2A Girls State: Lynden Can’t Overcome East Valley (Spokane)

All season long, the Lynden girls basketball team used its depth and shooting to beat teams that were bigger and more physical.

But Thursday night, the Lions’ depth and shooting deserted them as they lost to East Valley (Spokane), 52-42, in the Class 2A state quarterfinals in the Yakima SunDome.

The loss dropped the top-ranked Lions (21-4) into the consolation bracket, where they will play Port Angeles (21-5) at 12:15 p.m. Friday in a loser-out game. A win Friday, however, would give Lynden a top-six trophy, and a chance to play for fourth place on Saturday.

“We’re disappointed to lose,” said Keylie Hershey, who led the Lions with 21 points. “But we’re grateful to be here. Nobody thought we’d be here. And we’re not done.”

For updated stories and pictures from the 1A and 2A state tournaments, keep checking www.whatcomhoops.com.

The first quarter and a half went like the usual Lynden game script. The “little Lions” — who didn’t play anyone taller than 5-foot-8 — took a 10-point lead against the bigger, second-seeded Knights. But a cold spell to end the second quarter let East Valley back within three at the half.

And then, after Hershey started the third period with a jumper, the Lions went the rest of the third quarter with only one more bucket — a Hershey layup — to fall behind by six going into the fourth. That would be as close as Lynden would get as the Knights hit their free throws in a 20-point fourth quarter to keep the Lions at bay.

“We played tremendously hard,” said Lynden coach Rob Adams. “Our effort was tremendous. But we didn’t play smart. And we didn’t handle adversity. It stings because we know we didn’t play the way we can.”

The effort was shown in rebounding, where the smaller Lions managed to hold a 39-27 edge. Hershey, Liv Tjoelker and Keyna Holleman had eight rebounds each, and Holleman also had three assists and two steals to lead Lynden.
But the usually stingy Lynden defense gave up its most points since Dec. 27, and the usually sharp-shooting Lions only hit 29 percent of their shots and were only 5 of 22 from 3-point range.

Perhaps the most uncharacteristic stat was Lynden’s unbalanced scoring. Besides Hershey’s great game — “She proved to everybody she’s the real deal,” said Adams — and Ruby VanderHaak’s 10 points, no other Lion scored more than three points.

“If shots aren’t falling, you have to find different ways to score,” said Hershey. ”But it’s not over. We have very high expectations. We’re not done.”

Adams, too, was looking forward to Friday’s game with Port Angeles.

“I told them if we win tomorrow, we’re one of the top six teams in the state,” said Adams. “But you better be ready because Port Angeles doesn’t care. We talk about being tougher together. Well, we’ll find out tomorrow.”

East Valley (Spokane) 52, Lynden 42
East Valley (Spokane)          8        11        13        20 — 52
Lynden                                   14         8          4        16 — 42

East Valley (Spokane): RGenesis Wilkinson 13, Holly Flynn 16, Brie Holecek 5, Hannah Rowland 6, Faith Adams 10, Malaya Green , Destiny Hillyard, Ellie Stowell 2.

Lynden: Alexis Holman 2, Liv Tjoelker 2, Anna VanderYacht 2, Blakely Doerge 3, Samantha Villars, Keylie Hershey 21, Keyna Holleman 2, Kyla Bonsen, Ruby VanderHaak 10. 

Shooting: FG—EV 18-37 48.6, Lyn 15-51 29.4; FT— EV 12-20 60.0, Lyn 7-13 53.8; 3 PT—EV 4-11 36.4 (Rowland 2, Adams 2), Lyn 5-22 22.7 (Hershey 4, Doerge 1). Rebounds: EV 27 (Wilkinson 9), Lyn 39 (Tjoelker 8, Hershey 8, Holleman 8). Fouls: EV 13, Lyn 17. Assists: EV 10 (Flynn 4), Lyn 5 (Holleman 3). Turnovers: EV 17, Lyn 17. Blocks: EV 2 (Wilkinson 1, Hillyard 1), Lyn 1 (Hershey 1). Steals: EV 6 (Hillyard 2), Lyn 8 (Holleman 2, VanderHaak 2).

CLASS 2A GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT
(With RPI seedings)
Regionals (Friday)
#14 Sequim 54, #11 Foster 44 (loser out)

Regionals (Saturday)
#7 Washougal 52, #2 East Valley (Spokane) 45
#3 Clarkston 61, #6 Port Angeles 35
#4 White River 49, #5 Archbishop Murphy 41
#9 Burlington-Edison (19-4) 53, #16 Renton 42 (loser out)
#13 Black Hills 52, #12 Grandview 37 (loser out)
#10 Anacortes 65, #15 North Kitsap 49 (loser out)
#1 Lynden 66, #8 W.F. West 45

At Yakima SunDome
State play-in games (Wednesday)
Port Angeles 57, Sequim 47 (loser out)
East Valley (Spokane) 61, Anacortes 23 (loser out)
Black Hills 60, Archbishop Murphy 47 (loser out)
W.F. West 57, Burlington-Edison 43 (loser out)

Quarterfinals (Thursday)
White River 60, Port Angeles 55
East Valley (Spokane) 52, Lynden 42
Clarkston 42, Black Hills 28
Washougal 49, W.F. West 39

Consolation semifinals (Friday)
Port Angeles (21-5) vs. Lynden (21-4), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)
Black Hills (18-9) vs. W.F. West (18-8), 2 p.m. (loser out)

Semifinals (Friday)
White River (25-3) vs. East Valley (Spokane) (21-4), 7:15 p.m.
Clarkston (24-2) vs. Washougal (21-4), 9 p.m.

Fourth-sixth place game (Saturday)
9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final (Saturday)
1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game (Saturday)
7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

(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.

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