In a Northwest Conference showdown both teams knew would come down to defense and depth, the Lynden Christian girls had a little more of both to pull away from Ferndale, 62-43, on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
The Lyncs, ranked No.3 in the latest Class 1A RPI poll, used a 17-2 run to start the fourth quarter and hand the Golden Eagles their first league loss. LC is now 9-1 overall and 4-0 in NWC play; Ferndale, which is ranked ninth in 3A, fell to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the NWC.
“We knew it would be a tough, physical game,” said LC sophomore guard Libby Stump. “We were excited because we knew it would be good preparation for the postseason.”
For the first three quarters, both teams played physical man-to-man defense the Seattle Seahawks would be proud of, and battled for every rebound and loose ball. The visiting Lyncs led, 45-39, going into the fourth period, but the Golden Eagles had found a way to stay close.
“Both teams got after it from the beginning,” said Ferndale’s first-year coach, Terri Yost. “We were attacking hard, hitting shots. It was awesome (the first three quarters). But give them credit. They’re deeper than we are … and they make you pay.”
Lynden Christian’s victory was the 1,000th in school history. For a look at the Lyncs’ tradition, check out the story.
Stump was the poster child for LC’s depth. She found out the day before that she would be starting for senior Liv Mellema, who sprained her ankle in practice on Tuesday.
“I had her in a class, and she told me, ‘You better be ready,’” said Stump, who finished with 12 points.
When LC’s only other senior, Riley Dykstra, was forced to sit with foul trouble, coach Brady Bomber went to his bench … and the bench responded.
Paige TeVelde had 8 points and Kenady Fay had 7, and Allie Van Kooten was a big factor on the boards.
“Paige, Kenady and Allie were tremendous,” said Bomber. “Our depth gave us an advantage. It’s a weapon for us. And the young girls stepped up.”
Veterans Emily Mellema and Lexi Hernandez also stepped up, adding 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Lyncs.
And while they might have come up on the losing end Wednesday night, Yost said she was pleased that her Golden Eagles matched the Lyncs on the scoreboard for three quarters, and matched their intensity for all four quarters.
“This is a step up for us, another stepping stone for where we want to be … playing our best ball in February and March,” said Yost.
Junior Jamie Johnson led Ferndale with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Kaelee Bungard came off the bench to add 7 points, and senior guard Brianna Byrnes had 6.
“They’re a tough team,” said Johnson of the Lyncs. “We felt we played pretty tough D the entire game. Instead of being the prey, we want to be the hunter. This will help us for the postseason.”