Though most teams have played only four Northwest Conference games so far this season, teams reached the halfway point in the regular season last week.
Through the first month, Lynden Christian, Burlington-Edison and Lynden have shown they all could vie for the conference championship this year, and all three should set themselves up to make deep runs in February and March.
1. Lynden Christian (previous rank: 2): Despite ending holiday break with a loss to 4A Snohomish, Lyncs still a unanimous choice as No. 1 in the Class 1A poll last week.
2. Burlington-Edison (previous rank: 1): Time to find out who’s really the best — and probably who will win the NWC crown — when the top-ranked (in 2A) Tigers travel to LC on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
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3. Lynden (previous rank: 3): Lions’ win over traditional power W.F. West was impressive, and they got some revenge against the only team that has beaten them so far this season on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
4. Mount Baker (previous rank: 10): Moutaineers have gotten off to a 10-1 start, but things are going to get a whole lot tougher, with Ferndale, Burlington, Lynden and Nooksack the next two weeks.
5. Ferndale (previous rank: 5): Young Golden Eagles have won three of first four in NWC play, and two of those wins came against Anacortes and Nooksack Valley.
6. Nooksack Valley (previous rank: 4): Pioneers’ two early NWC losses came against Lynden and Ferndale, so expect the Nooksack to bounce back nicely this week.
7. Anacortes (previous rank: 9): Seahawks are capable of beating some pretty good teams, as they topped Lynden in non-league play and Meridian in its NWC opener.
8. Meridian (previous rank: 7): Trojans stumbled a little bit with a loss at Sehome on Wednesday, Jan. 6, but Ryley Zapien is capable of helping this team go deep in the 1A playoffs.
9. Sedro-Woolley (previous rank: 13): Cubs should not be overlooked this year, as they already have an NWC win over Ferndale and pushed Mount Baker in December.
10. Sehome (previous rank: 8): Before facing Lynden Christian on Friday, Jan. 8, the Mariners had back-to-back wins over Cascade Christian and NWC foe Meridian.
11. Blaine (previous rank: 12): Borderites’ lone conference win came over Squalicum in the opener, but they played Mount Baker and Sedro-Woolley tight in NWC matchups last week.
12. Squalicum (previous rank: 6): Storm lost by 40 points to Lynden Christian and 11 to Ferndale, but Josie Andert and Chalae Wolters give team a tough 1-2 scoring punch.
13. Bellingham (previous rank: 13): Red Raiders got off to a rough, but picked up non-conference wins over Marysville-Pilchuck and Neah Bay in December.