1. Lynden Christian (1-0): The Lyncs’ worst finish at the Hardwood Classic the past seven years was fourth place. LC’s only losses from last year’s team are Karley De Jager, Courtney Hollander and Sally Vlas. There’s still plenty of talent here to win a second straight state title.
2. Ferndale (2-0): Sure, Ferndale lost valuable players in Hannah Carlson, Taryn Knutson and Brooke Benson, but Abby Reid, Linsey Honeycutt, Shelby Slaughter and Carly Bannerman are plenty capable of replacing the strong trio.
3. Burlington-Edison (0-1): The Tigers lost only one senior from last year’s run to the regional round of state. They opened the season with a loss to Ferndale but it was competitive.
4. Lynden (0-0): The Lions battled to a third-place finish at the Hardwood Classic last season but lose star Stephanie Somers. No worries, Elisa Kooiman showed how talented she is during last year’s playoffs with a 24-point performance in the quarterfinals and she’s only a sophomore.
5. Blaine (0-1): The Borderites are coming off the best season in school history and return a strong cast of seniors in Breanna Chau, Mandy Hayes and Taylor V’Dovec. The biggest challenge for Blaine will be to survive while V’Dovec sits with a broken toe for the first month.
7. Nooksack Valley (2-0): The Pioneers can score from anywhere on the court. Arlissa Oettel can drain the 3-ball, Mariah Perry is a very good point guard and Brianna Turner and Emilia Gimmaka can play the post. Nooksack’s season-opening win over Blaine shows this team is here to play.
6. Mount Baker (1-1): The Mountaineers might be the most exciting team to watch so far this season. They’re an up-tempo squad that can put up a lot of points — averaging 67 this year — and both games the first week went into overtimes.
8. Anacortes (1-1): The Seahawks were strong defensively last season, only allowing 39.3 points per game. They showed that again in a season-opening loss to LC, holding the state-champion Lyncs to just 43 points.
9. Squalicum (1-1): Last season, the Storm started strong before fading down the stretch, so maybe a season-opening 50-42 win over Bellingham isn’t a great indicator of how Squalicum will perform this season. But Squalicum got a well-rounded performance with four players scoring at least nine points and balance is always good.
10. Meridian (0-1): The Trojans certainly pushed Mount Baker to its limit in the season-opener, but the Trojans are awfully young. They only have two upperclassmen. Coach Mark Gilmore hinted that maybe an injection of confidence from the success many players had with the soccer team will push this team along this year.
11. Sedro-Woolley (1-0): The Cubs were right with Sehome as the worst team in the league last year and showed they were just barely better than the Mariners this season with a 52-51 win in the opener.
12. Sehome (1-1): Put last season in the rear-view mirror. That’s what Sehome needs to do. The Mariners have some talent in Maddy Bryan and Devin Grahn to pair with a good post in Madison MacPhee. This team might surprise a few teams this season, as it did to Bellingham in a 48-36 win.
13. Bellingham (0-2): A whopping eight seniors are missing from last year’s 13-12 team. It’s definitely a rebuilding year for Ed Wissing’s squad but the Red Raiders still have Joelle Zamora to lean on and that’s going to keep them competitive. Unfortunately the Red Raiders picked up two early season losses to the Cubs and Mariners.