High School Basketball

Nooksack Valley girls avoid elimination with win at home

Fourth-year starting guard Mariah Perry reminded Nooksack Valley’s girls they needed to play their typically unselfish game.

How did Perry do it? Try six assists in one quarter.

That jump-started the Pioneers after a shaky start and they played outstanding team ball the rest of the way to run past Forest Ridge 64-40 in the loser-out opening round of the Class 1A Bi-District Tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Nooksack (16-9), which improved its postseason record to 4-1, will face University Prep on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School in another loser-out game for the right to play in the state regional round the weekend of Feb. 27-28.

Perry finished with the first double-double she could remember, 10 assists and 10 points, including six assists as the Pioneers played superb team ball to produce a 23-7 run in the first six minutes of the second quarter for a 37-18 advantage.

“I had a lot of faith in this group coming into the season,” said Perry, who was the only returning senior starter. “We worked out a lot at a local park and I’ve never such a close group to play with.”

Early in what was a struggle at first, Perry reminded the team why they’ve overcome inexperience.

“I thought we felt we played a little selfish early, but we fixed that,” she said.

And how hard did Perry play? With a 58-32 lead shortly before she came out, she still made a remarkable sliding steal, coming up with the ball and perhaps a floor burn or two.

Junior guard Arlissa Oettel had 10 points and eight rebounds to lead Nooksack’s 40-24 board advantage. She said the girls did not want to let coach Shane Wichers down when they fell behind 7-2 in the opening moments and already had seven fouls less than six minutes into the game.

“He expects a lot of us,” Oettel said.

Wichers said it took a few minutes to break the surprising pressing tactics of Forest Ridge (11-10), a very quick Bellevue team in the Emerald City League.

“We were trying to force some things and we missed a lot of layups,” he said. “But we got better as the game went on. It just took a while to get into a rhythm. We can play a lot better than we did tonight.”

Brianna Turner, a 6-1 junior post who has been fighting a rib injury, also provided a huge spark off the bench. She made her first four shots, beginning late in the first quarter, and finished with 5 for 6 shooting for 10 points as the Pioneers took a blistering 23 shots in the second quarter and made 9, thanks in part to Perry’s pinpoint passing.

“They really play together,” said an impressed Forest Ridge coach Deiondra Peeler of Nooksack. “They’re well trained and well coached.”

After a 1 for 4 shooting start, Nooksack junior Emilia Gimmaka hit 7 of her next 10 shots and finished with a game-high 16 points. Senior post Lacey Johnson finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds off the bench and starters Payton Linville and freshman Katrina Gimmaka also contributed big steals and rebounds.

One of the high spots of Nooksack’s rousing second quarter occurred when Linville, a senior, took a charge two minutes into the second quarter, at the point Nooksack led only 18-14. Seconds later, Linville hit a 3-pointer as though the charge was not enough inspiration for her younger teammates.

The 5-foot-7 Oettel was especially pleased with how unselfish the Pioneers emerged from their slow start.

“My teammates did a great of finding me with the ball,” said Oettel, one of the best — and hardest-driving — shorter rebounders in the Northwest Conference. ‘We began to get our groove going once we began to pass so well.”

In the middle two quarters, all of the top seven scorers for Nooksack had several baskets, assists, rebounds and steals. Perry finished with four steals to lead the Pioneers’ team total of 10.

Sonali Pai, a quick junior guard, led Forest Ridge with 15 points including three 3-pointers.


Forest Ridge

111199—40Nooksack Valley14231413—64

Forest Ridge: Sonali Pai 15, Karsyn Wallace 7, Rayme Quiban 2, Alexa Tonel 5, Cynthia Hsu 9, Hannah Meier 2, Dallas Haynes 0, Hanae Uyeda 0. Totals: 11-44 14-24 40.

Nooksack Valley: Emilia Gimmaka 16, Mariah Perry 10, Arlissa Oettel 10, Brianna Turner 10, Payton Linville 3, Katrina Gimmaka 3, Lacey Johnson 8, Oliva Berkan 2, Cassidy Zylstra 2, Maddi Myhre 0, Rachel Sande 0, Nicole Vanderheiden 0. Totals 27-60 8-12 64.

3-point field goals — Forest Ridge 4 (Pai 3); Nooksack Valley 2 (Linville, Perry). Rebounds: Nooksack Valley 40 (Johnson 9); Forest Ridge 24 (Hsu 7). Assists: Nooksack Valley 16 (Perry 10); Forest Ridge 4 (Hsu 2). Fouls: Forest Ridge 17 (Haynes fouled out); Nooksack Valley 21.















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