Now that Northwest Conference play has resumed, things get much easier when looking at who the top teams in the conference are. Several big games happened early this week, most notably Lynden-Anacortes, Blaine-Mount Baker and Ferndale-Nooksack Valley. Lynden showed how good it is, Blaine proved not to count it out and Ferndale demonstrated their superiority. Friday’s Squalicum-Bellingham and Lynden-Meridian games will also provide valuable information regarding who’s destined for the playoffs and who’s not. Here is this week’s power rankings:
1. Ferndale (11-1; Last week’s ranking: 2) - Ferndale picked up wins over Nooksack Valley and Squalicum this week and at 11-1 hold the best record in the conference. I think the Golden Eagles deserve to be ranked in the top 10 3A teams, but fell just a vote short.
2. Lynden Christian (8-3; Last week’s ranking: 1) - Three losses in a span of two weeks is tough for any team but the Lyncs know it was a stretch that will help prepare them for the postseason. Plus, the Lyncs still stand at 3-0 in conference and there’s only a few teams that can defeat them.
3. Burlington-Edison (10-1; Last week’s ranking: 3) - The Tigers will get their crack at LC on Tuesday and that will be quite a game. Burlington-Edison has plenty of weapons to score with and will be dangerous all season.
4. Lynden (6-4; Last week’s ranking: 7) - What a statement against Anacortes. The Lions faced some stiff competition through the early season but have the talent to compete with anyone. Friday’s contest with Meridian will be the highlight of the weekend.
5. Nooksack Valley (8-3; Last week’s ranking: 6) - The trick for the Pioneers will be to set aside the 1-2 conference record. Lynden and Ferndale are tough teams to beat. Both those games were competitive and the Pioneers have some not as strong competition coming up next week with Sedro-Woolley and Squalicum.
6. Anacortes (7-5; Last week’s ranking: 4) - Shake that blowout to Lynden off and blame it on the more than two-week break. The Seahawks responded with a low-scoring loss to Burlington-Edison and this team should be fine.
7. Mount Baker (8-3; Last week’s ranking: 5) - The Mountaineers’ loss to Blaine is a tough one but Ferndale lies in wait on Monday and Brenda Ellis’ squad has to be prepared.
8. Meridian (8-3; Last week’s ranking: 8) - The Trojans are 3-0 in conference. Two of those were wins against Sehome and Bellingham, but they also beat Anacortes. This team is for real this season.
9. Blaine (3-8; Last week’s ranking: 11) - Winners of two straight. The Baker win was real impressive as Mandy Hayes and Breanna Chau stepped up. The Borderites are 3-1 in conference and have Taylor V’Dovec returning in the next couple of weeks. Watch out Northwest Conference.
10. Squalicum (5-6; Last week’s ranking: 9) - The Storm had a tough loss to Ferndale but still sit in playoff position despite an 0-3 conference record. A win against Bellingham Friday would be a big help for the Storm.
11. Sehome (3-8; Last week’s ranking: 11) - The Mariners just continue to impress me. They played Meridian to a four-point game and with Lynden Chrisitan on Friday, hopefully that confidence boost can carry through what will likely be a tough defeat.
12. Bellingham (3-8; Last week’s ranking: 12) - Squalicum awaits the Red Raiders Friday and that will be a huge game when it comes to playoff positioning. If Ed Wissing’s squad wants to make the postseason, they need a win.
13. Sedro-Woolley (1-11; Last week’s ranking: 13) - After a season-opening win over Sehome, the Cubs haven’t won since. Their fortunes will likely continue that way next week against Nooksack Valley and Lynden.