The playoffs are coming ever closer and some teams really solidified their position this week. Squalicum picked up a pair of wins to nearly secure a spot, Lynden Christian took the outright lead of the Northwest Conference with an epic win over Lynden and Nooksack Valley upset Burlington-Edison. After all the craziness, here’s this week’s power rankings to try to straighten things out.
1. Ferndale (14-1, 6-1 NWC) - That loss to Anacortes on Dec. 16 is starting to look worse and worse. Still, the Golden Eagles are riding an eight-game win streak and all of those wins have been by double digits. Circle Feb. 3 on your calendars, because Lynden Christian-Ferndale will decide the title. Last week: 1.
2. Lynden Christian (13-3, 8-0 NWC) - Wow, what a resilient effort from the Lyncs. Trailing by eight in the fourth quarter, the Lyncs rattled off 17 points in the final six minutes to get the inside edge for the conference crown. There’s still some concern about this offense being able to score, especially since Kara Bajema is struggling with her shot the past few games, but this team knows how to win. Last week: 2.
3. Lynden (10-5, 6-1 NWC) - Aside from about six minutes against Lynden Christian, the Lions controlled the game. Elisa Kooiman is a great talent driving the lane and Kaitlyn Mark hit one of the craziest 3-pointers I’ve seen in high school girls’ basketball (a stepback 23-footer). This team has the stars, but the youth got to them late against Lynden Christian. Last week: 4.
4. Burlington-Edison (11-3, 4-2 NWC) - A bad loss to Nooksack Valley can be shaken off but it shows the rest of the league that Tyra Lopez and Edie Breckenridge can be stopped. The Tigers play Meridian and Lynden next and we’ll see if they can respond. Last week: 3.
5. Blaine (5-9, 5-2 NWC) - Taylor V’Dovec scored 10 points in her return but it was her opening up opportunities for other players that was the biggest takeaway. Mandy Hayes and Kiana Gray each scored in double digits in V’Dovec’s first game back. Blaine is clicking right now. The last four games for the Borderites, though, are Ferndale, Lynden Christian, Meridian and Nooksack Valley. Talk about a gauntlet. Last week: 6.
6. Meridian (9-6, 4-3 NWC) - With Ryley Zapien out due to injury, the Trojans are struggling. They’ve been blown out by Lynden Christian and Ferndale in the past two. The good news is those are the two toughest teams in the league. Burlington-Edison is next on Friday but after that it gets a bit easier. Last week: 5.
7. Nooksack Valley (10-4, 3-3 NWC) - Talk about an up and down week. A loss to Squalicum followed by a win over Burlington-Edison. The Pioneers are in a good spot to make the playoffs but Mount Baker on Friday is a big game. Last week: 8.
8. Squalicum (8-7, 3-4 NWC) - Two straight wins for the Storm puts Squalicum in great position to make the playoffs. Chalae Wolters is the reason why. Twenty-one and 28 points in the past two. That’s some pretty spectacular play from a freshman. Last week: 9.
9. Mount Baker (8-6, 2-4 NWC) - This losing streak has to stop somehwere. A win against Nooksack Valley on Friday would be a great time to do it but with Anacortes, Bellingham, and Squalicum left on the table, the Mountaineers are far from out of it. Last week: 7.
10. Anacortes (8-8, 2-6 NWC) - Limiting Kara Bajema to just two points is a great sign for the Seahawks, but allowing 28 to Chalae Wolters a game later erases the first memory. All four games left for Anacortes are winnable, so this team could end up 6-6 in conference. Last week: 10.
11. Sehome (4-10, 1-5 NWC) - A win is a win and a narrow victory over Sedro-Woolley keeps the Mariners in the playoff race and ends a four-game losing streak. The Mariners can still sneak in. There’s plenty of games left for them. Last week: 11.
12. Bellingham (3-11, 0-6 NWC) - Conference play has been unkind to the Red Raiders and their chance of the playoffs are getting slimmer. Monday pits Bellingham against Sedro-Woolley and a win would be a huge confidence boost heading into the last four games. Last week: 12.
13. Sedro-Woolley (1-14, 0-7) - To come so close to breaking such a long losing streak has to be heartbreaking but the Cubs need to get back on the horse because Bellingham on Monday is a very winnable game and ending a 14-game losing streak would be nice for the Cubs. Last week: 13.