LYNDEN - Any rival who saw Lynden Christian's third quarter Thursday, Dec. 27, would have been terrified.
LC rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit with 12-for-17 shooting in a 28-point third quarter on the way to a 71-68 victory over Cashmere in the first day of the Cloud 9 Sports Lynden Christmas Classic.
The game featured half of last year's final four participants from the Class 1A State Tournament and two storied programs that have combined to win 11 state titles, including Lynden Christian's 1A crown last March.
Cashmere's two returning all-leaguers, guard Dylan Boyd and center Coleman McElroy combined for 27 points in the first half to outscore the Lyncs 27-26, but LC clamped down on both and gambled that no one else could beat them.
"They were a very good opponent and we knew they'd be ready," LC coach Roger DeBoer said. "Those two great players were abusing us. So we keyed on them with a little of everything, including triangle-and-one and sagging-man (defenses) - you name it."
DeBoer said his players were well aware that Cashmere was double-teaming Isaac Reimer at every opportunity, and the Lyncs talked at halftime about how the other four starters would have to step up.
They did just that in what indeed would have been terrifying fashion for anyone scouting the game, as each starter had between four and eight points in the third quarter, alone.
Cashmere (4-3), however, stayed in it and tied the game at 59 with 4:40 remaining.
At that point, LC's Levi Vander Yacht, playing a sixth-man role after starting for two seasons, hit a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a drive by sophomore Daulton Hommes. That gave the Lyncs (6-3) a 67-61 lead with 3:25 left.
"We've been trying to convince Levi for three years to shoot more (from long range)," DeBoer said. "And tonight he showed why. We have a lot of belief in him. You could also see how he was working his tail off on defense."
Nathan Meppelink and Reimer followed immediately with two free throws apiece, and it was more than enough to withstand two late Cashmere buckets.
Reimer finished with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, which was more than all the other players in the game combined. But the all-state post was far from the Lyncs' whole story.
Unheralded senior Dustin Brandsma shot 6 for 12 from the field and 5 for 8 from the line for 18 points, all in the first three quarters.
Meppelink had 10 points and a game-high five assists, and Hommes shot 7 for 12 for 17 points.
Reimer shot only six times from the field, but made five, including a 3-pointer, and he did a masterful job of team play with his two assists and one steal. Reimer didn't panic at all and showed great poise when he was being pounded in the first half and let Hommes and Brandsma take over most of the first-half shooting.
LC wound up 17 for 27 shooting for the second half after hitting only 9 of 25 in the first half.
Boyd and McElroy finished with 25 and 17 points, respectively, for Cashmere, but were limited to 15 points combined in the second half.
"If we are fortunate enough to get to state at Yakima, I have a strong feeling these guys will be there, too," DeBoer said. "They were a truly worthy opponent."
Lynden Christian wraps up the Classic with a game against Sultan at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, while Cashmere will play Sehome at 1:30 p.m.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 71, CASHMERE 68
Cashmere 20 15 18 15 - 68
Lynden Christian 12 14 28 17 - 71
Cashmere: Casey Ruether 6, Coleman McElroy 17, Dylan Boyd 25, Adam Ross 0, Mason Elliott 8, Cooper Green 2, Jordan Christensen 10, Connor Badgley 0. Team totals: 25-66 12-19 68.
Lynden Christian: Nathan Meppelink 10, Zach Roetcisoender 0, Levi Vander Yacht 8, Truman Van Dalen 4, Daulton Hommes 17, Jamie Heystek 0, Grant Wolffis 0, Josh Hornstra 0, Dustin Brandsma 18, Isaac Reimer 14. Team totals: 26-52 15-18 71.
3-ptg: Cashmere 6 (Boyd 3), Lynden Christian 4 (Vander Yacht 2). Rebounds: Cashmere 36 (McElroy 10), Lynden Christian 36 (Reimer 12). Assists: Cashmere 8 (Ruether 2, Elliott 2), Lynden Christian 14 (Meppelink 5). Fouls: Cashmere 17, Lynden Christian 17. Turnovers: Cashmere 6, Lynden Christian 10.