Well, obviously Ruby VanderHaak is feeling better … and her Lynden girls team is feeling pretty good, too, after beating Archbishop Murphy, 54-41, to win the Class 2A District 1/2 championship Saturday night.
VanderHaak, who struggled in Friday’s semifinal as she recovered from the flu, played almost the entire game Saturday, hitting three 3-pointers and having a game-high 16 points.
“Yeah, Ruby was healthy and we were feeling better today,” said Lynden coach Rob Adams. “Our intensity and energy was unbelievable.”
The junior guard and her teammates will now have plenty of time to rest. With Friday’s semifinal victory over Burlington-Edison, the Lions clinched a berth in the state tournament and will begin play in the state regionals either next Friday or Saturday, Feb. 22 or 23.
For updates on how our Whatcom County teams are doing in the 1B, 1A, 2A, and 3A tournaments, be sure to keep checking www.whatcomhoops.com.
The opponents and locations will be decided probably on Tuesday after all the other tournaments are done.
The Northwest Conference champion Lions will be joined in the regionals by Archbishop Murphy (19-3), and Anacortes (15-8) and Burlington-Edison (19-4), who will play for third and fourth place on Monday.
Lynden’s victory Saturday improved the Lions’ record to 20-3 and snapped Archbishop Murphy’s 10-game winning streak. They did it by pulling away from a one-point halftime lead with a 36-point second half and by holding the Wildcats to one of their lowest point totals of the season.
As usual, the Lions had a balanced attack with Livia Tjoelker having 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, Anna VanderYacht adding nine points and a team-high three steals, and Keylie Hershey finishing with eight points and five rebounds.
Adams had praise for each of them.
“The play of Anna VanderYacht from start to finish was amazing,” he said. “She did a great (defensive) job on one of their best players. Keylie Hershey did an amazing job facilitating the offense. And Liv Tjoelker, our undersized point guard, led us in rebounding.”
Lynden 54, Archbishop Murphy 41
Lynden 9 9 21 15 — 54
Archbishop Murphy 5 12 13 11 — 41
Lynden: Alexis Holman 2, Livia Tjoelker 10, Anna VanderYacht 9, Blakely Doerge 2, Samantha Villars, Keylie Hershey 8, Keyna Holleman 3, Kyla Bonsen 4, Ruby VanderHaak 16.
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 1/2 GIRLS TOURNAMENT
First round (Thursday, Feb. 7)
Sammamish 71, Blaine 54 (loser out)
Cedarcrest 58, Mountlake Terrace 32 (loser out)
Liberty 44, Sehome 38 (loser out)
Bellingham 49, Sedro-Woolley 46 (loser out)
Second round (Thursday)
Lynden 70, Cedarcrest 44
Burlington-Edison 73, Sammamish 50
Anacortes 55, Liberty 34
Archbishop Murphy 53, Bellingham 35
Consolation games (Friday)
Sammamish 53, Cedarcrest 48 (12-11) (loser out)
Bellingham (9-13) at Liberty (10-12) (loser out)
Lynden 43, Burlington 40 (winner to state)
Archbishop Murphy 58, Anacortes 44 (winner to state)
Consolation semifinal (Saturday)
Anacortes 50, Sammamish 40 (winner to state, loser out)
Burlington-Edison 77, Bellingham 40 (winner to state, loser out)
Championship final (Saturday)
Lynden 54, Archbishop Murphy 41 (winner first, loser second, both to state)
Consolation final (Monday)
Anacortes (15-8) vs. Burlington-Edison (19-4) at Mount Vernon High School, noon (winner third, loser fourth, both to state)
(Full schedule and bracket at nwcathletics.com)
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.