It wasn’t the game anyone expected, but it was the outcome the Lynden boys basketball team expected.
The Lions shut down high-powered Pullman, 51-34, to win the Class 2A state championship Saturday afternoon in the Yakima Valley SunDome. It was the 11th state title in the school’s storied history.
“This has literally been my dream,” said senior Dawson Adams, who grew up watching his father coach the Lynden girls to three state titles. “It’s amazing. I’ve never felt anything like it.”
The state championship capped a 23-2 season for the second-seeded Lions.
“They played with unbelievable effort for 32 minutes, especially on defense,” said Lynden coach Brian Roper, who has guided the Lions to state titles in 2007, 2012, 2018, and 2019. “I feel really blessed to be their coach.”
Be sure to visit WhatcomHoops.com for stories and photos from the other state games.
This was the first state title for the players on this year’s squad … at least in basketball. Four of them — seniors Kaleo Jandoc and Max Moore and juniors Kobe Baar and Trey Smiley — played on Lynden’s state championship football team last fall.
And the defense the Lynden hoopsters threw at Pullman would have made the Lynden gridders proud.
But even Roper didn’t expect the fourth-seeded Greyhounds, who scored 75 or more points in half their games and scored 69 in a semifinal upset of No.1 North Kitsap, to be held to single digits in three of the four quarters.
“I thought we’d have to score (a lot),” said Roper. I never thought it would be in the 30s.”
“We’re a defensive team,” said senior Jordan Medcalf. “That’s what we do. And we did it to them.”
Credit quick guards Coston Parcher and emotional leader Kaleo Jandoc, who played despite an injured wrist, for hounding Pullman into 2 of 15 shooting from 3-point range.
Credit Kobe Baar, Anthony Canales, and Medcalf for rarely giving Pullman’s wings any daylight and helping the Lions’ to a 39-29 advantage on the boards over the taller Greyhounds.
And credit Adams for making things difficult for Pullman center Grayson Hunt, who at 6-foot-8 had seven inches on Adams.
“We knew it would be tough,” said Adams. “But all year we’ve taken pride in our defense and it really showed today. “
The Lynden senior, who Roper called a 2 guard — “he’s really a stretch 5, but I’ve never heard of that” — outscored Hunt, 15-12, and even outrebounded the Pullman star, 10-8.
It was Adams who kick-started the Lynden offense after the Lions led a sluggish first half, 20-16. He pulled Hunt outside and then hit two 3-pointer in the first minute of the third quarter to turn a tentative four-point margin into a 10-point lead.
And in a game where points were at a premium, the Greyhounds could never make up the difference against Lynden’s pressure man-to-man.
They got the lead down to eight for about 30 seconds midway through the third period before Medcalf hit a pair of free throws and the rout continued.
The Lions built the lead up to 21 in the fourth quarter before the benches emptied to give everyone state experience.
“Every season is a different journey,” said Roper. “It’s even more special when you realize they didn’t have the opportunity last year.”
Adams and Canales finished with 15 points each to lead the Lions in scoring and the two combined for 16 rebounds. For his efforts in all three of Lynden’s state wins, Canales was named the tournament MVP.
Medcalf had 13 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks and with the composure of a PGA pro sinking a putt in the Masters, sank 7 of 8 clutch free throws. He also was named to the all-tournament first team.
“This means everything,” said Medcalf when asked what the state title meant to the town of Lynden. “We have three teams in state championship games. We were just first. And we hope we inspired the other two.”
Lynden 51, Pullman 34
Pullman 5 11 9 9—34
Lynden 9 11 16 15—51
Pullman: Grayson Hunt 12, Payton Rogers 2, Tanner Barbour 4, Jaedyn Brown 9, Champ Powaukee 2, Riley Pettitt 1, Thomas Cole, Lucian Pendry, Tyler Elbracht 2, Dane Sykes 2, Elliot Lee, Austin Hunt..
Lynden: Kaleo Jandoc, Coston Parcher 1, Jordan Medcalf 13, Max Moore, Trey Smiley 2, Dawson Adams 15, Anthony Canales 15, Kobe Baar 4, Cameron Petersen, Brady Elsner, Brent Heppner 1, Lane Simonsen.
Class 2A boys state tournament
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Prosser 72, White River 67 (loser out)
Port Angeles 63, Franklin Pierce 53 (loser out)
Tumwater 66, Grandview 47 (loser out)
Sehome 42, Lakewood 40 (loser out)
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
Pullman 78, Prosser 48
North Kitsap 75, Port Angeles 58
R.A. Long 61, Tumwater 54
Lynden 72, Sehome 60
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Port Angeles 70, Prosser 68 (loser out)
Tumwater 62, Sehome 47 (loser out)
Pullman 69, North Kitsap 53
Lynden 46, R.A. Long 44
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
Tumwater 50, Port Angeles 45 (winner fourth, loser sixth)
North Kitsap 72, R.A. Long 46 (winner third, loser fifth)
Lynden 51, Pullman 34 (winner first, loser second)