LYNDEN - Courtney Hollander's last-second pass to Kara Bajema for a game winning basket in the previous game turned out to be effective mental preparation for the most productive and efficient effort of Hollander's career.
Hollander had a remarkable stat line for only 18 minutes in Lynden Christian's 65-31 win over Bellevue Christian on the second night of the Cloud 9 Sports Lynden Christmas Classic on Friday, Dec. 28.
Hollander, though, was far more enthusiastic over talking about defense than her point-a-minute performance for a career-high 18 points to go along with 6-for-10 field goal shooting, 5-for-6 free throw accuracy, a game high five steals and three assists.
"Our assistant coach Kelly Dykstra has really worked us hard for two years now on defense," said Hollander, indicating Dykstra deserves credit for the way Hollander made five of LC's 17 steals.
LC (9-1) overcame 27 turnovers in the Lync's 48-47 win over Cashmere in the first round - a victory made possible after Hollander made a fine pass to find Bajema open for the winning shot.
The Lyncs cut their turnover total to only 10 against Bellevue Christian (7-3).
LC displayed noteworthy mental poise in the first quarter, when the Lyncs hit only two of 18 field goal attempts, yet made nine of 11 free throws and outrebounded the Vikings 10-1 in the first 6 minutes. In the middle two quarters, LC came back to connect on 17 of 30 field goal attempts.
"They were packing it in and Courtney and Kassidy Aldrich shot well from the outside," said LC coach Curt DeHaan. "Courtney played extremely well and our depth is starting to help us out."
Aldrich, who earned a callup from JV a couple of weeks ago, shot 6-for-11 and finished with 16 points, also in 18 minutes. She made all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt and started a 10-0 run for a 20-10 second quarter lead. The game was never close after that.
Kayla Tiemersma had 10 points and Karley De Jager scored nine for the Lyncs. Sophomore Sara Dougan had eight rebounds and Bajema grabbed seven as the Lyncs enjoyed a 45-26 bulge on the boards.
Aldrich contributed eight points to LC's 32-15 halftime lead after coming off the bench.
"Kassidy really worked hard today all over the court," said Hollander, a 5-10 junior who seems to play at least a couple of inches taller.
LC point guard Makayla Lancaster, a sophomore, had three assists and three steals while making only two turnovers in 22 minutes.
Hollander made all five of her steals in the third quarter as the Lyncs raced to a 51-21 lead.
The best game of Hollander's career made sure she wouldn't need another dramatic last second pass on this night.
"I don't think I've ever had one like that," she said with a laugh.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 65, BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN 31
Bellevue Christian 10 5 6 10 - 31
Lynden Christian 13 19 19 14 - 65
Bellevue Christian: Ashley Osborn 7, Ali Vitalone 4, Jessica Butler 1, Noelle Crosby 6, Shelby Hall 2, Jessica Berg 3, Paige Knight 7, Emily Vanden Brink 1, Rachel Williams 0. Team totals: 12-37 2-7 31.
Lynden Christian: Makayla Lancaster 4, Kara Bajema 6, Courtney Hollander 18, Kassidy Aldrich 16, Karley De Jager 9, Sara Dougan 1, Carli Tjoelker 0, Kayla Tiemersma 10, Morgan Van Kooten 1. Team totals: 24-70 16-26 65.
3-ptg: Bellevue Christian 5 (Crosby 2), LC 1 (C. Hollander). Rebounds: Bellevue Christian 26 (Hall 6), LC 45 (Dougan 8). Assists: Bellevue Christian 12 (Crosby 6), LC 10 (C. Hollander, Lancaster 3). Fouls: Bellevue Christian 16 (none), LC 14 (none). Turnovers: Bellevue Christian 31, LC 10.