1A Girls State: LC Downs King’s, Heads To Semifinals

Halfway through the season, the Lynden Christian girls basketball team looked like … well, not like the usual LC squads that were battle-tested and aiming for a state title. Instead, the Lyncs had no returning starters on the floor and five losses.

Less than two months later, Lynden Christian is … well, battle-tested and aiming for a state title after a 63-50 victory over King’s in the Class 1A state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 29, in the Yakima SunDome.

The road, however, gets immensely tougher as the Lyncs move to the semifinals to face undefeated Deer Park on Friday at 9 p.m. Still, in early January when the Lyncs were 8-5, even that seemed a dream.

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

“There’s a lot of firsts for this group,” said Lynden Christian coach Brady Bomber, whose only returning starter from last year’s state runner-up squad was sideline until midseason with an injury. “But our girls were confident and focused on our intensity and unity. I am proud of them.”

On Thursday, the Lyncs knocked off the Knights by throwing a party — a paint party. Using their size, LC scored 32 points in the paint with junior Allison Shumate’s 16 points leading the way.

“This was really my first game (at the state tournament in Yakima) and I was really excited,” said Shumate, who was a perfect four of four from the field and five of seven from the line. “I just wanted to contribute in a new way.” And what way was that? “To keep the party in the paint,” she said.

Besides dominating inside, the Lyncs used their depth to lead by as much as 22 points before King’s made a too-late comeback in the fourth quarter. Eight Lyncs had four or more points with Grace Hintz, the all-state guard who came back from a serious knee injury at midseason, leading the way with 16 points.

Sophomore point guard Ella Fritts had 10 points and only one turnover against the Knights’ pressure. She and Hintz also hounded King’s star Kaleo Anderson into six turnovers, and while Anderson finished with 22 points, most were in the waning minutes when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Dominating the boards was LC’s only senior, Tabby DeJong, who had 10 rebounds and even handed out three assists. Hintz also had 6 rebounds and 4 steals.

Of all the stats, however, the one that probably pleased Bomber the most was “minutes played” as eight different Lyncs clocked 12 or more minutes. He especially praised junior Makalie Tveter and sophomore Kayla Yun, who combined for 9 points yet epitomized the young Lyncs’ focus on intensity and unity.

“They gave us some great minutes, some really big minutes,” said Bomber. “Our depth was an advantage tonight.”

As for the future — starting with Friday’s big game against Deer Park — Bomber was keeping his predictions to himself, especially since he knows what it takes having led LC to four state championships and two runner-up finishes in the past seven tournaments.

“We were hopeful of this group,” he said of the coaches’ early-season expectations. “They’ve really grown and improved. But we’ve focused on one game at a time all year, one day at a time. They’ll enjoy this victory and then we’ll compete against another good opponent.”

King’s (17-11), meanwhile, will square off with Cashmere in a loser-out consolation game Friday at 2 p.m.

Lynden Christian 63, King’s 50

King’s                      11       10       14       15—50

Lynden Christian     17       19       16       11—63

King’s: Kim Beard, Kaitlin Cramer 9, Molly Kyler 8, Maddie Schilperoort, Kaleo Anderson 22, Cat Ellard, Kylee Bengsten 3, Bella Trais-Ruiz 2, Claire Helton 6, Adeline Cox.

Lynden Christian: Danya Dykstra 5, Makalie Tveter 4, Estela Hernandez 5, Ella Fritts 10, Grace Hintz 16, Kortnee Tolsma, Tabby DeJong 4, Kayla Yun 5, Sara Van Loo, Allison Shumate 14, Ellie Pierce.


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 59, Montesano 35 (loser out)

Seattle Academy 52, Bellevue Christian 49 (loser out)

King’s 53, Eatonville 40 (loser out)

Cashmere 47, Toppenish 30 (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

Wapato 69, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 64

Nooksack Valley 60, Seattle Academy 22

Lynden Christian 63, King’s 50

Deer Park 68, Cashmere 38

Friday, March 1

#6 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) (20-6) vs. #8 Seattle Academy (16-10), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

#4 King’s (17-11) vs. #9 Cashmere (20-6), 2 p.m. (loser out)

#5 Wapato (23-2) vs. #1 Nooksack Valley (24-1), 7:15 p.m.

#3 Lynden Christian (19-7) vs. #2 Deer Park (25-0), 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 2

Consolation game, 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final, 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game, 9 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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