1A Girls State: LC Falls Short In Semis To Deer Park

When the final buzzer went off ending the dream of one more rematch, all the Lynden Christian girls could do was let the tears fall as the Lyncs fell to Deer Park, 43-42, in a Class 1A state semifinal on Friday, March 1, in the Yakima SunDome.

The loss ends the possibility of a third straight meeting with rival Nooksack Valley in the state championship game and a third meeting this year between the Pioneers and the Lyncs.

But it doesn’t end LC’s season. The Lyncs will play Wapato in the consolation final on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the winner placing third and the loser taking fifth.

“We defied a lot of expectations,” said Tabby DeJong, Lynden Christian’s only senior and one of only three players with meaningful minutes on last year’s state runner-up squad. “Some people thought it would be a down year. Making it this far is an honor. And we get to play tomorrow.”

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On Friday, the young and inexperienced Lyncs met their match in second-seeded and unbeaten Deer Park. The Lady Stags have no seniors and play four freshmen and three sophomores. And while Deer Park had no player taller than 5-foot-8, they could all shoot the 3-pointer and play defense.

The two teams battled through 10 lead changes and were tied nine times. Like the LC boys’ semifinal game earlier Friday, it came down to the final two minutes.

The Lyncs led, 40-39, but four Deer Park free throws — the Stags would hit nine of 10 for the game — gave them a three-point lead with a minute to go.

LC’s all-state guard Grace Hintz missed two shots but when Deer Park’s leading scorer, freshman Ashlan Bryant, also missed a shot, the Lyncs had 16 seconds left to make up the 43-40 deficit.

Unfortunately, their plan for a quick two and a foul didn’t work as sophomore Ella Fritts was able to score but with only three seconds left on the clock, which wasn’t enough time to foul anyone.

“I felt like we missed opportunities,” said Lynden Christian coach Brady Bomber. “And they made some big plays, timely plays down the stretch.”

Hintz would bounce back from a scoreless first half to finish with 11 points. Fellow junior Allison Shumate also had 11 points and the two combined for 11 rebounds. Fritts had 8 points and DeJong added 7 rebounds.

The LC defense also held the Stags to their second-lowest point total of the season, but, unfortunately, it was still one more than the Lyncs.

Deer Park now goes on to play defending champion Nooksack Valley in the state championship game. And while LC still has one more game to play, both the coach and the senior took time to reflect on the season as a whole.

“We faced a lot of adversity,” said Bomber, whose teams have won four state titles and finished second twice in the past seven tournaments. “We had injuries, we took a lot of lumps. It wasn’t always easy.

“It’s a bummer not to play well (Friday), but I’m proud of how far they’ve come. It starts with Tabby. Everybody is welcome and she makes them feel safe. They enjoyed being together.”

DeJong agreed: “This team was special. Off the court, we had a chemistry. We had fun together every day. I’ll miss them all. And next year, they’ll be back with a chip on their shoulder.”

Deer Park 43, Lynden Christian 42

Lynden Christian    7       14       10      11—42

Deer Park                9       11       12      11—43

Lynden Christian: Danya Dykstra, Makalie Tveter 2, Estela Hernandez 3, Ella Fritts 8, Grace Hintz 11, Tabby DeJong 2, Kayla Yun 5, Sara Van Loo, Allison Shumate 11.

Deer Park: Olivia Gannon 3, Brooklyn Coe 11, Berlyn Zimmerer 5, Raigan Coolbaugh, Ashlan Bryant 22, Kaitlyn Scott, Emma Bryant 2.


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

Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) 61, Seattle Academy 45 (loser out)

Cashmere 63, King’s 55 (loser out)

Nooksack Valley 66, Wapato 56

Deer Park 43, Lynden Christian 42

Saturday, March 2

#6 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) (21-6) vs. #9 Cashmere (21-6), 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

#3 Lynden Christian (19-8) vs. #5 Wapato (23-3), 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

#1 Nooksack Valley (25-1) vs. #2 Deer Park (26-0), 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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