The season will not be over for one Whatcom County boys basketball team after this week.
Lynden Christian has been invited to the eight-team Class 1A State Invitational hosted by Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) on June 30-July 2.
“This is a chance for the seniors to play this thing out,” said Lyncs coach Tim Zylstra, whose 9-1 squad wraps up its regular season with three games this week. “It’s a way to get some finality to a season. They’re excited.”
In addition to Lynden Christian, the other teams accepting invitations are defending Class 1A state champion King’s (11-1 as of Monday afternoon), Seattle Academy (11-1), Freeman (11-0) , Chelan (7-2), Toppenish (12-3), Life Christian (8-0) and host Cedar Park Christian (8-3). Two other top teams — Zillah and Cashmere — were unable to accept invitations.
The seeding and brackets are expected to be released on June 25.
The invitational is not an official state event and will be similar to summer high school tournaments.
It will, however, have a state tournament “feel,” with state-approved officials, the normal double-elimination format, and even replicas of state trophies given to the top six teams.
And, yes, fans will be allowed to attend!
The Cedar Park Christian gym holds approximately 1,000 spectators and the plan is to clear it after every game to allow the participating teams’ fans to see their teams. Depending on the state’s COVID regulations at that time, it’s hoped there will be no restrictions as far as capacity.
Admission will be $5 for adults, and $4 for students under 18. Children 5 and under are free.
Games will be played at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. on that Wednesday and Thursday. The trophy-round games will be played at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. on that Friday.
“It’s a way to play some of the top-quality teams from around the state,” said Zylstra. “It will be especially good for our younger players, and give them a state tournament ‘experience.’”
The Lyncs, whose only loss this season was to Seattle Academy on Saturday, are at home against Squalicum on Monday, visit Lynden to renew their city rivalry on Wednesday, and then host Meridian to finish the regular season on Friday. All games are at 7:15 p.m.
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.