The Lynden Christian girls basketball team is in familiar territory, and we’re not just talking about the Yakima SunDome.
With their 55-25 drubbing of Elma in the Class 1A state quarterfinals Thursday afternoon, the third-seeded Lyncs find themselves in the state semifinals for the third time in the past four years. They will play ninth-seeded Medical Lake at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“We wanted to take care of business,” said junior guard Riley Dykstra.
The defending state champion Lyncs, who raised their record to 22-3, sure did take care of business, jumping out to a 12-0 lead and not letting the Eagles score until 3:31 of the first period.
The two returning starters from the state championship team, Isabela Hernandez and Dykstra, had 23 points to help LC to a 28-10 halftime lead. After that, it was time for the bench players to get some experience.
For updated stories and pictures from the 1A and 2A state tournaments, keep checking www.whatcomhoops.com.
“Right from the jump, Isabela said, ‘Follow me,’ and the other girls relaxed,” said LC coach Brady Bomber, whose Lyncs also won the state title in 2016. “Then we put our bench girls in the second half, and they extended our lead.”
With Lynden Christian’s defense holding Elma to a season low in points, Hernandez and Dykstra weren’t needed in the second half, scoring only two points after halftime as 10 different Lyncs scored.
Bomber especially praised Josie Bocci, who not only had two 3-pointers coming off the bench (one more than the entire Elma team) but who ran the offense much of the second half.
“She’s a calming influence,” said Bomber of his senior guard. “She’s been here before.”
As have most of the Lyncs, who now are one game away from another championship game appearance.
Interestingly, all the semifinalists are returning. In what may be a first for the 1A tournament, not only are the same four teams in the semis, but it’s the same two matchups: Cashmere vs. LaSalle and Lynden Christian vs. Medical Lake.
Hernandez was looking forward to Friday even as she sat the bench most of the final quarter on Thursday, enjoying her time with the rest of the starters cheering and getting water for the substitutes.
“It was really important to get a good start,” said the senior guard, who also had a team-high six rebounds, three assists and four blocks. “Then we could give everybody some experience … and save our legs.”
They’ll need them Friday afternoon.
Lynden Christian 55, Elma 25
Elma 6 4 10 5 — 25
Lynden Christian 17 11 14 13 — 55
Elma: Jalyn Sackrider 2, Jillian Bieker 2, Kali Rambo 4, Kayli Johnson 3, Quin Mikel 8, Janessa Sample, Kaelyn Burgher, Kassedy Olson, Alle Bol 1, Molly Johnston 4, Jalyn Whipple 1, Ella Moore.
Lynden Christian: Libby Stump 2, Josie Bocci 6, Isabela Hernandez 16, Kiley Roetcisoender, Riley Dykstra 9, Liv Mellema 2, Emily Mellema 2, Lexi Hernandez 5, Kenadi Fay 2, Paige TeVelde 5, Sydney Wiersma, Grace Sterk 6.
Shooting: FG—Elma 7-47 14.9, LC 22-51 43.1; FT— Elma 10-21 47.6, LC 7-15 47.6; 3 PT—Elma 1-12 8.3 (Johnson 1), LC 4-15 26.7 (Bocci 2, I. Hernandez 1, TeVelde 1). Rebounds: Elma 39 (Rambo 6), LC 39 (I. Hernandez 6). Fouls: Elma 13, LC 13. Assists: Elma 0, LC 11 (I. Hernandez 3). Turnovers: Elma 18, LC 13. Blocks: Elma 2 (Rambo 1, Mikel 1), LC 8 (I. Hernandez 4). Steals: Elma 5 (Rambo 2), LC 13 (E. Mellema 3, Sterk 3).
CLASS 1A GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT
(With RPI seedings)
#1 LaSalle 50, #8 King’s 27
#4 Cashmere 47, #5 Elma 34
#9 Medical Lake 42, #16 King’s Way Christian 31 (loser out)
#10 Freeman 62, vs. #15 Connell 42 (loser out)
#13 Overlake 44, #12 Granger 33 (loser out)
#3 Lynden Christian 77, #6 Annie Wright 59
#7 Meridian 40, #2 Bellevue Christian 26
#11 Zillah 64, #14 Montesano 41 (loser out)
At Yakima SunDome
State play-in games (Wednesday, Feb. 27)
Annie Wright 71, Zillah 67 (loser out)
Bellevue Christian 50, Freeman 43 (loser out)
Elma 42, Overlake 30 (loser out)
Medical Lake 49, King’s 36 (loser out)
Quarterfinals (Thursday, Feb. 28)
Cashmere 62, Annie Wright 41
LaSalle 61, Bellevue Christian 21
Lynden Christian 55, Elma 25
Medical Lake 41, Meridian 33
Consolation semifinals (Friday, March 1)
Annie Wright (21-5) vs. Bellevue Christian (22-4), 9 a.m. (loser out)
Elma (22-4) vs. Meridian (19-6), 10:30 a.m. (loser out)
Semifinals (Friday, March 1)
Cashmere (22-2) vs. LaSalle (25-0), 3:45 p.m.
Lynden Christian (22-3) vs. Medical Lake (20-6), 5:30 p.m.
Fourth-sixth place game (Saturday)
8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Consolation final (Saturday)
11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Championship game (Saturday)
3 p.m. (winner first, loser second)
(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.