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  • Ted House

Mount Baker Stops Streak While Heavyweights Battle

In the past week, we saw one of those bad-type records come to an end, and we may have discovered a new virus called, “Post Trematic Rivaly Syndrome.”


Mounties Snap Streak


The young Mount Baker Mountaineers squad snapped a 31 game Northwest Conference losing streak on Monday, by notching a 56-50 home win over Sehome.


The last conference win for the Mountaineers was over Squalicum in the final game of the Spring season of 2021.  June 18, to be exact.  They finished that strange year, 8-6.    


And this win was no fluke.  The Mariners had a three-game winning streak going, where they scored 69 and 79 points in their last two games.  But sometimes, that dome in Deming doesn’t fare well for visitors.


The Mountaineers shot out quickly, so to speak, as 3-pointers by junior Braeden Scott and sophomore Carter Hill gave their team a 10-4 lead.  When freshman post Kell Reardon scored at the first quarter buzzer from a pass by Hill, the Mountaineers had an 18-7 lead.


The lead for the Mountaineers grew to 14 points in the middle of the second quarter, before the Mariners cut it to 33-22 at halftime.


The Mariners continued to creep closer through the third quarter.  Sophomore guard Nolan Wright scored the final bucket of the quarter on a steal and a lay in, and the Mariners were within five headed to the fourth quarter.


Sehome senior post, Braddock Duckworth, who scored nine first-half points, got loose for three hoops in transition, and scored on two offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, helping the Mariners gain ground.  They cut the lead to five points with 1:46 left, and to four points with 45 seconds to go.


Mount Baker hung on down the stretch, however.  They hit six-of-eight free throws in the fourth quarter.  Sophomore guard, Jordan Bailey, hit two free throws with 32 seconds left for a six-point lead.  Then, after a Duckworth bucket, Hill hit two more with 17 seconds to go, for the final points of the game.


Duckworth led the Mariners with 23 points.  Sophomore Payton Abitia led the Mountaineers in scoring with 11, all in the first half.  Hill and Reardon scored ten points each.


With only two seniors on their roster, this is a great building block for the Mountaineers.


PTRS


The Mount Vernon Bulldogs looked like March Madness champs in their lopsided win over rival Burlington-Edison last Friday.  They spent a ton of emotion on the Tigers, which may have cost them when they had to travel north for a game at Lynden Christian, on Monday of this week.  The Lyncs dealt the Bulldogs their first conference loss, 72-62.


The Bulldogs offense was out of sync, although they were able to stay close to the Lyncs through the first eight minutes.  MV senior Quinn Swanson demands the focus of opposing defenses.  With the solid defense of Lyncs senior guard, Dawson Bouma, Swanson scored only two points in the first half.


Bouma did an excellent job of keeping Swanson out of the key when the ball was in his hands, making it tough for him to get to the rim.  Instead, Swanson dished to teammates for three assists in the first quarter.  Fellow guard, Michael Johnson, hit three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, scoring 11 points, keeping the Bulldogs within two points at the end of the quarter.


That’s when Bouma really caught fire.


While still defending Swanson, Bouma lit up the Bulldogs with his patented off the dribble, mid-range jumpers, scoring 17 second quarter points, for a total of 25 in first half.  The Lyncs built a 42-27 lead.


The Bulldogs went to a zone defense to start the third quarter, which took the LC guards out of their element for a while.  The Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the half, but that was as close as they would get.


After some empty possessions against the MV zone, the Lyncs found their offensive rhythm once again.  Junior guard Gannon Dykstra operated around the high post area, in the middle of the zone, and distributed passes to the low post and weak side for open shots. 


The Lyncs built the lead to as much as 21 points in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Johnson finished with 27 points for the Bulldogs, while Swanson ended up with 11.  Bouma also scored 27 for the Lyncs, who also got 18 off the bench from freshman Kaden Veldman.  He scored 12 in the second half.  Dykstra added 16 for LC.


Tiger-Hawk Challenge Goes to the Seahawks


PTRS may need more study, because it may have had the reverse effect on the Tigers, who also played again on Monday, as they hosted the Anacortes Seahawks in the annual “Tiger-Hawk Challenge.”


It was the late-starting Seahawks second game of the season.  The Tigers stuck with the Seahawks through just seconds less than three full quarters.  The Seahawks held one-point leads at the end of each of the first two quarters.  Junior guard, and the league’s leading scorer, Davis Fogle, hit a “volleyball line” 3-pointer to close out the third quarter, giving the Seahawks a 58-51 lead.


That led to a big fourth quarter run by the Seahawks to an 83-63 win.


Fogle scored 41 points, with sophomore Micah Dickison tossing in 17.  The Tigers scoring duo of sophomore Logan Heigert and senior Rex Wilson scored 21 and 14 points, respectively.


Skagit County Three-Step


Now, we bring Mount Vernon and Anacortes together, for a Thursday night game in the Seahawks gym.  Despite the Bulldogs loss to the Lyncs, they are still among the NWC title contenders.


The Seahawks schemed their defense to stop Swanson, while the Bulldogs did the same with Fogle.  The Seahawks began with man-man on Swanson with sophomore Brennan Morgenthaler, and also went to a zone defense, with the focus still on keeping Swanson out of the middle.  The Bulldogs used a box-and-one defense with 6-4 junior, Xavier Neyens on Fogle.   


In speaking with Seahawks Coach Brett Senff before the game, he mentioned something that I have always thought:  Basically, in big games like this it’s usually the rest of the group that wins the game.  That guy with the 6-point average who scores 13.  Or that guy off the bench who hits a few 3-pointers.  Senff’s thought was that Swanson and Fogle would cancel each other out, so it would depend on who was up for the battle after that.  Of course, he was right.


