The Lynden Christian boys basketball team opens against a familiar foe when the Class 1A State Invitational tips off Wednesday afternoon, June 30, at Cedar Park Christian High School in Bothell.
The Lyncs (12-1) take on the Freeman Scotties (13-1) in the first game of what is basically the “unofficial” 1A state tournament. The 2 p.m. contest will be the first of four games on Wednesday in the eight-team, double-elimination event.
“It’s for the kids … to have something that at least says we could go forward with the season, and there’s something to play for,” said LC coach Tim Zylstra. “And I’m jacked. If we weren’t in it, I’d probably still go down and watch.”
While the LC-Freeman game is a rematch of the 2018 state championship game about the only thing that will be the same are the uniforms. Both teams have new head coaches, and none of the current seniors were on the varsity squads in 2018, when LC won the state title, 82-45.
“It’s kind of fun because we’re familiar with them from the state tournament,” said Zylstra. “You know they’re a good team. There’s some history there, some tradition on both sides, one from the west and one from the eastside.”
For a preview of all eight teams in the invitational, click on State Invitational Team Previews.
Lynden Christian finished atop the Northwest Conference and comes into the invitational as the fourth seed, its only loss being to the top-seed, Seattle Academy.
Freeman won the Northeast 1A League and is the No.5 seed. Freeman’s only loss was to Deer Park, a defeat the Scotties avenged in the league tournament title game.
“What makes this team special is our cohesiveness and playing together on both ends of the floor,” said Freeman coach Kyle Olson. “Freeman is one of the smallest 1A schools in the state, and these boys have grown up together through elementary and middle school playing AAU together.”
Below are the tournament schedule and information for fans attending the tournament.
Class 1A Boys State Invitational
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30
#5 Freeman vs. #4 Lynden Christian, 2 p.m.
#8 Chelan vs. #1 Seattle Academy, 4 p.m.
#6 Toppenish vs. #3 King’s, 6 p.m.
#7 Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) vs. #2 Life Christian, 8 p.m.
THURSDAY, JULY 1
Freeman-LC loser vs. Chelan-Seattle Academy loser, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Toppenish-King’s loser vs. Cedar Park Christian-Life Christian loser, 4 p.m. (loser out)
Freeman-LC winner vs. Chelan-Seattle Academy winner, 6 p.m.
Toppenish-King’s winner vs. Cedar Park Christian-Life Christian winner, 8 p.m.
FRIDAY, JULY 2
Consolation bracket winners, 3 p.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Semifinal losers, 5 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)
Fans’ Guide To The State Invitational
Directions: Google Maps link
Parking: Anywhere on the Cedar Park Christian campus. The gym is located in the high school at the south end of the campus.
Gym capacity: 1,000. The gym will be cleared after each game to let in fans for the next contest. Tickets must be purchased for each game.
COVID restrictions: Masks are NOT required, and there will be NO limit on attendance.
Tickets: Purchased at the door only. The cost to attend each game is $5 for adults and $4 for students under 18. Children 5 and under are free. Cash or debit cards will be accepted.
Concessions: The Best of Both Worlds food truck will be on site. Food and beverages will be allowed inside the gym. (But pick up your trash, please.)
Programs: Free roster sheets will be available for all fans and will include game results from the 2021 season.
Broadcast: All the games will be live streamed with play-by-play expected to be provided for all games. Click on State Invitational Livestream. The cost is $10.99 for a day pass.
Extras: A custom apparel business will be on site selling State Invitational merchandise. A tourney photographer also will be onside, and fans can order game photos from his website.
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.