The third time was a lot closer, but it was not the charm for the Sehome boys basketball team.
The Mariners again fell to their nemesis, the Lynden Lions, in the Class 2A state quarterfinals, 72-60, on Thursday night in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The victory puts the second-seeded Lions in a familiar place: the state semifinals, where they will face third-seed R.A. Long on Friday at 9 p.m. with a spot in the state championship game at stake.
“We worked too hard not to come this far,” said Lynden sophomore Anthony Canales, who had a game-high 29 points. “This has been a dream of mine.”
Be sure to visit WhatcomHoops.com for stories and photos from the other state games.
The eighth-seeded Mariners, meanwhile, will take on fifth-seed Tumwater in a loser-out consolation game on Friday at 2 p.m. Win that and they are guaranteed a top-six trophy.
But on Thursday, it was another tough loss to Lynden, which raised its record to 21-2. The Lions beat Sehome in a regular-season contest by 24 and in the district final by 27. This one was different.
Lynden couldn’t miss early and put together a 26-point first quarter. But Sehome ended up tying it up at 26. Lynden went up by 17 in the third quarter, but the Mariners cut it down to single digits in the fourth period.
And when Sehome had one last comeback in the final minutes, Canales hit a free throw, junior Coston Parcher hit all four of his free throws, and senior Kaleo Jandoc hit two more to ice the game.
“They seemed to respond to all our buckets,” said Sehome junior Grey Garrison. “I was proud of how we fought back. Now we want to play on Saturday.”
Joining Canales in double figures were Parcher with 12 and senior Dawson Adams with 11. Senior Jordan Medcalf added 9 points. Canales led Lynden with 7 rebounds, and Jandoc had 4 assists and 3 steals.
The Mariners, who fell to 16-8 with the loss, got balanced scoring from junior Grant Kepley (15 points), senior Gavin Ortega (14 points), junior Mathew Storms (14 points), and Garrison (8 points). Ortega and Kepley also had 8 and 7 rebounds, respectively.
Lynden coach Brian Roper knew Thursday’s game wouldn’t be like the previous Sehome matchups.
“I expected a game like this,” he said of the hard-fought battle. “They certainly weren’t afraid of us.”
And now the Lions are looking to retrieve the state championship trophy they held in 2018 and 2019 before losing to eventual state champion North Kitsap in the 2020 semifinals.
“We’re excited to be in the final four,” said Roper. “These guys play for each other and they’re not afraid of the moment. We’ll give it our best shot.”
Lynden 72, Sehome 60
Sehome 19 13 11 17—60
Lynden 26 18 11 17—72
Sehome: Isaac Lawrence 5, Eli Daheim, Grey Garrison 8, Austin McKay, Kai Swanson, Mathew Storms 14, Braddock Duckworth, Gavin Ortega 14, Dane Dominguez 4, Grant Kepley 15, Austin McKay, Kai Swanson, Nathan Eisses, Habib Bello.
Lynden: Kaleo Jandoc 5, Coston Parcher 12, Cameron Petersen, Brady Elsner, Jordan Medcalf 9, Max Moore, Trey Smiley, Dawson Adams 11, Anthony Canales 29, Brant Heppner, Kobe Baar 6, 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
Prosser (15-11) vs. Port Angeles (19-7), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Tumwater (20-6) vs. Sehome (16-8), 2 p.m. (loser out)
Pullman (22-2) vs. North Kitsap (23-3), 7:15 p.m.
Lynden (21-2) vs. R.A. Long (21-2), 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, 3 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.