The Lynden Christian and Meridian boys basketball teams earned their way into the Class 1A state tournament with hard-fought victories Thursday night, Feb. 20.
The Lyncs had enough firepower to shoot down Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), 80-66, and Meridian steadily pulled away to defeat Bear Creek, 67-55, in consolation play at the Bi-District 1/2 tournament.
With the victories, Lynden Christian and Meridian finish … tied for third? Or both in the top four? Either way they’ve wrapped up bi-district play, and the only thing that matters is that both advance to the regional round of the state tournament.
Their opponents and the locations for regionals won’t be decided until all the other tournaments around the state are done Saturday and will be figured out by the WIAA’s complex RPI rankings.
The only thing certain is that the Lyncs and Trojans will be playing either Friday, Feb. 28, or Saturday, Feb. 29 … unless, of course, it snows like last year. Keep watching WhatcomHoops.com for the latest news.
For lots more photos from the Lynden Christian and the Meridian games, check out the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page tomorrow.
Lyncs Use Senior Power To Overpower Cedar Park Christian
After graduating two-time 1A player of the year Cole Bajema and most of the players who helped Lynden Christian win all but two games the past two years, there were some who doubted whether this group of Lyncs would be able to return to Yakima.
But they proved they were up to the task by taking the Northwest Conference’s top 1A seed, finishing second at the District 1 tournament and earning their regional berth Thursday. In addition to improving to 19-5, their No.6 ranking among 1A teams should guarantee them a spot in the SunDome the first week of March.
“”This is a group that took it upon themselves to get back (to state), and they worked really, really hard to do it,” said Lynden Christian coach Roger DeBoer. “We never ever take (getting to state) for granted. I’m so excited for our players.”
Leading the charge were the senior starters — forward Zach Sipma and guards Andrew DeVries and Bryce Bouwman.
“I’ve been playing with this group of guys all my life,” said Sipma, whose game-high 22 points also were a career high. “We just need to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. And the best is yet to come.”
Sipma was at his best in the second quarter when he mostly worked inside for 11 points as Lynden Christian took a 43-29 halftime lead over No.19 Cedar Park Christian (17-10).
And when the Eagles battled back time and time again in the second half, DeVries and Bouwman would hit a big shot or two or more.
“We had to take it to them,” said DeVries, who had 18 points and three 3-pointers. “We’ve had a lot of challenges and the experiences of some losses. We didn’t want to lay down (when they came back). We want to go out strong.”
Bouwman added 13 points, including seven in the final period as the Lyncs never let Cedar Park Christian get closer than seven points.
Junior guard Jaden DeBoer added 11 points, junior forward Logan Dykstra had 8 points, and junior guard Cole Moorlag came off the bench to score 7 points.
Lynden Christian 80, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 66
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 23 6 23 14—66
Lynden Christian 24 19 18 19—80
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell): Matthew Duffy 7, Cameron Ludwick, Trenton Lynch 15, Luke Allen 8, Noah Freeman, Ryan Baker 18, Jack Allen 6, Justus Trout 12, Cameron English.
Lynden Christian: Jaden DeBoer 11, Brevin Zylstra, Shale Whittern 1, Cole Moorlag 7, Zach Sipma 22, Bryce Bouwman 13, Andrew DeVries 18, Logan Dykstra 8, Andrew Hommes.
Trojans Shoot Down Bear Creek To End State Drought
Meridian’s own group of seniors wouldn’t let a road trip to Redmond or a game Bear Creek team (13-10) stop the No.15 Trojans (18-8) from returning to the state tournament for the first time in 10 years.
“We had a slow start,” said Meridian coach Shane Stacy. “Once we were able to calm down a little bit (in the second quarter) defensively and still apply pressure, we figured out their defense and what they were doing.”
As usual, it was the seniors who took charge. Guard Jackson Short had 15 points, guard Corey Hemenway had 13, post Joseph Plagerman had 11, and Ryan Johnson had 10.
“Corey Hemenway is kind of unheralded with the big three that we’ve got,” Stacy said, referring to Short, Johnson and Jordan Veenstra, who was held to 5 points Thursday after scoring 25 in Wednesday’s big win over Nooksack Valley.
“He (Hemenway) had some big offensive rebounds in the second half and some big baskets in the second half, and hit a three in the first half. He’s just steady. Real steady. A great teammate.”
Meridian 67, Bear Creek 55
Meridian 17 17 19 14—67
Bear Creek 15 12 17 11—55
Meridian: Ryan Johnson 10, Corey Hemenway 13, Eli Hayrynen 3, Trent Martin, Jackson Short 15, Trey Naidu 6, Jordan Veenstra 5, Joseph Plagerman 12, Ethan Brooks 3.
Bear Creek: J. Snook, T. Roth 2, J. Linnkohl 11, J. Blankenbeckler 14, C. Keith 9, J. Martin 2, N. Shields 5, T. Rasmussen, M. Hansen 12.
CLASS 1A BI-DISTRICT 1/2
Monday, Feb. 17
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 61, University Prep 37 (loser out)
Nooksack Valley 62, Overlake 37 (loser out)
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 57, Northwest 45 (loser out)
Meridian 71, Nooksack Valley 51 (loser out)
Thursday, Feb. 20
Lynden Christian 80, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 66 (winner to regionals)
Meridian 67, Bear Creek 55 (winner to regionals)
Friday, Feb. 21
Seattle Academy vs. King’s at Shorewood, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second, both to regionals)
Saturday, Feb. 22
Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) vs. Bear Creek at Shorewood, 7 p.m. (winner fifth, to regionals; loser out)
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.