The two Whatcom County teams that made it to their respective state basketball championship games last season each have a major obstacle to overcome just to reach the Yakima SunDome this year.
The defending Class 2A runner-up Lynden boys’ basketball team and defending Class 1A state champion Lynden Christian girls’ basketball teams learned on Sunday, Feb. 22, that they will have to beat an opponent ranked in the top two in their respective classifications in the single-elimination regional round of the state tournaments this weekend. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released pairings for the regional round, and the weekend will feature a pair of top-three showdowns involving those local teams.
Lynden, which ended the season ranked No. 3 in 2A, will take on top-ranked Mark Morris at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Mount Vernon High School, while Lynden Christian, which ended the season tied for third in the 1A rankings, will face No. 2 Montesano at 6 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater High School.
Those two games will highlight a list of 10 regional showdowns involving Whatcom County teams next weekend.
The Lynden girls will start an all-Lions doubleheader with the Lynden boys, when they play Black Hills at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mount Vernon. Lynden Christian also will play a doubleheader on Saturday, as the LC boys will play La Center at 4 p.m. at Tumwater.
Sehome will get the weekend started with a Class 2A doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 27, at Renton High School, as the girls will play Sammamish at 6 p.m., and the boys will follow at 8 p.m. in their regional against Washington. Lummi will stay close to home, as it will face Mount Rainier Lutheran at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Mount Vernon. The Squalicum boys and Blaine girls will play back-to-back 2A regionals against White River on Saturday at Puyallup High School, as the Storm will play at noon and the Borderites will follow at 2 p.m. The Nooksack Valley girls will earn the most mileage, as they will travel to Yakima Eisenhower to face Granger in a 1A regional at noon Saturday.
The Lynden boys’ 52-45 overtime loss to Anacortes in the title game of the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament on Friday, Feb. 20, landed the Lions in the showdown with Mark Morris (21-2) in the regional round. The Monarchs make their fourth-straight trip to the state tournament as the No. 2 seed out of District 4 following a 57-54 loss to Tumwater in their district title game on Friday. Lynden is making its fourth straight state appearance.
The Squalicum boys, meanwhile appear to have a little bit better regional draw, at least on paper. The Storm (17-7), which enter as the No. 3 seed out of the Northwest District following a 61-59 victory over Sehome on Friday in the third-place game, will face District 2/3 No. 3 seed White River (11-13). The Hornets head to their fourth-straight state tournament fresh off a 68-61 win over Fife on Saturday, Feb. 21, in their district’s third-place game. Squalicum is making its first trip to state in three seasons.
The Sehome boys will try to bounce back from a week that saw them play three district games against Northwest Conference foes in five days decided by a total of seven points, when the Mariners (17-8) play District 2/3 No. 2 seed Washington (18-6). The Patriots are making their first trip to state since 2000 and come in off a 67-65 loss to River Ridge in their district title game on Saturday. Sehome, which enters as the Northwest District’s No. 4 seed, is making its second-straight trip to the regional round, but is hoping for a different outcome than last year’s 55-44 loss to Mark Morris.
The sixth-ranked Lynden Christian boys’ earned its fourth trip to state in six years by beating Mount Baker 66-56 in the third-place game of the Class 1A District 1/2 Tournament on Saturday. The reward for the Lyncs (15-8) is a game against District 4 No. 2 seed La Center (14-8), which was ranked No. 8 in the final poll. The Wildcats, who are making their second state appearance in three years, lost their district title game 45-28 to Castle Rock on Friday.
The top-ranked Lummi boys will face a familiar foe in Mount Rainier Lutheran. The Blackhawks (24-0) doubled up the Hawks (17-8) 64-32 in the first round of the District 1/2/3 Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Lummi, which returns to state after a two-year absence, went on to win the tri-district title with a 58-56 win over Neah Bay on Saturday, while Mount Rainier Lutheran, which also returns to state after a two-year absence, beat Tulalip Heritage 77-71 in overtime in the tri-district fifth-place game.
On the girls’ side, seventh Lynden (16-7) claimed the Class 2A Northwest District title on Saturday with its 67-55 victory over Burlington-Edison on Saturday. They’ll face District 4 No. 3 seed Black Hills, which finished just outside the top 10 in 2A. The Wolves (25-13) beat Hockinson 45-43 in their district’s third-place game and are making their second-consecutive trip to regionals. The Lions placed third at state last year and are making their ninth state appearance in 10 years.
Blaine, which moved to .500 (12-12) with its 55-39 win over Sehome in the 2A Northwest District Tournament third-place game on Saturday, makes its fourth straight trip to state after placing fifth in the 1A State Tournament last year. The Borderites will take on District 2/3 No. 3 seed White River, which is ranked No. 3 and is making its seventh-straight trip to state. The Hornets beat Olympic 60-45 in their district’s third-place game.
As the 2A Northwest District’s No. 4 seed, the Sehome girls will face District 2/3 No. 2 seed Sammamish, which is making its first trip to state since 1995. The Totems (12-11) lost to Liberty 54-44 Saturday in their district’s title game. The Mariners (9-15) are making their first appearance at state in three years.
The Lynden Christian girls had to win the 1A Bi-District third-place game to advance to state for the 11th straight year, something the Lyncs (19-4) did in impressive fashion with a 62-55 victory over Mount Baker. Montesano (22-0) is making its first state appearance since 1999, as the Bulldogs earned District 4’s No. 1 seed by beating La Center 63-57 in overtime on Saturday.
Nooksack Valley (17-9) earned its first trip to state since 2010, grabbing the District 1/2 No. 4 seed with a 35-27 win over University Prep on Saturday. The Pioneers will now face District 5 No. 1 seed Granger (21-2), which ended the regular season ranked No. 6 and is making its seventh trip to state in eight years. The Spartans beat Zillah 54-30 on Saturday to claim their district’s title.
WHATCOM COUNTY REGIONAL PAIRINGS: BOYS
|Lynden||2A||Mark Morris||6 p.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Mount Vernon|
|Squalicum||2A||White River||Noon||Saturday, Feb. 28||Puyallup|
|Sehome||2A||Washington||8 p.m.||Friday, Feb. 27||Renton|
|Lynden Christian||1A||La Center||4 p.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Tumwater|
|Lummi||1B||Mt. Rainier Lutheran||10 a.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Mount Vernon|
|Lynden||2A||Black Hills||4 p.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Mount Vernon|
|Blaine||2A||White River||2 p.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Puyallup|
|Sehome||2A||Sammamish||6 p.m.||Friday, Feb. 27||Renton|
|Lynden Christian||1A||Montesano||6 p.m.||Saturday, Feb. 28||Tumwater|
|Nooksack Valley||1A||Granger||Noon||Saturday, Feb. 28||Yakima|