The last two times the Lynden Christian and King’s boys basketball teams met the games went down to the final seconds with the winner claiming a state championship. Not on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 3.
The Lyncs and Knights met in a meaningless, non-league game that host Lynden Christian won handily, 73-55. Well, not quite meaningless.
“It always means a lot,” said LC senior Tyler Sipma, who played in the Class 1A state final the Lyncs won last March and the state final the Knights won in OT in 2020. “It’s a rivalry: King’s and LC. It’s early in the season, but it’s good to win.”
Both teams graduated stars but return enough talent for Lynden Christian to be ranked No.1 and King’s to be No.3 in the Scorebook Live 1A preseason poll. So Saturday was a good test, and the Lyncs passed with flying colors.
Two LC runs proved to be the difference. The first came after King’s went up by seven early in the second quarter, but a 13-point swing to finish off the half gave the Lyncs a six-point lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
When it looked like Lynden Christian would make it a rout going up by 17 in the third quarter, the proud Knights hit a barrage of 3s to cut the LC lead to 54-47 with about five minutes left in the game. Then came the Lyncs’ second big run.
Junior Dawson Bouma hit a layup, senior Lane Dykstra made three free throws, Bouma hit a jumper, junior big man Jeremiah Wright sank two free throws and when Dykstra sank two more free throws to finish off a 13-0 run, the lead was back up to 20 with just under three minutes left.
“Other guys have got to step up,” said LC coach Tim Zylstra. “It was nice to see two guys (Bouma and Dykstra) who are mostly in for defense and rebounding come through.”
Most of the Lyncs came through with eight different players scoring. Wright led the way with 21 points and was 7-for-8 from the line. Sipma added 16 points, senior Griffin Dykstra had 12, including a pair of 3s, and Bouma had 11 points.
King’s was led by its all-state sophomore guard Cameron Hiatt, who had 21 points. Junior Nick Linhardt managed 10 points, but the Lyncs defense limited the Knights to 20 points in the middle two quarters to take control of the contest.
Saturday’s game actually was not supposed to happen. As part of a four-team tournament, King’s played Blaine on Friday, escaping with a two-point win, and was scheduled to play Nooksack Valley on Saturday. But because of the Pioneers’ late-season football success, their basketball team backed out leaving the Knights looking for an opponent. The Lyncs were happy to oblige.
“Once we scheduled them about a week ago, we were looking forward to it,” said Griffin Dykstra, who along with Sipma was LC’s only returning starter from last year’s state championship squad. “You get to play another top team in the state and find out we’re you’re at.”
Zylstra liked where his team was at especially after a close win over 3A Stadium in Tuesday’s season-opener.
“It’s fun to play another good program like King’s,” said Zylstra, whose 2-0 squad is at Class 2A power Burlington-Edison on Tuesday. “It’s always a challenge every time for both teams. We have a lot of respect for their program. But our goal is to get better each day because we’ll be tested in the Northwest Conference.”
And if recent history is any indication, the Lyncs will be tested at state. In the last four trips to Yakima, they’ve won two state titles, finished second, and placed fourth.
“Our goal is to win another state title,” said Sipma. “This is what we’re working for from Day 1.”
Lynden Christian 73, King’s 55
King’s 16 8 12 19—55
Lynden Christian 15 15 20 23—73
King’s: Adams 3, Cooper 3, Smith 8, Campbell, Myers, Christensen, Linhardt 10, Pepsny, Armbruster, Hiatt 21, Boyce 5, Cramer, Myers 5.
Lynden Christian: Sipma 16, Ga. Dykstra 3, Bouma 11, Zylstra 1, Gr. Dykstra 12, L. Dykstra 5, Paxton, Kuik 4, Blair, Wright 21.