When it comes to state tournaments, there are no “gimmes” even for the No.1 team in the state.
The top-seeded Lynden Christian boys basketball team was reminded of that when they were pushed by eighth-seeded Overlake before finally pulling away from the Owls for a 69-49 victory in the Class 1A state regionals at Mount Vernon High School on Saturday, Feb. 25.
With their victory, the Lyncs (23-2) move on to the Yakima SunDome to play a state quarterfinal contest on Thursday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m against the winner of Wednesday’s Seattle Academy-Zillah game.
Check out Whatcom Hoops for stories and photos from all of Friday’s and Saturday’s regional action.
But the defending state champion Lyncs learned Saturday that defending their title would not be easy. Of course, they already knew that.
“We expected a good game,” said LC coach Tim Zylstra. “When you get down to the last eight, you’ll have a good opponent.”
Overlake (18-6) came into the game as the eighth seed and was second to King’s in the Emerald Sound Conference tournament. But the Owls came in with something LC didn’t have: size.
With a talented front line that went 6-foot-6, 6-5, 6-3, Overlake made it a physical contest and forced the smaller Lyncs to shoot from the outside. And early on, the Lyncs weren’t hitting. The Owls led as late as the second quarter and LC only had a four-point lead at the half.
“They had some size and we didn’t shoot the ball well early, so it comes down to defense and rebounding,” said Zylstra. “I told them eventually the shots would drop. And once we starting making our shots it started to spread things out.”
Zylstra meant the court, where LC’s senior guard tandem of Tyler Sipma and Griffin Dykstra began to warm up from outside opening up things for LC’s big man, Jeremiah Wright, to begin working his magic inside.
But the coach could also have meant the score, which went from a close game to a rout in the fourth quarter as the Lyncs put up 22 points in the final period.
Sipma had four of his six 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 26 points, and Dykstra had half of his four 3-pointers after halftime and would finish with 16 points. Meanwhile, Wright got inside for 18 points, 10 of them in the final period.
And now the Lyncs are going back to the SunDome trying to accomplish something no Lynden Christian boys basketball team has ever done: win back-to-back titles. But they know it won’t be easy.
“At the Dome, anything can happen,” said Sipma, who started on last year’s title team and was a key reserve as a freshman on LC’s 2020 state runner-up team. “You’ve got to stay focused and play one game at a time. But a game like this is only going to help us. It’s only going to get more intense (in Yakima).”
The Lyncs will be joined in the SunDome by Blaine, which pulled off the tournament’s biggest shocker so far by beating second-seeded Zillah on the road. The Borderites also advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of Wednesday’s Overlake-Lakeside (9 Mile) game.
Lynden Christian 69, Overlake 49
Overlake 12 13 12 12—49
Lynden Christian 12 17 18 22—69
Overlake: Brandon Douvia 6, Nathan Kang, Jake Shuey 15, Alec Odell 5, Nikita Davis 5, Mad Abdi 2, Zubin Sannakkayala, Jack Wiley 16, Hudson Im, Ashwin Chintalapati.
Lynden Christian: Tyler Sipma 26, Gannon Dykstra 3, Griffin Dykstra 16, Dawson Bouma 3, Lane Dykstra 2, Jeremiah Wright 18, Dexter Zylstra, Braden Kuik, Isaac Paxton, Treven Blair 1, Luke Van Kooten, Boyce Robertson.
CLASS 1A BOYS STATE REGIONALS
Friday, Feb. 24
#14 Seton Catholic 62, #11 Seattle Christian 53 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
Saturday, Feb. 25
#10 Seattle Academy 71, #15 Elma 56 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#12 King’s Way Christian 59, #13 LaSalle 44 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#16 Lakeside (9 Mile) 58, #9 Omak 52 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#3 Annie Wright 74, #6 Toppenish 55 (both to state tournament)
#1 Lynden Christian 69, #8 Overlake 49 (both to state tournament)
#7 Blaine 61, #2 Zillah 58 (both to state tournament)
#4 Freeman 74, #5 King’s 72 (both to state tournament)
At Yakima SunDome
Wednesday, March 1
Seton Catholic (18-7) vs. Toppenish (18-6), 3:45 p.m. (loser out)
Seattle Academy (14-9) vs. Zillah (22-2), 5:30 p.m. (loser out)
King’s Way Christian (16-8) vs. King’s (17-6), 7:15 p.m. (loser out)
Lakeside (9 Mile) (14-10) vs. Overlake (16-8), 9 p.m. (loser out)
Thursday, March 2
Freeman (21-2) vs. Seton Catholic-Toppenish winner, 3:45 p.m.
Lynden Christian (23-2) vs. Seattle Academy-Zillah winner, 5:30 p.m.
Annie Wright (23-1) vs. King’s Way Christian-King’s winner, 7:15 p.m.
Blaine (17-7) vs. Overlake-Lakeside (9 Mile) winner, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 3
Consolation game, 12:15 a.m. (loser out)
Consolation game, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Semifinal, 7:15 p.m.
Semifinal, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 4
Consolation game, 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation final,1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game, 5 p.m. (winner first, loser second)