The Lynden girls basketball team has faith in its defense, and it showed in the Lions’ 51-23 victory Friday night over the Squalicum Storm.
Of course, it didn’t hurt just to have Faith.
Faith Baar, the Lions’ 6-foot-1 senior center, who had been quarantined during Lynden’s first four games, collected game-highs of 15 points and 15 rebounds as Lynden improved to 3-2.
“It was good to have No.10 back,” said first-year Lynden coach Aaron Bogaard. “It was a good team effort.”
That was especially true on defense as Lynden held Squalicum in single digits each quarter, only allowed four players to score, and held the Storm to only three made free throws in the fourth period.
“We had every shot we wanted, but you have to be confident to make those shots,” said Squalicum coach Ray Ootsey, whose squad fell to 0-5. “But they didn’t quit. They competed every single play.”
The Lions enjoyed a 20-point lead in the first half thanks to senior guard Anna VanderYacht, who had 10 points before halftime. Baar then made sure there’d be no comeback by scoring 13 of her points after halftime.
VanderYacht, who along with Baar is a returning starter from Lynden’s defending Class 2A state championship team, had another outstanding all-around game. She had 13 points with three 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Lions also got 7 points from Kalanie Newcomb and 6 points from fellow freshman Haylee Koetje. Senior Maddie Canales added 5 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists.
For Baar, the game was a long time coming. Her last action was more than 14 months ago in the state title game.
“It felt like a long wait,” she said. “But once I started scoring (in the second half), I started feeling it. We just want to make this season as much fun and as memorable as possible.”
Bogaard agreed. “It’s hard for them, not being able to compete for a district berth or to get to state. But other times, they are dialed in. We just want to have fun this year.”
That’s true for the Storm, too.
“It’s nice just being able to play, and we’re playing well as a team,” said Hannah Thurston, one of only three seniors on the Squalicum varsity. “It’s our senior year … and we love playing together.”
Sophomore Callie McEachran came off the bench to lead the Storm with 7 points. Senior Rachel Heinke hit a pair of 3-pointers for 6 points, and Thurston added 6 more.
“Wins are great and they’ll come,” said Ootsey, whose squad lost its two best players even before the season started to a transfer and an ACL injury. “It’s still a growing situation for us. Every game we’ve played has been another brick to add to the foundation.”
Squalicum will seek its first win when it travels to Blaine on Tuesday. Lynden finishes off this week by taking on rival Burlington-Edison on the road on Saturday.
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.