Essential Fans Guide: Class 2A State Tournaments

The Lynden High School basketball programs are among the most celebrated in the state, yet despite a trophy case full of state hardware, the Lynden boys and girls have never accomplished one thing: They’ve never won state titles in the same year.

This week, when the two squads head to Yakima’s SunDome for the Class 2A state tournaments, they’ll be among the favorites to bring home state championships.

The Lynden boys, with 12 state crowns in both the 2A and 1A ranks, are the two-time defending state champions and will carry a big target on their green and gold backs as the top seed in a talent-packed field.

The Lynden girls, with three state titles of their own, are the second seed behind two-time state champion Ellensburg and are being picked as one of the few teams with a chance of upsetting the Bulldogs.

Here’s a look at both Lynden teams and both tournaments: 

Whatcom Hoops February-26-2024
Coach Rob Adams has the Lions excited for Yakima.


Record: 24-1 (#2 seed)

First game: Thursday, 2 p.m., versus winner of Wednesday’s game between Ridgefield and Columbia River

Starters: Mallary Villars, G, Sr., 5-7; Haylee Koetje, G, Sr., 5-10; Kiki York, G, Jr., 5-9; Finley Parcher, G, Fr., 6-1; Payton Mills, P, So., 6-2

Reserves: Kalanie Newcomb, G, Sr., 5-7; Degitu Bowler, G, So., 5-7; Mya VanderYacht, G, Sr., 5-2; Rihanna Newcomb, G., So., 5-5; Jules Slayton, G, So., 5-6; Rian Stephan, F, So., 6-2; Lexi Hermanutz, G, Fr., 5-10

Team preview: The Lions have all the pieces — size, quickness, shooters — and they’ve been spending all year putting them together. Well, time’s up and Lynden seems to be coming together at the perfect time. Their defense is intimidating, their offense can explode at any time. Their seniors provide leadership and youngsters Finley Parcher and Payton Mills are as skilled anyone in the tournament. They’ve manhandled everyone since the loss to Nooksack Valley and they’ll get their chance to prove they are one of the best in the state.

State outlook: The discussion of favorites should start and end with No.1-ranked Ellensburg, the two-time champion and owner of a 72-game winning streak. But the Bulldogs will need to get by a scrappy White River club and then either W.F. West or Prosser, both of which will be looking to avenge earlier losses to Ellensburg. And should the Bulldogs’ streak reach 74, the biggest obstacle of them all will no doubt be standing in their way in the state finals: Lynden. Be prepared for a 2A classic championship game. 

Coach Rob Adams: “Our goal every year is to play in the last day of the season and we have given ourselves a chance to do that. We have talked a lot this season about collective responsibility, standards, enthusiasm, pride, and the next play — and how these core covenants make up the culture of our program. There are several teams capable of winning it, so it should make for an exciting tournament. We have such a tremendous fan base, including the support of our cheer squad and pep band. As always our mantra is ‘survive and advance,’ and that’s what we are going to try and do.”


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)


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

#14 West Valley (Spokane) (14-9) vs. #3 W.F. West (20-4), 9 a.m. (loser out)

#10 Sammamish (16-7) vs. #7 White River (20-4), 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

#12 Enumclaw (16-8) vs. #5 Clarkston (23-1), 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

#9 Ridgefield (21-3) vs. #8 Columbia River (18-7), 2 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

West Valley (Spokane)-W.F. West winner vs. #4 Prosser (20-5), 9 a.m.

Sammamish-White River winner vs. #1 Ellensburg (22-0), 10:30 a.m.

Enumclaw-Clarkston winner vs. #6 Archbishop Murphy (20-5), 12:15 p.m.

Ridgefield-Columbia River winner vs. #2 Lynden (24-1), 2 p.m.

Friday, March 1

Consolation game, 9 a.m. (loser out)

Consolation game, 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

Semifinal, 3:45 p.m.

Semifinal, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 4

Consolation game, 8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final, 11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game, 5 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

Whatcom Hoops February-26-2024
Coach Brian Roper and the Lions’ brain trust prepare the boys.


Record: 21-4 (#1 seed)

First game: Thursday, 5:30 p.m., versus winner of Wednesday’s game between Sammamish and Rogers (Spokane)

Starters: Brady Elsner, G, Sr., 6-1; Charlie Ayres, G, Sr., 5-11; Anthony Canales, G, Sr., 6-4; Brant Heppner, F, Jr., 6-6; Jack Stapleton, F, Jr., 6-6

Reserves: Weston Van Dalen, G, Sr., 6-1; Kael Stapleton, G, Sr., 6-2; Dani Bowler, G, So., 5-10; Ty Holleman, P, Sr., 6-7; Gordy Bedlington, G, Fr., 5-11; Spencer Adams, G, So., 6-3; Ty Jorgensen, F, So., 6-4

Team preview: Whatever the secret is to playing your best at state, Lynden has figured it out. They are 19-1 in the last five state tournaments with four state titles. They also have the usual Lions team that specializes in defense and rebounding, and with two-time tournament MVP Anthony Canales, they have enough firepower to score on anybody. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, not even a third straight state crown, something that Lynden has never done in its storied history.   

State outlook: Despite Lynden’s dominance since 2018, the 2A ranks are often filled with talented, athletic teams, all with shots at winning the gold ball. And this tournament is no exception. The running Greyhounds of Grandview are once again back among the state elite, Lynden rival North Kitsap had a 15-game winning streak snapped in a one-point loss to Renton, and the Redhawks have won 11 games in a row and remember last year’s embarrassing loss to the Lions in regionals. And don’t forget Anacortes, which is waiting for another crack at the Lions. If Lynden wins it, they’ll have earned it.

Coach Brian Roper: “Our school and program have been to state many times, but this particular team has never been to the state tournament together, and so they are as excited as any team before them. Our approach is that of a fun business trip. Our players buy into the fact that we have a job to do. We always believe that going through the Northwest Conference gauntlet prepares us for tough opponents at state.”


Friday, Feb. 23

Lynden 74, Prosser 59 (both to state tournament)

Pullman 61, Enumclaw 44 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Grandview 72, Rogers (Spokane) 63 (both to state tournament)

North Kitsap 58, Mark Morris 48 (both to state tournament)

Saturday, Feb. 24

Bremerton 51, R.A. Long 43 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Sammamish 70, W.F. West 63 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Renton 73, Anacortes 66 (both to state tournament)

Columbia River 55, White River 52 (winner to state tournament, loser out)


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

#11 Bremerton (17-6) vs. #6 Mark Morris (19-6), 3:45 p.m. (loser out)

#10 Sammamish (18-8) vs. #7 Rogers (Spokane) (16-6), 5:30 p.m. (loser out)

#12 Columbia River (17-7) vs. #5 Anacortes (20-6), 7:15 p.m. (loser out)

#9 Pullman (17-6) vs. #8 Prosser (17-9), 9 p.m. (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

Bremerton-Mark Morris winner vs. #4 Renton (19-6), 3:45 p.m. 

Sammamish-Rogers (Spokane) winner vs. #1 Lynden (21-4), 5:30 p.m.

Columbia River-Anacortes winner vs. #3 North Kitsap (21-4), 7:15 p.m.

Pullman-Prosser winner vs. #2 Grandview (23-3), 9 p.m.

Friday, March 1

Consolation game, 12:15 p.m. (loser out)

Consolation game, 2 p.m. (loser out)

Semifinal, 7:15 p.m.

Semifinal, 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 2

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 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.

You can support our student-athletes, teams, and schools
by using the businesses that support Whatcom Hoops.

Want to advertise your business? Click here for advertising options.