The Lynden Christian girls basketball team knows what it takes to play a great game having won three state titles in the past six years.
They also know you can’t always play great, and that was OK with LC coach Brady Bomber after the Lyncs defeated Colville, 44-34, in a Class 1A state quarterfinal Thursday, March 3, in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
That’s because the end result is what matters, and the end result is that top-ranked Lynden Christian will be playing in a state semifinal Friday at 7:15 p.m. against fourth-seed Montesano.
“Certainly, there were things we could have done better,” said Bomber of Thursday’s win over seventh-seed Colville. “At the same time, we have a lot of first-timers. Having adversity was good for us. Because it’ll come tomorrow.”
Check later for more photos from the game, and be sure to visit WhatcomHoops.com for stories from the other state games.
The Lyncs are the defending state champions, but this is not the same team that shocked Hailey Van Lith and Cashmere the last time LC was in the SunDome. No starters remain and only two players who saw much playing time in 2020 are still on the roster.
Senior Libby Stump, who was a key reserve as a sophomore on the 2020 championship team, said she was happy to be back in the Dome.
“All the teams are really good,” Stump said of reaching the second round of state. “This was awesome especially not having it (a state tournament) last year. It’s sweet … it’s the only word I can think of.”
For one of Bomber’s first-timers, freshman Grace Hintz, it was an experience she’s waited a long time for.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I know we can do better. But I’m proud of our team going through all the ups and downs (of the season).”
Stump and Hintz made the most of their first game in the Dome this year by scoring 17 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Lyncs.
But it wasn’t a “pretty” game for the LC offense, which struggled in the second half, only scoring 13 points. And the normally efficient Lyncs committed 20 turnovers and were only two of 13 from 3-point range.
And if defending your title means playing defense, then few teams in the state do it better.
Lynden Christian limited the Crimson Hawks (16-5) to 27 percent shooting from the field, forced 19 turnovers, and held Colville to its lowest point total of the season. And after taking a 10-point lead in the first quarter, LC never seemed threatened.
The Lyncs also got an emotional boost with 2:42 left in the game when senior Alli Van Kooten entered the game. Van Kooten, another member of the 2020 state title team, was injured late in the season and wasn’t expected to play at state.
“Our hearts broke for her,” said Bomber, noting Van Kooten’s character and leadership made her a “rock star teammate.”
“This wasn’t what we wanted,” Bomber said of missing the team’s top inside player at state. “We were all very glad that she could put the jersey on one more time.”
Lynden Christian 44, Colville 34
Colville 5 12 6 11—34
Lynden Christian 15 16 6 7—44
Colville: Bayleigh Darnold, Morgan Palmer, Alli Petrey 2, Jordyn True 5, AshNe’a Anderson 8, Ady Darnold, BrookLynn Martin 6, Kaelyn Malone 2, Navae Kinney 2, Mckenna Reggear 9, Eliza Fazzari.
Lynden Christian: Libby Stump 17, Demi Dykstra 2, Taryn Herwerden, Lexi Kaptein, Alexie Hagen, Grace Hintz 18, Charley Dykstra 2, Katrin Fay, Daisy Poag, Reganne Arnold 5, Andi Anderson.
Class 1A state tournament
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Freeman 43, King’s 40 (loser out)
Colville 39, La Center 26 (loser out)
Zillah 57, Toppenish 41 (loser out)
Wapato 68, Seattle Academy 58 (loser out)
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
Montesano 40, Freeman 26
Lynden Christian 44, Colville 34
Cashmere 50, Zillah 45
Nooksack Valley 50, Wapato 37
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Freeman (16-6) vs. Colville (17-5), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Zillah (17-5) vs. Wapato (20-5), 2 p.m. (loser out)
Montesano (21-1) vs. Lynden Christian (20-4), 7:15 p.m.
Cashmere (20-1) vs. Nooksack Valley (20-3), 9 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
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 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.