The Lynden Christian boys made it a Whatcom County sweep of the Class 1A state regionals quadrupleheader by winning the fourth and final game on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Mount Vernon High School.
But it wasn’t easy for our boys teams as the Lyncs finally pulled away from Annie Wright in the final minutes, 66-54, and Blaine took it down to the final seconds before beating Wahluke, 50-48.
With the victories, both ninth-seed Blaine (14-6) and second-seed Lynden Christian (19-1) head to the Yakima SunDome next week for the state tournament.
The Borderites will take on Quincy (20-4) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in a loser-out opening-round contest. The winner of that game will meet Lynden Christian in a quarterfinal on Thursday at 2 p.m.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s game action:
Lynden Christian Comes Up Clutch To Beat Gators
“We stayed the course,” said Lynden Christian coach Tim Zylstra immediately after his team’s tense 66-54 victory over seventh-seed Annie Wright on Saturday in the Class 1A state regionals.
Staying the course could have meant what the Lyncs were doing all game long or what got them 19 wins in 20 games this season. That’s playing physical defense, crashing the boards, running when you can, and hitting clutch shots.
Through three and a half quarters, t he young Gators (18-5), who have no seniors and only two juniors on the roster, used their athleticism to match the Lyncs’ stingy defense, rebounding, and fast breaks as neither team could pull away by more than three or four points.
But in the last four-plus minutes, LC’s clutch shooting took over, starting at the free throw line where senior Andrew Hommes showed why he is big time by sinking five straight free throws to give LC a 52-43 lead. Senior Crew Bosman added two more free throws, and then Griffin Dykstra took over.
The junior guard hit one 3-pointer with 1:50 left to make it an 11-point lead and then iced the game with another 3-pointer with a minute remaining.
Bosman and Hommes led the LC scoring with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Dykstra finished with a dozen points, and junior Tyler Sipma and sophomore Jeremiah Wright added 10 points each.
While holding the Gators — who had scored over 80 points seven times, over 90 four times, and even over 100 once this year — to just 54 points was impressive enough, Lynden Christian showed why it’s one of the state favorites by sinking 17 or 18 free throws all in the pressure-packed second half.
Lynden Christian 66, Annie Wright 54
Annie Wright 15 14 12 13—54
Lynden Christian 15 15 17 19—66
Annie Wright: Reggie Lester, Jeremiah Harshman 21, Gabriel, Walsh, Calvary Seui, Hunger Carter 8, Martin Kaupanger 22, TJ Marshall 2, Jack Bryant 1.
Lynden Christian: Tyler Sipma 10, Griffin Dykstra 12, Jamison Hintz, Crew Bosman 17, Andrew Hommes 15, Jeremiah Wright 10, William Colwell 2.
Baldwin’s Bucket Gives Blaine Big Win
With the game on the line — in fact, with your season on the line — you go to your senior leader.
And Scott Baldwin delivered.
The point guard drove for a game-winning basket with six seconds left, and the Blaine boys held on to beat Wahluke, 50-48, in the Class 1A state regional on Saturday.
And now the Borderites are going back to Yakima for the first time since 2004.
“I am super happy for our kids especially after the last year and a half and all they’ve been through,” said Blaine coach Brett Farrar. “I’m so pumped for them to experience it together. Hopefully, we’ll be there more than one day.”
On Saturday, the Borderites took control early and used a 19-0 run at the end of the second quarter and into the third period to make the Warriors (12-9) look like the 16th and last team picked for state.
Carson Lehnert , the Borderites sharpshooter, hit a pair of 3s to start the run. Then each of the starters scored to start the second half and Blaine was up 36-17. It looked like the only thing left to be decided was the room assignments for Yakima.
“We were holding them to one shot and executing really well,” said Farrar. “And then the fourth quarter started.”
The Warriors lived up to their nickname by battling back in the final period. They cut the margin to 10 with three minutes left and then forced Blaine into a number of turnovers that were turned into fastbreak layups. And suddenly, when Orlando Nunez hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left, it was tied at 48-48.
With the Wahluke side of the gym going crazy and the Blaine side holding its breath, the Borderites set up a final play … for Baldwin.
He got the ball on the wing, took his man to the rim for a driving layup, and scored with six seconds to go.
Wahluke got off a desperation heave but there was no Mount Vernon miracle. There was only the Blaine students storming the court to celebrate with their heroes.
“It feels surreal,” said Baldwin of the first “game-winner” he can remember making. “But the entire game, we felt we were going to win. Even when they tied it, we said we’re just going to wipe the slate clean like it’s 0-0.”
Lehnert finished with a team-high 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Baldwin had 11 points, and fellow seniors Cole Thomas and Avery Dohner added 10 and 7 points, respectively.
And now it’s time to enjoy the victory and the opportunity to play at the SunDome.
“It feels amazing,” said Lehnert. “But it wasn’t easy. Now all we want to do is survive and advance.”
Blaine 50, Wahluke 48
Wahluke 7 10 12 19—48
Blaine 9 16 18 7—50
Wahluke: Arnoldo Ramos, Cristian Madrigal, Maximiliano Urrutia 10, River Buck 8, Orlando Nunez 22, Brayan Calvario, Andrew Yorgesen 8.
Blaine: Lucas Smith, Matthew Russ 6, Ethan Koreski, Jaxon Kortlever 2, Cole Thomas 10, Scott Baldwin 11, Avery Dohner 7, Carson Lehnert 14,
CLASS 1A BOYS
Saturday, Feb. 26
#5 Toppenish 61, #4 Freeman 58 (both to state tournament)
#1 King’s 81, #8 Quincy 57 (both to state tournament)
#3 Life Christian 82, #6 Zillah 81 (both to state tournament)
#10 Seattle Academy 71,#15 Eatonville 53 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#12 King’s Way Christian 62, #13 Lakeside (9 Miles) 59 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#9 Blaine 50, #16 Wahluke 48 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#11 Castle Rock 42 #14 Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 37 (winner to state tournament, loser out)
#2 Lynden Christian 66, #7 Annie Wright 54 (both to state tournament)
At Yakima SunDome
Wednesday, March 2
Castle Rock (15-7) vs. Zillah (16-3), 9 a.m. (loser out)
Seattle Academy (12-10) vs. Annie Wright (18-5), 10:30 a.m. (loser out)
King’s Way Christian (16-5) vs. Freeman (21-2), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Blaine (14-6) vs. Quincy (20-4), 2 p.m. (loser out)
Thursday, March 3
Toppenish (20-2) vs. Castle Rock-Zillah winner, 9 a.m.
King’s (22-2) vs. Seattle Academy-Annie Wright winner, 10:30 a.m.
Life Christian (20-1) vs. King’s Way Christian-Freeman winner, 12:15 p.m.
Lynden Christian (19-1) vs. Blaine-Quincy winner, 2 p.m.
Friday, March 4
Consolation game, 9 a.m. (loser out)
Consolation game, 10:30 (loser out)
Semifinal, 3:45 p.m.
Semifinal, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 5
Consolation game, 8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation final, 11:15 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)