It was a game nobody expected them to be in against an opponent nobody expected them to beat.
But because they just missed pulling off the upset of the season, the Lynden Christian boys basketball team was finding it hard to be happy with second place after losing to King’s in overtime, 70-67, in the Class 1A state championship game Saturday night, March 7.
Even as the tears flowed and the players tried to smile for the pictures, their coach was anything but disappointed with their effort.
“I’m sad for our kids,” said Roger DeBoer. “But we agreed in the locker room before the game to give everything we had, and that’s all you can ask of kids. I am super proud of them.”
Check out WhatcomHoops.com for coverage of all the Whatcom County teams. And be watching for lots more photos to come on the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.
Despite a better record and better ranking, sixth-seed Lynden Christian (22-7) was definitely the underdog against the 14th-seeded Knights (20-10), who were not given credit in the state’s complex ranking formula for playing difficult out-of-state games.
King’s was the same talented, tall, experienced team that dismantled last year’s LC team at state, a team that was expecting to win state. And this year’s LC team was considered fortunate to make it to state.
But the Lyncs upset third-seed Zillah in regionals, and beat Meridian and La Salle to make it to the championship game to play the same King’s team that had beat them handily in the district tournament.
And this time, things would be different. Much different.
Lynden Christian kept it close in the first half and after a jumper and a 3-pointer by junior Logan Dykstra and a pair of free throws by Jaden DeBoer early in the third period, Lynden Christian was the one with a five-point lead.
LC fought back every King’s rally through the third and fourth quarters. And with two minutes left in the game, after DeBoer hit his third 3-pointer, the Lyncs found themselves up, 57-48, and on the verge of knocking off Goliath.
But the last minute proved why King’s was considered the tournament favorite. Two three pointers, a jumper and a 3-point play offset two more DeBoer free throws and the score was tied with 10 seconds left. LC had one final off-balance shot at the buzzer but the game was destined for overtime.
And the Knights never lost the momentum. Jaden DeBoer did his best to keep it close, hitting another 3-pointer, a jumper and two free throws, but King’s wouldn’t be denied, outscoring LC, 11-8, in the extra period.
“These kids were resilient,” said coach DeBoer of his team. “Their resiliency and caring for each other. You can overcome some talent issues with those two things. It’s a locker room full of love, full of pride. They did a fantastic job tonight.”
Jaden DeBoer earned his place on the all-tournament first team with 28 points. He had four 3-pointers, and in the most pressure-packed game, hit 10 of 11 free throws.
Senior Zach Sipma and junior Dykstra battled inside against players four inches taller and scored 12 and 14 points, respectively. Sipma also had 12 rebounds and Dykstra had 8 boards. Senior guard Andrew DeVries added 9 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and was named to the all-tournament second team.
But the Lyncs couldn’t stop 6-foot-7 sophomore Tyler Linhardt, the tournament’s MVP. He finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
It was the final game for seniors Sipma, DeVries, Bryce Bouwman and Brevin Zylstra, and coach DeBoer noted that they tied last year’s senior class with 96 victories in their four years, the most in school history.
While they and the rest of the Lyncs wanted just one more, their coach put it all in perspective.
“We all know it’s not about wins and losses,” said a man who won a state title at LC as a player and two as a coach. “Trophies and rings come and go, but it’s relationships you remember. Being amazing young men and great teammates is what matters.”
Tournament tidbits: Joining Lindhardt and DeBoer on the all-tournament first team were Leo DeBruhl and Joe Cookson of Seattle Academy, and Malachi Caffrey of La Salle. Joining DeVries on the second team were Jackson Short of Meridian, William Bailey of River View, Brady Metz of King’s Way Christian, Jordan Hansen of King’s and Sam Phillips of Cashmere.
King’s 70, Lynden Christian 67
King’s 18 15 10 16 11—70
Lynden Christian 11 18 17 13 8—67
Lynden Christian: Tyler Sipma 4, Jaden DeBoer 28, Brevin Zylstra, Shale Whittern, Cole Moorlag, Zach Sipma 12, Bryce Bouwman, Andrew DeVries 9, Logan Dykstra 14, Andrew Hommes.
King’s: McGaughey-Fick 19, Davis Campbell, Jordan Hansen 16, Tyler Linhardt 25, Tyler Durbin, Jake O’Hearn, Will Pohland 6, Jaron Hansen 4.
Class 1A boys state tournament
Wednesday, March 4
King’s 68, Zillah 59 (loser out)
King’s Way Christian 85, La Center 63 (loser out)
Meridian 61, Bellevue Christian 49 (loser out)
La Salle 63, Omak 56 (loser out)
Thursday, March 5
King’s 76, River View 41
Seattle Academy 64, King’s Way Christian 51
Lynden Christian 62, Meridian 53
La Salle 48, Cashmere 38
Friday, March 6
River View 58, King’s Way Christian 57 (loser out)
Cashmere 62, Meridian 56 (loser out)
King’s 68, Seattle Academy 66
Lynden Christian 71, La Salle 58
Saturday, March 7
Cashmere 43, River View 40 (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Seattle Academy 67, La Salle 63 (winner third, loser fifth)
King’s 70, Lynden Christian 67 (winner first, loser second)