The Class 1A State Invitational started like a boxing match for the Lynden Christian boys basketball team, but once it turned into a track meet, the Lyncs were off and running to a dominating 82-64 victory over Freeman on Wednesday afternoon.
The victory advances fourth-seeded Lynden Christian (13-1) into the semifinals of the eight-team, double-elimination “unofficial” state tournament at Cedar Park Christian High School in Bothell. The Lyncs will play top seed Seattle Academy (17-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m.
“We’re in the final four,” said LC coach Tim Zylstra with a big smile. “We started out a little tentative, but it was nice to see how we responded.”
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Freeman (13-2), the Northeast 1A League champion and fifth seed in the tournament, came out on fire in Wednesday’s first game, hitting their first three shots to take an 8-0 lead and stretching that to double figures in the first quarter.
“They came out ready to play,” Zylstra said of the Scotties. “They punched us in the face.”
“They came out hot,” said LC sophomore Tyler Sipma. “I was shocked. We had to let the game come to us. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Once the shock wore off and the Scotties cooled off, Lynden Christian took control.
Senior Logan Dykstra had a pair of layups and junior Andrew Hommes hit a deep 3 and a fastbreak layup to key a 12-0 run to start the second quarter as LC took the lead a minute into the period.
“The coach set us free,” said Hommes, who led the balanced LC attack with 16 points. “We settled in and the bench got us fired up. And once we got running …”
Once they got running, there was no stopping the Lyncs. After racing to a 32-point second quarter to take a nine-point halftime lead, Lynden Christian ended any doubt to the outcome with a dominating third quarter.
Freeman scored the first and last bucket of the third period, but in between the Lyncs put on a fastbreak clinic, outscoring the Scotties 24-2 and stretching the margin to 27 points going into the final period.
In addition to the final score, Zylstra was happy with the team’s scoring balance, especially by players who normally wouldn’t see as much playing time.
Joining Hommes in double figures were junior Jamison Hintz and Sipma with 14 each, junior Crew Bosman with 13 points, and Dykstra with 10. Sophomore Griffin Dykstra added 8 points, and had a pair of 3-pointers. Hintz, Hommes and Sipma had three 3s each.
“When we’re balanced and sharing the ball, we’re better off,” said Zylstra. “And the guys off the bench gave us contributions.”
With senior starters Cole Moorlag and Shale Whittern unable to attend the tournament, Logan Dykstra was the Lyncs’ only senior. And when he and fellow starters Hommes and Sipma got a rest, the youngsters got their chance.
“It was like looking into the future,” said Hommes. “This is such a great opportunity. We’re a brotherhood. We love each other.
As the only returning starter from last year’s Class 1A state runner-up squad, Logan Dykstra felt the invitational was important to give the Lyncs not only closure but an opportunity to judge their year in the COVID-limited season.
“It’s not the Dome,” he said of the Yakima SunDome, where the official state tournament is played. “We don’t have the whole community together cheering us on.
“But it feels like the best teams are here, and it’s nice to get a shot to see where we stand. We didn’t have that for football (when LC finished unbeaten).”
The Lyncs will get their chance Thursday evening to return to the state title game when they take on top-seeded Seattle Academy, an 84-60 winner over Chelan in Wednesday’s first round. LC will be looking to avenge an 80-62 loss to the Cardinals on June 12.
Freeman, which was led by the 19 points of Quin Goldsmith, will play in a loser-out contest against Chelan on Thursday.
Lynden Christian 82, Freeman 64
Freeman 22 18 6 18—64
Lynden Christian 17 32 24 9—82
Lynden Christian: Dexter Zylstra, Jamison Hintz 14, Griffin Dykstra 8, Dawson Bouma, Crew Bosman 13, Logan Dykstra 10, Andrew Hommes 16, Jeremiah Wright 2, Tyler Sipma 14, Will Colwell 5, Eli Bootsma, Lane Dykstra.
Freeman: Boen Phelps 16, Hunter Poston, Cole Clark 8, Quin Goldsmith 19, Hayden Oyler 4, Tayler Wells 15, Paysen Phelps 1, Levi Chisolm 1.
Class 1A State Invitational
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30
Lynden Christian 82, Freeman 64
Seattle Academy 84, Chelan 60
King’s 70, Toppenish 63
Life Christian Academy 72, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) 60
THURSDAY, JULY 1
Freeman vs. Chelan, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Toppenish vs. Cedar Park Christian, 4 p.m. (loser out)
Lynden Christian vs. Seattle Academy, 6 p.m.
King’s vs. Life Christian Academy, 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)