Versatile senior wing/post Rachel Albert entered this season as the Mariners' only returning starter. Despite the lack of experience around her, the talented three-sport athlete led Sehome to within one game of earning a Class 2A State Tournament berth.
Albert helped make players around her better, showed her high-energy play every game and displayed her ability to fill up a stat sheet.
She has been rewarded by earning the distinction of girls' basketball All-Northwest Conference Most Valuable Player. The All-NWC team was released Wednesday, March 6, and is voted on by NWC coaches.
Albert averaged 13.1 points per game, which ranks fourth among NWC scoring leaders. She scored a season-high 29 points in an epic come-from-behind district tournament overtime win against Lynden to prolong Sehome's season one more game. Albert surpassed the 20-point scoring mark three times.
Albert won defensive MVP honors during the fall soccer season for her work in goal.
Ferndale coach Mike Ivy, who led the Golden Eagles to an undefeated conference slate, a 19-4 record and a NWC title, was selected Coach of the Year.
First-team selections were Burlington-Edison's Mariah Swanson (15.0 points per game), Ferndale's Linsey Honeycutt (13.0), Blaine's Taylor V'Dovec (12.6), Lynden's Stephanie Somers (11.8), Nooksack Valley's Melissa Stadt (13.5) and Lynden Christian's Courtney Hollander (9.4) and Kayla Tiemersma (10.1).
Second-team choices were Ferndale's Taylor Reid (6.4), Blaine's Mandy Hayes (12.1), Mount Baker's Emily Yost (13.4), Burlington-Edison's Sydney Brown (10.2), Lynden Christian's Makayla Lancaster (4.2), Lynden's Kelsey Bouwman (10.3) and Anacortes' Melanie Martin (10.4)
Lynden Christian, which was the only Whatcom County girls' basketball team to advance to the Hardwood Classic, where they placed fourth, had the most All-NWC selections with three.
All-NORTHWEST CONFERENCE GIRLS' BASKETBALL
MVP: Rachel Albert, Sehome
Coach of the Year: Mike Ivy, Ferndale
First team: Mariah Swanson, Burlington-Edison; Linsey Honeycutt, Ferndale; Taylor V'Dovec, Blaine; Stephanie Somers, Lynden; Melissa Stadt, Nooksack Valley; Kayla Tiemersma, Lynden Christian; Courtney Hollander, Lynden Christian.
Second team: Taylor Reid, Ferndale; Mandy Hayes, Blaine; Emily Yost, Mount Baker; Sydney Brown, Burlington-Edison; Makayla Lancaster, Lynden Christian; Kelsey Bouwman, Lynden; Melanie Martin, Anacortes.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.