High School Sports

Nooksack faces tough test with La Center in 1A girls’ regional

Nooksack Valley’s Brianna Turner throws a pass around Blaine’s Mandy Hayes as Blaine beat Nooksack Valley during the first round of the 2014 1A Northwest District Girls’ Basketball Tournament.
Nooksack Valley’s Brianna Turner throws a pass around Blaine’s Mandy Hayes as Blaine beat Nooksack Valley during the first round of the 2014 1A Northwest District Girls’ Basketball Tournament. The Bellingham Herald

Nooksack Valley vs. La Center

4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Battle Ground High School

Nooksack Valley Pioneers (18-9)

Enrollment: 339.0

League: Northwest Conference (seventh)

District: Northwest/SeaKing (fourth)

State appearances: 22 (34-34)

State titles: None

Coach: Shane Wichers

Leading scorers

Player

Pos.

Yr.

Ht.

PPG

Katrina Gimmaka

P

So.

5-11

10.0

Arlissa Oettel

G

Sr.

5-7

8.2

Brianna Turner

P

Sr.

6-1

7.3

Emilia Gimmaka

P

Sr.

5-7

5.7

Oliva Berkan

G

Sr.

5-7

5.2

Scouting the Pioneers: Nooksack Valley has won four straight since falling to Lynden Christian in the Northwest District semifinals on Feb. 9. The Pioneers have won with both offense, as they did in a bi-district win over Forest Ridge, and defense, as they did in a 41-18 victory over University Prep to advance to the regional round for a second straight year.

Key to the game: Defense. The Pioneers pitched a shutout in the first quarter against University Prep and need more of it against the Wildcats.

Player to watch: Turner is heading to Corban University to play next year and is a big part of everything the Pioneers do.

La Center Wildcats (21-2)

Enrollment: 384.0

League: Trioco (first)

District: Southwest (first)

State appearances: 11 (11-22)

State titles: None

Coach: Herm VanWeerdhuizen

Leading scorers

Player

Pos.

Yr.

Ht.

PPG

Taylor Mills

P

So.

6-1

14.4

Taylor Stephens

G

Sr.

5-4

13.9

Andrea Griffee

G

Sr.

5-4

10.3

Molly Edwards

G

So.

5-6

8.1

Shelby Vermeulen

P

Sr.

6-0

5.5

Scouting the Wildcats: After holding Eatonville and Montesano to less than 40 points per game in the first two rounds of the district tournament, No. 7 La Center out-slugged Kalama 56-53 to win the district crown.

Key to the game: Bench play. The Wildcats got key contributions from their bench in the win over Kalama, as VanWeerdhuizen doesn’t hesitate to go eight or nine deep.

Player to watch: There’s plenty of talent up and down the Wildcats’ roster. Mills and Stephens were both all-league selections, while Griffee was a second-team pick.

0227 Nooksack GBB online

Herald prediction

Don’t count out the Pioneers, who’ve won three loser-out games so far. But the long trip and a strong opponent may be too much to overcome.

LA CENTER 56-51

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