Yes, the Northwest Conference Future All-Stars girls game was fun, but don’t let the smiles fool you … these girls wanted to win.
“We all came out with the mindset that we’re winning … and we came together and did it,” said Ferndale junior Brianna Byrnes after her Team Black held on for a 78-73 victory Friday night at Lynden High School’s Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
“It was really fun, not too much pressure … but it definitely was competitive,” said Byrnes, who had 14 points.
For more photos from the game, be sure to check out the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
Lynden Christian sophomore Lexi Hernandez scored 13 in the first half to help Team Black take a 22-point lead, and she finished with 15 points to take MVP honors in the game.
“We wanted to just play for fun,” she said. As for winning the MVP award and the Cloud 9 sweatshirt that went with it, “That was really awesome, super cool.”
Fun was pretty much the theme of the game as the juniors, sophomores and even four freshmen got to play their final game of the school season.
“It was great to play one last game with my teammates,” said Lynden junior Keylie Hershey, who led Team White with 21 points, including four 3-pointers.
It was the 3-pointers — six of them, in fact — that brought Team White back from the 22-point deficit to cut the margin to five in the final minute. But that was as close as it would get.
“I didn’t even notice we had come back,” said Meridian junior Jolee Sipma, who showed she was serious by scoring eight points and collecting four fouls. “I was like, ‘How did we do that?’”
Sophomore Emily Mellema, one of four LC players in the game, led Team Black with 16 points, and freshman teammate Libby Stump added 10.
Ruby VanderHaak, one of four Lynden juniors in the game, had 12 points and pretty much summed up the night for all the players: “It was just fun playing with everybody.”
Team Black 78, Team White 73
Team Black 46 32 — 78
Team White 24 49 — 73
Team Black: Libby Stump (fr., LC) 10, Ashley Thomas (jr., Fern.) 8, Emily Mellema (so., LC) 16, Kiley Roetcisoender (so., LC) 3, McKenna Wichers (fr., NV) 0, Maya Galley (so., NV) 2, Lacie Petitclerc (fr., Anac.) 4, Abby Yost (jr. MB) 0, Jamie Johnson (jr., Fern.) 6, Brianna Byrnes (jr., Fern.) 14, Lexi Hernandez (so., LC) 15.
Team White: Grace Schroder (jr., Squal.) 4, Kali Hizlip (fr., Squal.) 9, Anna VanderYacht (jr., Lyn.) 3, Keylie Hershey (jr., Lyn) 21, Adi McKay (jr., Bell.) 4, Nichole Adams (jr., Squal.) 3, Ruby VanderHaak (jr., Lyn.) 12, Keyna Holleman (jr., Lyn.) 2, Alexa Mee (jr., Bell.) 2, Katie King (jr., Burl.) 5, Jolee Sipma (jr., Mer.) 8.
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.