Yes, winning the Class 1A District 1 title was important to the Lynden Christian girls basketball team, but Wednesday’s 57-41victory over Meridian in the district championship game was huge for another reason: It guaranteed the Lyncs a return trip to state.
“That was our goal,” said LC junior guard Riley Dykstra, who had 11 points and is one of the returning starters from last year’s state championship team. “We’ve been waiting for today.”
But it wasn’t just the veterans who were excited. “I’m so pumped,” said freshman guard Libby Stump, who contributed 10 important points off the bench. “This is my first state tournament.”
The victory also gives the Lyncs (19-3) a spot in the Bi-District 1/2 championship game this Saturday against District 2 champion Overlake of Redmond. Both teams automatically qualify for the regional-round of the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 22 and 23.
Meridian (18-5) also moves into the bi-district tournament, but will have to win one more game to qualify for Yakima. The Trojans will host the winner of Thursday’s Nooksack Valley-Bush game on Friday in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest.
For more details and photos of the game, and updates on how our Whatcom County teams are doing in the 1B, 1A, 2A, and 3A tournaments, be sure to keep checking www.whatcomhoops.com.
At the half of Wednesday’s district championship game, with the Trojans owning a two-point lead, it appeared that the two Class 1A powers were in for another close contest, just like they had two weeks ago when Meridian came from eight points behind in the final four minutes to win.
But it was not to be Wednesday night. The Lyncs put the defensive clamps on the Trojans, giving up only 18 second-half points, and doubled that with 36 points of their own after intermission.
Stump’s three-point play started a 16-3 burst in the final four minutes of the third quarter that put the Lyncs up by nine going into the final period, and they never let up.
“Our girls locked down (on defense),” said LC coach Brady Bomber, citing the defense of forward Grace Sterk on Meridian standout Jolee Sipma. Sipma still led the Trojans with 17 points, but said Bomber, “Grace made Jolee earn them all.”
Sipma was the only Trojan in double figures, and Madeline Bowler’s seven points were next best as Meridian was held to its lowest point total of the season.
“”We did the things we wanted to in the first half,” said Meridian coach Mark Gilmore. “But LC extended its defense (in the second half) and that made us hurry. Offensively, we did a lot of things that weren’t in sync.”
As she has all season, all-state forward Isabela Hernandez led the Lyncs with 17 points. In addition to Dykstra and Stump scoring in double figures, sophomore guard Emily Mellema tossed in nine points.
Lynden Christian 57, Meridian 41
Lynden Christian 10 11 20 16 — 57
Meridian 12 11 9 9 — 41
Lynden Christian: Libby Stump 10, Josie Bocci, Isabela Hernandez 17, Kiley Roetcisoender 1, Riley Dykstra 11, Liv Mellema 2, Emily Mellema 9, Kenadi Fay, Grace Sterk 7.
Meridian: Madeline Bowler 7, Amanda Schleimer 6, Finley Claeys, Makenna Holz 5, Lexi Groen, Lindsey Moore 6, Jolee Sipma 17, Skyleigh James.
Nooksack Valley Falls To King’s, But Still In Bi-District
King’s had too much firepower Wednesday night as the Knights defeated Nooksack Valley, 54-34, in the District 1 consolation final at Mount Vernon High School.
Jenna Compton had 10 points, Kora Larsen had nine and Tehya added eight to lead Nooksack Valley (14-9), which had to settle for fourth place.
But fourth is good enough to send the Pioneers into the bi-district tournament, where they will travel to Seattle to face the Bush School on Thursday at 6 p.m. in a loser-out game .
The Pioneers can still make it to state, but they will not only have to win Thursday but they will have to beat Northwest Conference rival Meridian on Friday at 7 p.m. in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest.
Nooksack Valley fell behind after the Knights started with a 20-8 first quarter, but cut the margin to eight going into the final period. But the Pioneers were held to just two points in the fourth quarter.
King’s (18-5) took third and also advances to the bi-district tournament.
King’s 54, Nooksack Valley 34
Nooksack Valley 8 10 14 2 — 34
King’s 20 11 9 14 — 54
Nooksack Valley: Kora Larsen 9, Tehya Moore 8, Maya Galley 5, Vanessa Galindo, McKenna Wichers, Lexi Strong, Jenna Tenkley 2, Jenna Compton 10, Kaity Paz, Aubree Bird.
King’s: Dominique Kirton 2, Mia Flor 4, Ashley Gray 10, Peri Welch 2, Emma Storkson, Annika Ruud, Jada Wynn 20, Claire Gallagher 13, Jadyn Kirton 3.
CLASS 1A DISTRICT 1 GIRLS TOURNAMENT
First round (last Wednesday)
Nooksack Valley 56, Granite Falls 29 (loser out)
Coupeville 48, Sultan 37 (loser out)
Semifinals (last Wednesday)
Meridian 73, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 25
Lynden Christian 65, King’s 48
Consolation round (last Thursday)
Nooksack Valley 53, Cedar Park Christian 22 (loser out)
King’s 48, Coupeville 11 (loser out)
Consolation final (Wednesday)
King’s 54, Nooksack Valley 34 (winner third, loser fourth, both to bi-district)
Championship final (Wednesday)
Lynden Christian 57, Meridian 41 (winner first, loser second, both to bi-district, winner to state)
(Full schedule and bracket at nwcathletics.com)
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.