Lynden Girls Shine In Big Win Over Rival Lyncs

The last time the Lynden girls basketball team was under the bright lights, the Lions wilted. Not this time.

In front of their biggest crowd of the season (so far) against their biggest rivals, the Lions did what few teams have ever done in dominating Lynden Christian, 66-33, on Saturday night, Feb. 3.

With the win, Lynden wraps up the regular season with a 20-1 record and a 14-1 mark in the Northwest Conference, which is good enough for second behind Nooksack Valley.

The Lynden boys had a much closer game but managed to hold off rival Lynden Christian on Saturday afternoon, 61-56. Click on Lynden boys win for the story and lots of photos.

The victory also was Lynden’s 13th in a row after its Dec. 19 loss to the defending Class 1A state champion Pioneers, which until Saturday, was the biggest game of the year for the Lions. But in that showdown at Nooksack, Lynden struggled early and lost by 15.

“Our youth and inexperience showed and the night consumed us,” said Lynden coach Rob Adams of the Nooksack Valley game. “This was a great team win. I liked that they weren’t jumping up and down (afterward). We thought we could play with them … if we just defended.”

Ah, Lynden’s defense. For the fourth time in the past week, the Lions held an opponent to its lowest point total of the season. And we’re not talking patsies; among the victims were third-place Burlington-Edison, 3A Ferndale, and now fourth-place Lynden Christian.

“We focus on defense and defensive intensity,” said Lynden freshman Finley Parcher, who finished with a game-high 19 points. “We take pride in our defense.”

It was Lynden’s defense in the second half that turned a nine-point halftime lead into a blowout as the Lions held LC to 13 points after intermission. While it definitely was a team effort, give special kudos to junior Kiki York, whose man-to-man coverage helped limit Lyncs leading scorers Ella Fritts and Grace Hintz to a total of 12 points.

“In the second half, we tightened the screws,” Adams said of his team’s defense. “It starts with Kiki. The job she did on Grace was incredible.”

Parcher dominated on both ends of the court, but the super frosh wasn’t alone on offense. Sophomore Payton Mills came alive in the second half with all 11 of her points and three 3-pointers. Seniors Mallary Villars and Haylee Koetje had 9 points each with Koetje netting a pair of 3s. York scored Lynden’s first six points of the game and finished with 7 points. And sophomore Rian Stephan added another 6 points.

For Lynden Christian, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped and finished the regular season 12-3 in the NWC and 15-6 overall, it was a shocking loss for a program that has played in seven of the past nine 1A state championship games, winning five of them.

But LC coach Brady Bomber, who only had three players returning from last year’s state runner-up squad including Hintz who just came back from ACL surgery, chose to be reflective about his inexperienced team.

“You have to tip your cap to Lynden,” said Bomber. “The way they defended us, we had a hard time scoring. But the postseason  is a great time to look in the mirror. All of us — players and coaches — want to perform better. I’m proud of this group and how far they’ve come.”

Junior Allison Shumate had 10 points, all in the second quarter, and Fritts had 9 points, but no other Lync had more than five points.

Both teams now head into the playoffs. Lynden earned the top seed in the 2A district tournament and will host a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday against the winner of Tuesday’s play-in game between Sedro-Woolley and Cedarcrest.

“We’re ready,” said Finley of her first high school playoffs. “It’s a grind. But I feel great. This is the best team in the world to play with.”

Lynden Christian, meanwhile, is the second seed in the 1A district tournament and will host third-seeded Blaine on Wednesday.

Lynden 66, Lynden Christian 33

Lynden Christian     10       10         8         5—33

Lynden                     17       12       21       16—66

Lynden Christian: Dykstra 2, Tveter, Hernandez 5, Fritts 9, Hintz 3, DeJong 4, Yun, Van Loo, Shumate 10.

Lynden: Villars 9, K. Newcomb, Bowler 2, VanderYacht, Stephan 6, Hermanutz 3, Koetje 9, York 7, Parcher 19, Mills 11.

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

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.

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