1A Regional: LC Girls Slow Walker, Run To Big Win

Once again, the Lynden Christian girls basketball team took on one of the state’s best scorers, and once again, the Lyncs won.

Like last year, Lynden Christian dominated Annie Wright and all-stater Julianna Walker in the Class 1A regional round of state with an impressive 76-49 victory on Friday night, Feb. 28, at Mount Vernon High School.

With Saturday’s victory, the Lyncs (24-1) earned a bye into the state quarterfinals at the Yakima SunDome. They play next on Thursday, March 5, at 9 p.m. against the winner of a game between the Zillah-Cascade Christian winner and the Cashmere-Nooksack Valley loser.

Follow Whatcom Hoops on Facebook for more photos from the game.

In last year’s regional contest, the Lyncs won by 18 despite Walker’s 37 points. This year, the junior guard is averaging about that same amount, but was held to 30 by the Lyncs.

“I thought we did a better job this year making Julianna’s shots more difficult,” said LC coach Brady Bomber. “We had four girls on her, and all four did really well.”

And when Bomber said the Lyncs had four girls on Walker, he didn’t mean at the same time, although it probably seemed that way to Walker, who was constantly being shadowed and harassed by a pack of Lyncs.

Guards Emily Mellema, Kiley Roetcisoender and Libby Stump and forward Liv Mellema all took turns guarding Walker. And while Walker still managed to score, it was only because she managed to hit 25-footers with a hand in her face.

“It was tiring,” said Liv Mellema of chasing Walker. But as her first cousin Emily correctly pointed out about Walker’s 30-point outburst, “It’s better than 37.”

More than half of Walker’s points came in the fourth quarter, which was way too late to make a difference. By then the Lyncs had used a 21-3 run in the first half and a 20-3 third quarter to take a 31-point lead.

“We were breaking the press and getting the shots up that we needed,” said Emily of LC’s fastbreak, which made the Gators pay time and time again.

The scoring was spread around with senior forward Riley Dykstra leading LC with 18 points, Stump coming off the bench for 15, Emily Mellema tossing in 10, Liv Mellema and Lexi Hernandez adding 9 each, and Paige TeVelde having 7.

It was that balanced scoring, a 53-23 rebounding dominance in the paint, and physical defense that snapped Annie Wright’s 11-game winning streak and dropped the Gators to 17-6.

And now it’s back to the SunDome for Lynden Christian … for the fourth time for the Lyncs’ two seniors — Liv Mellema and Dykstra.

“It’s one of the funnest places to play,” said Mellema, who admitted she barely got in as a freshman. “It’s just bittersweet knowing it will be our last one.”

Lynden Christian 76, Annie Wright 49
Annie Wright                                 9    16      3    21—49
Lynden Christian                         13    21    23    19—76

Annie Wright: Julianna Walker 30, Savannah Hill 1, Tara Hutchinson, Bella Spencer 6, Paisley Cristobal, Claire Sagiao 2, Kayla Mathurin, Rae Wartelle 2, Tala Mitchell 8, Monee Dubose

Lynden Christian: Libby Stump 15, Paige TeVelde 7, Kiley Roetcisoender 2, Riley Dykstra 18, Liv Mellema 9, Emily Mellema 10, Lexi Hernandez 9, Kenadi Fay 4, Alli VanKooten 2.

CLASS 1A GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT

Regional round
Friday, Feb. 28
Lynden Christian 76, Annie Wright 49
La Salle 56, Freeman 32

Saturday, Feb. 29
#3 Warden vs. #6 King’s, noon, Big Bend CC in Moses Lake
#11 Seattle Academy vs. #14 Montesano, noon, at Issaquah
#12 Elma vs. #13 Deer Park, noon, at Tumwater

#10 Okanogan vs. #15 Meridian, 2 p.m., at Wenatchee
#9 Zillah vs. #16 Cascade Christian, 4 p.m., at Davis HS in Yakima

#1 Cashmere vs. #8 Nooksack Valley, 6 p.m., at Wenatchee