BURLINGTON - Lynden Christian boys' basketball coach Roger De Boer likes to tell his team he's got a starting six.
"The way we're built, we just use different starting lineups," De Boer said. "We can only start five, so we go with the five based on the matchups we're trying to establish, but everybody has to be ready to go. The funny thing about it is the guy who doesn't start is usually the one to come in and make a big impact on the game."
With the return of Willy Scholten from a second-degree AC separation in his right shoulder suffered during the last week of football, De Boer and the Lyncs may now have a starting seven.
Though slightly overshadowed by a 21-point, 19-rebound performance from Isaac Reimer, Scholten and Truman Van Dalen both came off the bench to make valuable contributions in Lynden Christian's 65-58 Northwest Conference victory at Burlington-Edison on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Scholten, playing in only his second game of the season, scored his first 11 points - a career high, he said - and grabbed five rebounds for the Lyncs (8-3, 3-1 NWC), while Van Dalen added seven points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
"You just know when you get your chance to go in, that you need to go as hard as you can," Scholten said. "You want to take advantage of the opportunity and rebound and play defense and do whatever it takes to help the team."
And that sort of effort seems to inspire the players already on the floor.
"It's like a burst of energy," Reimer said. "We each have a spot on this team. What's great about it is we are all capable of stepping up and having a big night and helping this team win."
Though Scholten and Van Dalen each turned in a nice stat line, perhaps their biggest contributions, as well as the other five "starters," was taking the Tigers' top two offensive threats out of the game.
Forward Daron Browning entered the night third in the Northwest Conference, averaging 15.5 points, while post Austin Von Herbulis was fifth with 14.5 points per game for Burlington (7-5, 2-2).
But on Thursday, they combined for only seven points in the first half and 20 total - Browning had 8, and Von Herbulis 12. In fact, they only combined to put up 14 field goal attempts all night, hitting six.
"We wanted to play him (Browning) a little different than we did the first time, and we spent a lot of time the last week working on how we wanted to defend him," De Boer said. "You got a glimpse of that ability he has the few times that he got the ball in space, and we just didn't want to let him do that."
LC tried to limit those opportunities by guarding him with smaller, quicker players, like Van Dalen and Levi Vander Yacht, who kept him from getting the ball and usually forced him to give it up when he did.
Inside against Von Herbulis, Reimer got plenty of help from Scholten, Dustin Brandsma and just about anybody else that could collapse down with good results.
"We did a good job of preventing him from being a first priority of their offense," Scholten said. "Most of his points came off offensive rebounds."
Von Herbulis did finish with 14 rebounds, but even that seemed a little pedestrian compared to Reimer's total.
Reimer scored LC's first seven points of the night and went to the halftime locker room already owning a double-double at 11 points and 11 rebounds.
But De Boer and the Lyncs coaching staff challenged their star forward to be even more of a factor in the second half.
"I love that he did that," Reimer said. "I'm a guy that loves being challenged. I'm going to do everything I can to answer a challenge like that. Coach has been challenging me like that since my freshman year."
Reimer responded by scoring nine points, including a 3-pointer, and pulling down six boards in the third quarter to help the Lyncs stretch a 25-19 halftime lead into a 47-33 advantage headed to the fourth.
But the Tigers still had a run in them, as Isaak Davies scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Rudy Mataya added four key points during an 8-0 run that cut LC's lead to 58-55 with 1:07 left on Mataya's layup.
On the Lyncs' next possession, Reimer, who added four assists, a steal and two blocks to his impressive stat line, kicked the ball out to Daulton Hommes for what De Boer called a "no-no-no-yes 3" to put the Lyncs back up by six. Scholten and Hommes each made a pair of free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
"I give a lot of credit to Burlington for coming back the way they did in the fourth quarter," De Boer said. "They had us on the ropes. But what I was most pleased to see was the way our team responded. In the Northwest Conference, you're going to face a lot of tough tests like that, especially on the road. You hope your team can answer at home, but to do it on the road says something."
Things won't get any easier for the Lyncs, who next host Anacortes on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 65, BURLINGTON-EDISON 58
Lynden Christian 11 14 22 18 - 65
Burlington-Edison 11 8 14 25 - 58
Lynden Christian: Nathan Meppelink 2, Levi Vander Yacht 6, Truman Van Dalen 7, Daulton Hommes 12, Dustin Brandsma 6, Willy Scholten 11, Isaac Reimer 21. Team totals: 24-65 11-14 65.
Burlington-Edison: Brandon Stransky 0, Carlos Navarro 5, Rudy Mataya 4, Blake Rawlins 3, Dalton Schwetz 8, Isaak Davies 18, Daron Browning 8, Jeremy Canniff 0, Austin Von Herbulis 12. Team Totals: 21-54 11-15 58
3-ptg: Lynden Christian 6 (Vander Yacht 2, Hommes 2), Burlington-Edison 4 (Davies 2). Rebounds: Lynden Christian 41 (Reimer 19), Burlington-Edison 37 (Von Herbulis 14). Assists: Lynden Christian 13 (Van Dalen 4, Reimer 4), Burlington-Edison 7 (Mataya 3). Fouls: Lynden Christian 17 (Brandsma fouled out), Burlington-Edison 15. Turnovers: Lynden Christian 6, Burlington-Edison 7.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.