1A Boys: LC Bounces Back To Take Third

After having their year-long goal taken away by a mere two points, the Lynden Christian boys basketball team showed its character — not to mention its skill — by defeating Seattle Academy, 70-44, in the Class 1A state tournament consolation final on Saturday, March 2.

With the victory, the Lyncs finished their season with a 24-3 record and a third-place state finish, which in almost any other school’s trophy case would be a welcome addition. But not after you’ve won back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history.

Still, Lynden Christian coach Tim Zylstra was pleased not only with the team’s performance against the fifth-seeded Cardinals but the team’s character in bouncing back after losing a heart-breaker to Annie Wright in Friday’s late semifinal.

“I am proud of our guys,” said Zylstra, who took over as head coach in 2020 and led the Lyncs to state titles in the two post-COVID tournaments. “This (the consolation final) is a hard game to go into. We always talk about the next play but today we had to say, ‘next game.” To build character, it’s how you come back.”

For the latest game stories and photos from all our state teams, keep checking Whatcom Hoops throughout the day.

The second-seeded Lyncs came back by once again blowing by Seattle Academy in what was a repeat of LC’s 30-point non-league win over the Cardinals on Dec. 8.

After a slow start Saturday morning — less than 15 hours after their 48-46 loss to Annie Wright — the Lyncs offense woke up.

A 20-point second quarter produced a nine-point halftime lead, which never got below a dozen and was stretched to as much as 26 points in the second half thanks to the LC defense that held Seattle Academy to a mere seven fourth-quarter points.

The big margin allowed Zylstra to not only play his reserves a lot but allowed him to honor his five seniors — Jeremiah Wright, Dawson Bouma, Kayden Stuit, Treven Blair, and Brody Bouwman — by playing them all and having them come off to an ovation.

Despite their freshman season being cut short and state playoffs cut completely, the Class of 2024 finished with two state titles and an 11-1 record in the state tournament.

“I hadn’t lost in the Dome until yesterday,” said Bouma, who scored 20 points and had a pair of 3-pointers in his final game for LC. “Growing up together since preschool, we (the seniors) have done everything together. We hate that we lost that game, but it was a lot of fun to have one last game with our brothers.”

Wright finished his stellar varsity career with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and two 3-pointers and would be named to the all-tournament first team for the second year in a row. Junior Gannon Dykstra, who was named to the all-tournament second team, finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Stuit would add 7 points and 6 rebounds.

“We had great leadership that carried on the culture,” Zylstra said of his seniors. “They came in as freshmen, starting to see how we do things, then they showed up each day. They’ve been coachable, and that means more to me than anything. We’ll be brothers for life.”

As for placing third rather than winning it all again, Zylstra tried to put it in perspective, especially since third was the highest the Lyncs finished when he starred for LC in the early 1980s.

“We tell them they’ll never get to experience this again,” he said of the state tournament. “It takes a lot of hard work to commit to it, but it is so much fun. And you get to share the love you have for your teammates. I know I love them.”

Seattle Academy ended its 17-7 season with the fifth-place trophy.

TOURNAMENT NOTES: The WIAA does not sanction all-tournament teams, but the media and tournament staff sometimes vote on it. The 1A boys all-tournament first team is Nic Navarre, Zillah (MVP); Jeremiah Wright, Lynden Christian; Kaiden Wilson, Seton Catholic; Tanner Goldsmith, Freeman; Amare Breedlove, Annie Wright; and Dekker Van DeGraaf, Zillah. The second team is Martin Kaupanger, Annie Wright; Alex McLeery-Brown, Seattle Academy; Gannon Dykstra, Lynden Christian, Reggie Lester, Annie Wright; Daniel Schneider, Riverside.

Lynden Christian 70, Seattle Academy 44

Seattle Academy    13       10       14         7—44

Lynden Christian   12       20       20       10—70

Seattle Academy: Losel Choegyal, Malcolm Albert 5, Myles Tade, Jaloni Clemmon 2, Chaney Wampold 3, Hunter Ackerley 5, Miles Struss, Oscar Cashman, Brody Brant 3, Alex McCleery-Brown 20, Tate Lonergan, Talbot Chesley 6.

Lynden Christian: Dawson Hintz 1, Dawson Bouma 20, Eli Maberry 3, Gannon Dykstra 18, Luke Van Kooten, Treven Blair, Kaden Veldman, Trey Bosman, Jeremiah Wright 19, Kayden Stuit 7, Brody Bouwman.


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Riverside 55, Royal 40 (loser out)

Seton Catholic 72, Meridian 60 (loser out)

Freeman 65, Sultan 31 (loser out)

King’s 45, Tenino 43 (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

Seattle Academy 60, Riverside 51 (OT)

Zillah 56, Seton Catholic 54

Annie Wright 65, Freeman 44

Lynden Christian 61, King’s 32

Friday, March 1

Seton Catholic 49, Riverside 40 (loser out)

Freeman 70, King’s 56 (loser out)

Zillah 65, Seattle Academy 41

Annie Wright 48, Lynden Christian 46

Saturday, March 4

#4 Freeman (23-4) 53, #7 Seton Catholic (19-8) 46 (winner fourth, loser sixth)

#2 Lynden Christian (24-3) 70, #5 Seattle Academy (17-7) 44  (winner third, loser fifth)

#1 Zillah (27-0) 47, #3 Annie Wright (24-2) 45 (winner first, loser second)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

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