After a season that includes bi-district and district championships and 23 victories — so far — the Lynden Christian girls basketball team finds itself in exactly the same place against exactly the same opponent as it did last year.
The second-seeded Lyncs (23-1) will face No.7 Annie Wright (17-5) in the regional round of the Class 1A state tournament on Friday at 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School.
This was the same scenario Lynden Christian had last year when the Lyncs beat the Gators, 77-59, on the way to a second-place finish at state.
And anyone who was at last year’s game will remember Annie Wright guard Julianna Walker, who tossed in bombs from everywhere to score 38 points. And yup, she’s back. Jazmyn Stone, the Gators’ other all-star guard, tore her ACL earlier this season, however, and is not expected to play.
“Yeah, we held her (Walker) to 38 points,” joked Lynden Christian coach Brady Bomber. “She runs the show and is scoring 37 a game. With a player that good, you can’t take away everything (she does). But at the end of the day, it’s our score against their score.”
This year, the Lyncs have almost always been on the winning end of the score even against a schedule that includes 2A state powers Lynden and Burlington-Edison, 4A state qualifier Lake Stevens and four teams in the 1A state tournament. The Lyncs’ only loss was to undefeated and No.1-ranked Class 4A Woodinville by seven.
With senior guard Riley Dykstra again playing at an all-state level, and a deep, tall and athletic roster that is playing its best defense of the year, LC will be shooting for its fourth state championship in the past seven years.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have class after class of talented kids,” said Bomber. “We’ve been able to sustain the loss of talented players. We have seven girls back that played at state last year, and a lot have been in playoff soccer, volleyball and track meets.”
Win or lose Saturday, the Lyncs are guaranteed a spot in the state tournament at the Yakima SunDome. If they win, they would get a bye into the second round on Thursday, March 5, at 9 p.m. and play the winner of a game between the Zillah-Cascade Christian winner and the Cashmere-Nooksack Valley loser.
If LC were to lose, they would play Wednesday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of the Okanogan- Meridian regional game.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN LYNCS
Record: 23-1, No.1-seed out of Bi-District 1/2
State seeding: #2 (#2 state RPI ranking)
Starters: Riley Dykstra, G, Sr., 5-10; Liv Mellema, F, Sr., 5-11; Kiley Roetcisoender, G, Jr., 5-7; Emily Mellema, G, Jr., 5-10; Lexi Hernandez, F, Jr., 6-0.
Reserves: Libby Stump, G, So., 5-7; Demi Dykstra, G, Fr., 5-5; Paige TeVelde, G, Jr., 5-7; Lexi Kaptein, F, So., 5-10; Kenadi Fay, F, Jr., 5-10; Alli VanKooten, F, So., 5-10; Charley Dykstra, G, So., 5-7.
CLASS 1A GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT
Friday, Feb. 28
#2 Lynden Christian vs. #7 Annie Wright, 8 p.m., at Mount Vernon
#4 Freeman vs. #5 La Salle, 8 p.m., at West Valley (Spokane)
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 Wenatche