third-straight double-digit scoring effort, adding 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.
The Vikings remain at the top of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings at 16-2 overall and 10-1 in league games.
They will return home for a 7 p.m. game against Northwest Nazarene (9-10, 5-6 GNAC) Thursday, Feb. 2, following a stretch of four-consecutive road games the past two weeks.
Following Western’s narrow loss to Saint Martin’s on Jan. 26, the Vikings dropped another close one to Western Oregon, 72-70, at home on Jan. 28.
Senior guard Daniel Hornbuckle and junior forward Jonathan Ned each finished with 15 points, while redshirt freshman forward BJ Kolly totaled 10. Kolly added eight rebounds and a block as well.
The Vikings, who began the season 7-1, have lost seven of their last 10 games dating back to Dec. 29. Western sits at seventh in the GNAC standings with its record of 11-10 overall and 4-7 in league contests and will go on the road at Seattle Pacific (13-7, 8-3 GNAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Track and field (indoor)
Western posted two new school records at the two-day UW Invitational meet at Dempsey Indoor on the University of Washington campus from Jan. 27-28.
Junior Katie Potts broke her own Western record with a shotput throw of 12.83 meters/42-1.25 inches, placing eighth among 23 total participants.
The men’s distance medley relay (DMR) team of Will Henry, Brian Le, Jonah Bloom and Drew Weber set a new school record with their time of 9:45.48.
In the women’s DMR, the Vikings’ team of Sophie Wright, Caitlyn Cheney, Mia Crocker and Ila Davis posted the second-fastest time in Western history at 11:47.47.
Full results from the UW Invitational are available on the Western Athletics website.
Basketball standings — Jan. 31
Boys basketball, Northwest Conference
Girls basketball, Northwest Conference
*Standings were updated on Jan. 31 at 9:34 a.m. to reflect the outcome of the Jan. 30 games.