2A Girls Regional: Lynden Shuts Down White River, 53-29

None of the players on the Lynden girls basketball team have advanced past the opening round of the Class 2A state tournament, and the Lions learned what it takes when they faced White River.

Fortunately, the Lions are quick learners as they swatted away the Hornets in the state regionals, 53-29, on Friday night, Feb. 23, in Jake Maberry Gymnasium at Lynden High School.

The victory sends second-seeded Lynden (24-1) directly to the state quarterfinals in the Yakima SunDome on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m., when they will face the winner of Wednesday’s loser-out contest between eighth seed Columbia River and ninth seed Ridgefield.

“I’m super excited,” said freshman Lexi Hermanutz of her first trip to Yakima as a player. “It’s the path we want to be on. We’re in a good spot.”

For the Essential Fans Guide to the Class 2A boys and girls state tournaments, check out Fans Guide.

The Lions are right where they want to be, but it wasn’t easy Friday night. The physical Hornets not only reached the state semifinals last year and placed fifth, but they upset Lynden in the regional round leading to an early state exit for the Lions.

So Lynden coach Rob Adams expected a rough contest from the perennial state contenders, who had won 15 of their last 16 games.

“They taught us a lesson on what it takes to play in the state semifinals,” said Adams. “The energy, the physicality. It took our group 16 minutes to realize this is how it is in big-girl basketball.”

The Lions might not have been prepared to be pushed around, but they certainly were ready to play some tough defense of their own.

They held seventh-seeded White River to only two points in the second quarter and 10 in the first half, and didn’t allow any Hornet to score more than six points. And the Hornets’ previous low before Friday? Forty-seven points in an 11-point loss to — you guessed it — Lynden back in December.

And while the Lions’ shots weren’t falling in the defensive battle, they got more than enough scoring thanks to some unexpected youngsters.

Hermanutz — the “other” freshman — came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points. Another reserve, sophomore Rian Stephan, had 8 points.

“I didn’t know how well we’d handle it … getting knocked around,” said Adams. “But Rian and Lexi, this is kind of their environment. Nothing phases them. I think it excited them.”

The Lions also got points from their usual scorers. Sophomore Payton Mills had 10 points, freshman star Finley Parcher had 9 points, and senior Haylee Koetje had 6 points.

“I’m so happy,” said Mills. “We got our revenge. But it’s a new game, a new team, a new coach. Everything is completely different. We’re very ready (for Yakima).”

Adams, who resigned after leading the Lions to the 2020 state title, also was looking forward to returning to the SunDome, especially with a team that will already be heading into unexplored territory.

“It’s a testament to this group that’s never played on Thursday (in the state tournament),” said Adams. “They earned it. And we’re not finished.”

White River (20-4), meanwhile, will play a loser-out contest on Wednesday in the SunDome against the winner of Saturday’s North Kitsap-Sammamish game.

Lynden 53, White River 29

White River       8       2       14         5—29

Lynden             12       8       14       19—53

White River: A. Klemkow, Banks 4, Bright 2, Schmitz 5, Green, Jacobs 3, Froemke 3, E. Klemkow, Sprouse 3, Kingston 6, Voellger, Ross-Soler 3.

Lynden: Villars 2, K. Newcomb, Bowler, VanderYacht, R. Newcomb, Slayton, Stephan 8, Hermanutz 14, Koetje 6, York 4, Parcher 9, Mills 10.


Friday, Feb. 23

Lynden 53, White River 29 (both to state tournament)

Ridgefield 59, Kingston 46 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Ellensburg 69, Columbia River 25 (both to state tournament)

Archbishop Murphy 58, W.F. West 55 (both to state tournament)

Saturday, Feb. 24

Prosser 49, Clarkston 43 (both to state tournament)

Enumclaw 45, Mark Morris 38 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Sammamish 55, North Kitsap 28 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

West Valley (Spokane) 48, Port Angeles 41 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

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