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Sports Blog: Ranking the top 1-2 punches in NWC girls’ basketball

The best teams in the league seem to have not just one standout player, but two. Whether it’s a star and a sidekick or the two share the lion’s share of scoring equally, a talented duo is key to a strong offense. Here are how I rank the best 1-2 offensive combos in the Northwest Conference.

1. Ferndale’s Linsey Honeycutt (21 points per game) and Abby Reid (11.5 points per game) - This is easily the best star-and-sidekick combination. The key to this duo is they work so well together on the inside-out game. Honeycutt is the most dominant post in the league and Reid could be the best point guard in the league. Reid has also scored in double digits 11 of the 15 games and for a point to do that is mighty impressive. Certainly, the Golden Eagles combo isn’t the top scoring duo in the league, but no other Golden Eagle is averaging more than six points per game. Still, Ferndale sits at 13-1. That’s why Honeycutt and Reid get the top spot.

2. Lynden’s Elisa Kooiman (15.9 points per game) and Kaitlyn Mark (14.9 points per game) - Likely the most exciting duo to watch. Kooiman has some of the best post moves I’ve seen in my short time covering high school girls’ basketball. She can truly take over a game. Mark, on the other hand, gets a lot of effort points. Still, at more than 30 points per game, this duo is the second-highest scoring in the league and is guiding Lynden to a currently undefeated NWC record. Mark and Kooiman present a lot of mismatches with their athleticism and few teams can keep this combo out of double digits. Only twice in 13 games has one of the two been held in single digits.

3. Mount Baker’s Emily Yost (20.7 points per game) and Emily Brandland (15.2 points per game) - So much size between these two. Both stand at 5-foot-11 and have a ton of talent to go along with it. Not only can they rebound well but they can dribble, pass, shoot and drive the lane. The combo definitely benefited from a preseason schedule that had the Mountaineers playing some smaller teams, but on any given night either one of these two could put up 20 points and that’s a great thing to have on your team.

4. Burlington-Edison’s Tyra Lopez (14.9 points per game) and Edie Breckenridge (14.4 points per game) - Make no mistake, Breckenridge is the heart of the Tigers. She is the reason the Tigers can play a high-press defense and with how fast she is (even Baker’s Brandland said she was the “fastest person I’ve ever met) she can force turnovers and get easy layups. Lopez is the scorer though. Her shot is fantastic and can hit it from anywhere on the court and with pressure in her face. Lopez’ 21-point effort against Mount Baker shows her fantastic touch in finding the basket. With the two very quick guards, the Tigers are among the top teams in the conference.

5. Lynden Christian’s Kara Bajema (14.4 points per game) and Sara Dougan (10.7 points per game) - I’ve never seen two bigs that can pass as well as Bajema and Dougan. Against Burlington-Edison, the post combo constantly found each other for buckets. Their height — both stand above 6-foot — allows them to see passing lanes. When Bajema’s shot is on, this duo is deadly. When it’s off, Bajema is more than comfortable driving the lane and Dougan showed she’s capable of taking over games with her 16-point effort in a win against Anacortes. This isn’t the highest-scoring duo but it’s certainly capable of it. The Lyncs play in a very slow-paced offense. Stick Bajema and Dougan in an offense like Meridian or Mount Baker and they both could average above 15.

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