Yes, Fogle and Swanson got theirs.  Swanson’s first seven field goals were two-pointers at the rim.  And no matter how you defend Fogle, with whom or how close you are to him, as soon as he reaches the top of his jump-shot, he’s open.


The first half was a rather uneventful 16 minutes.  The Seahawks led 25-21, with Swanson scoring 12 points and Fogle with just seven.


Early in the third quarter, Seahawk junior guard Jake Andrew nailed two threes in a row from the left corner, helping his team to an eventual ten-point lead.  Fogle also began to head up, adding two threes of his own, and ten third quarter points.  The Seahawks led 43-34 at the end of the quarter.


The fourth quarter rolled along the same way, as the Seahawks still held a 50-40 lead with 4:58 left, and an eight-point lead with 3:30 to play.


The Bulldogs cut the lead to six with 2:19 left, then Neyens hit a 3-pointer, to bring the Bulldogs to within 54-51 with 1:50 remaining.


After empty possessions by both teams, Fogle hit a big three with a minute to go, for a 57-51 lead for the Seahawks.  Then Neyens hit another bomb to cut the lead in half, eleven seconds later.


That led to the play of the game.


As Fogle drove the lane through the Bulldog defense, Swanson came to help and blocked Fogle’s lay in attempt.  The Bulldogs took the ball in transition and found junior guard Baron Dorsey in the left corner.  He nailed a 3-pointer that tied the score at 57-57 with 13 seconds left.


After a Seahawks timeout, they worked the ball up the floor and missed on two opportunities for game winners until the buzzer sounded.  The Bulldogs were able to keep Fogle away from the ball in the final seconds.


Dorsey and Neyens each hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs used that momentum in overtime, as they took a 73-68 victory. 


Fogle scored 38 points, with 31 coming after halftime, and 21 coming after three-quarters.  Swanson finished with 31 points, scoring 15 after the third quarter.


Neyens hit four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 16 points.  Dorsey scored 12 points, also on four 3-pointers.  Neyens and Dorsey were the key, as they took home the “Best Supporting Actor” awards.


Ferndale Gets Their First W


The Ferndale Golden Eagles got their first NWC win of the season, a 63-52 victory at Meridian on Monday, under first year Coach Luke DuChesne.


Sophomore Mantaj Singh lit it up for 22 points for the Golden Eagles, with junior Jonah Brillowsky contributing 18 points, and senior guard Bishop Ootsey adding 15. 


The Golden Eagles lost a non-league game at home on Friday to Glacier Peak, but got their second NWC win on Saturday night, with a 59-46 win over Mount Baker.  Ferndale won only one conference game last season.


More From the NWC


The Trojans week got worse as they went to Lynden without four regulars and absorbed an 88-35 loss to the Lions.  Junior Brant Heppner hit from inside and outside, totaling 25 points on the night.  Senior guard Anthony Canales added 13.  Trojan senior guard Talon Burks led the Trojans with 13.


Earlier in the week, the Lions won at Squalicum, 63-42, but it wasn’t as easy as that.


The Lions shot out quick to a 17-4 lead with Canales and Heppner combining for all 17 Lions points in the opening quarter.  They also combined to hit five of six three-point shots in that run.


The Storm righted their ship and drew within five points in the second quarter.  After a ten-point halftime deficit, they got to within six in the middle of the third quarter, before the Lions pulled away.


Heppner’s 26 led the Lions, with Canales netting 23.  The Lions also got ten points from junior post, Jack Stapleton.


The Storm got 12 points each from junior Marcus Nixon and freshman Hunter Calloway.

The Bellingham Bayhawks are 3-1 in the NWC as they split two home games this week.  On Monday they beat Sedro-Woolley 65-51, then lost to Lynden Christian 58-47 on Friday.


In Monday’s game, junior guard Harmon Wienkers stroked seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points.  Junior Gabe Van Hofwegen added 15, and senior Wyatt Stephan had 13.

The Cubs got 24 points from Ethan DeJong, and 12 from Isaac Johnson.


Sehome got by Burlington-Edison on Thursday at home, 66-56.  The Mariners led by nine at halftime, but the game was tied after three quarters.


Braddock Duckworth scored 29 points for the Mariners, and Nolan Wright added 11.  Nolan Heigert and Rex Wilson scored 17 and 15 points, respectively.


On Friday, Squalicum hung on for a 69-67 win at Blaine.


It seemed like the two teams scored every time they had the ball in the first quarter, with the Storm taking a 24-20 lead.


With the Storm leading 42-33 after their first possession of the second half, the Borderites went on an 11-2 run to tie the score at 44-44.


Junior guard Josiah Weeda had eight points in that run, with senior forward Noah Tavis also contributing a 3-pointer. 


With 1:29 left in the game, Blaine’s senior guard, Justin Minjarez, scored on a baseline drive to give the Borderites a 66-65 lead.


The Storm regained the lead on a drive to the hoop by Marcus Nixon with 54 seconds left. 

After a Borderite miss, another Nixon drive resulted in a three-point lead for the Storm with 28 seconds remaining.  Weeda then hit a free throw to cut the lead to two with 16 seconds left.


The Borderites got the ball back with 13 seconds left and had a chance for a win or to send it to overtime, but senior Jesse Deming’s shot from the left wing missed at the buzzer.


Christmas Rush


On Monday, the week begins with a couple important 2A games with Squalicum at Burlington-Edison, and Bellingham at Sehome.  The Bayhawks and Mariners will play a double-header with the girls contest first at 6pm, followed by the boys contest.


Another double-header on Tuesday has the Lynden and Nooksack Valley boys tipping at 530pm in Pioneer Pavilion, followed by the girls game, which pits two of the top teams in their respective classifications.


The rest of the schedule this week includes several NWC and non-league games which conclude on Friday.


~ Ted House

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