1A Boys State: LC Beats King’s, Moves Into Semifinals

It took the two-time defending state champs a little while to get reacclimated, but once they did, the Lynden Christian boys basketball team rolled over King’s, 61-32, in their Class 1A state quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 29, at the Yakima SunDome.

The victory, Lynden Christian’s 23rd in 25 games, puts the second-seeded Lyncs back into the state semifinals where they will take on third seed Annie Wright on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The win also guaranteed LC a top-six trophy.

Thursday’s quarterfinal was an earlier-than-usual rematch of the past three state finals, which the Lyncs won the past two years. This time, both teams started slowly with Lynden Christian only holding a 27-16 lead at halftime.

“We started a little slow,” said Lynden Christian senior Jeremiah Wright. “Everything was new for a lot of us. The new guys were getting over their nerves.”

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

While several of the Lyncs were playing meaningful minutes at state for the first time, this wasn’t the first rodeo in the SunDome for Wright. The 6-foot-6 post, who was last year’s state tournament MVP, muscled inside for 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was seven of 10 from the field and even hit a 3-pointer.

“Jeremiah is a really good player and he’s big for us,” said Lynden Christian coach Tim Zylstra. “He has played like that at state (the past two years). We expect nothing else.”

Wright also got a lot of help both on offense and defense, especially in the third quarter when the Lyncs outscored the Knights, 27-9, to turn the game into a rout.

Offensively, ten different Lyncs scored with junior Gannon Dykstra adding 13 points thanks to three 3-pointers, and junior Luke Van Kooten coming off the bench to sink a pair of 3s and collect 9 points.

Defensively, Lynden Christian held King’s to its lowest point total of the season; outrebounded the Knights, 41-24, with senior Kayden Stuit grabbing 7 boards; forced 18 turnovers with Van Kooten nabbing 3 steals; and held King’s leading scorer Nick Linhardt to 7 points.  

“We have to do the little things then the big things will take care of themselves,” said Zylstra. “It’s defense and rebounding. Then in the third quarter, we started knocking down shots.”

While it wasn’t the same as defeating King’s for a state title, Wright didn’t mind. “It was kind of fun to beat them by that much,” he said with a smile.

Now the Lyncs will face an Annie Wright squad that is 23-2, on a 16-game winning streak, and which dismantled fourth-seeded Freeman on Thursday.

“Tomorrow we have got our work cut out for us,” said Zylstra. “We have one shot at them and hopefully we’ll play our best.”

Wright wasn’t worried: “Coach Z will have a really good game plan. We fully trust him.”

Ninth-seeded King’s, meanwhile, fell to 16-9 and will play in a loser-out consolation game against Freeman Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Lynden Christian 61, King’s 32

King’s                    9         7         9       7—32

Lynden Christian   14       13       27       7—61

King’s: Noah Clark, Blake Needham 3, Sebastian Cooper 7, Dozie Asinobi 3, Owen Lindblad, Cole Myers 3, John Bjella, Nick Linhardt 7, Jackson Pepsny, Andrew Gerbig, Connor Steen 4, Dylan Myers 5.

Lynden Christian: Dawson Hintz 3, Dawson Bouma 5, Eli Maberry 1, Gannon Dykstra 13, Treven Blair 1, Oak Howell, Luke Van Kooten 9, Kaden Veldman, Trey Bosman 4, Jeremiah Wright 18, Kayden Stuit 4, Brody Bouwman 3.


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

#11 Riverside (18-7) vs. #7 Seton Catholic (18-7), 9 a.m. (loser out)

#4 Freeman (21-4) vs. #9 King’s (16-9), 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

#5 Seattle Academy (17-6) vs. #1 Zillah (25-0), 3:45 p.m. 

#3 Annie Wright (23-2) vs. #2 Lynden Christian (23-2), 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 4

Consolation game, 8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final, 11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game, 7 p.m. (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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