Final possessions. They proved valuable for the Lynden Christian boys basketball team and costly for Ferndale as the Lyncs stayed unbeaten with a 73-65 victory over the visiting Golden Eagles on Tuesday night, Dec. 21.
“We try to tell them records don’t mean anything,” said Lynden Christian coach Tim Zylstra, whose team raised its record to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Northwest Conference. “Tonight we got tested, but they responded.”
For the Golden Eagles it was another frustrating loss against another good team. Ferndale fell to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in league, but for the third game in a row, the game came down to the final minute.
“Three possessions destroyed us,” said Ferndale coach Jason Owens. “We were playing a veteran team that understands winning. We competed until the end and played really hard. I’m so proud of them.”
The game was a back-and-forth battle throughout. The Golden Eagles led by one after one quarter, Ferndale’s Luke Wells’s 3-pointer at the buzzer tied the game at halftime, and the Golden Eagles rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to take the lead again on Jesse Sapp’s layup with one second left in the period.
The Lyncs again pulled ahead by six with 2:14 to go on two Tyler Sipma free throws, but the Golden Eagles had one last rally. Sean Morrison made a layup and Wells hit another 3-pointer, and LC’s lead was back to one with 1:30 to go.
Then came the final possessions.
Lynden Christian senior William Colwell got an offensive rebound and was fouled, sinking both free throws with 1:14 left. Jazen Guillory made a layup with a minute to go to bring Ferndale back to within 66-65, but LC senior Crew Bosman hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 30 seconds left to push the lead up to four.
When Ferndale was forced to foul in the final seconds, Lyncs juniors Griffin Dykstra and Sipma each sank two free throws for the final margin.
“They really brought it to us, and we had to battle through the whole game,” said Bosman, who led the Lyncs with 15 points. “We know we need to fight hard every game. Every team brings their best.”
It may not have been Ferndale’s best but it was pretty good thanks to their five starting seniors. Mark Schlichting led the Golden Eagles with 18 points and four 3-pointers, Sapp had 15 points, Guillory 10, Morrison 9, and Wells 8, including two of Ferndale’s eight 3s.
“We’ve been talking about how it comes down to one or two possessions,” said Schlichting. “Today was definitely one of our most complete games. Our record doesn’t show how well we’ve been playing.”
For the Lyncs, it was a test they needed having beaten their six previous foes by an average of 28.5 points. They passed thanks to another balanced scoring attack.
Besides Bosman’s 15 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers, senior Andrew Hommes had 13 points, Sipma had 12, Dykstra and sophomore Jeremiah Wright had 10 each, and senior Jamison Hintz had 8, including two more of LC’s nine 3-pointers.
The Lyncs were particularly deadly from the line, where they went 16 of 20, including 8 of 9 in the final period.
“We were sharing the ball,” said Bosman. “We always talk about enjoying whoever scores.”
For the Golden Eagles, the game was an emotional one. Morrison, one of their senior leaders, played his final game for Ferndale and will undergo brain surgery in a week to correct a life-threatening condition.
Amazingly, Morrison had 9 points Tuesday night and has played well all season, according to his coach.
“This was one of our most emotional games,” said Schlichting, who also mentioned the Lakewood game that was Morrison’s final home contest. “These have made us come together.”
Ferndale is off until Dec. 28 when the Golden Eagles travel to Meadowdale. Lynden Christian also is off until Dec. 28 and 29 when the Lyncs face Stanwood and the Northwest School in the Blaine Holiday Classic.