The winter quarter means basketball has picked up again for the Northwest Athletic Conference. With over a dozen games under their belts so far, both the men’s and women’s sides have gotten off to solid starts.
Women’s basketball finds itself sitting in second place in the North Region. Their overall record is 9-4, including winning their first conference game of the season when they took Peninsula to overtime on Jan. 11. It was an absolute thriller of a game that was competitive until the last minute, but the Bulldogs did eke out a 68-65 overtime win. Guard Sav Huerta led the team with 24 points on 9-23 shooting, while center Gwen Aasland put together a double-double with her 18 points and 15 rebounds in 36 minutes. It was practically a two-woman show, though Brianna Byrns did add 14 points herself.
This is largely what BC has come to expect from their team. Huerta is averaging just under 20 points per game, which is second in the entire conference behind Lane’s Bella Hamel. Aasland is also averaging roughly a double-double per game, putting up 11 points and 9.7 rebounds every night she steps on the court. That almost isn’t good enough for leading the team in rebounds, as forward Mckayla Rodriguez averages 9.5 rebounds per game, including nine against Peninsula. For the time being, Bellevue’s 9-4 record is second in the region behind Edmonds, who sit at 9-2 this year.
Men’s basketball has found similar success with a 10-5 overall record, including winning nine of their last 10. Unfortunately, their first conference match of the season was that one loss, so the standings show them at sixth in the North Region, though that might be a bit disingenuous to their talent. Despite Peninsula ruining a nine-game win streak, there has been a noticeable trend in their style of games. The Bulldogs are fifth in the conference in points per game at 87, capping out at a massive 121-point win over Tacoma back on Nov. 19. They’ve already hit triple digits three times this season, including two games during their win streak versus Highline and Pierce. The 76-70 loss to Peninsula to kick off conference play was Bellevue’s third-lowest point total of the season.
This success can be largely attributed to the four players on the team that average double-digit points per game, capping out at Prophet Johnson’s 23.9. That mark is good for second in the conference behind Mt. Hood’s Will Wilson and his whopping 27 points per game. Bishop Tosi adds a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game to his 16.7 points. Perhaps going under the radar is Johnson’s 3.1 steals per game, which leads the entire conference.
The explosive offense of this Bulldogs squad should be enough to forecast reasonable success going forward, but it’s worth noting that their competition within the region aren’t slackers whatsoever. Seventh-place Shoreline is 9-5, and fifth-place Skagit Valley is 12-4. Edmonds sits in third place with an 11-2 record, and is one of the four teams to score more points than Bellevue on average. Peninsula and Everett sit atop the region with a combined three losses between them as well.
The season is just getting started, and both teams have put themselves in great positions to succeed.