ANACORTES - Players on the Lynden boys' basketball team are never looking for "my shot" - it's always "our shot."
"We work really well together," Lions senior Zach Vis said. "We're always looking for the open man, and when we find him, we're looking for the open shot. We know it's not about one person, it's about the team. It's never one person's shot; it's the team's shot."
With an attitude like that, plenty of shots were falling for Lynden in the first half on Friday, Jan. 4, at Anacortes in a showdown of the last two remaining unbeaten teams in Northwest Conference play. The Lions' 18 assists helped them push four players into double figures, as they claimed a 75-58 victory over the Seahawks.
Lynden's offense has probably never looked better than it did during the first half, when the Lions (10-1, 4-0 NWC) scored at least one point on 24 of their 30 possessions to build a 50-27 advantage at the break. That included a last-second jumper in the lane from John Shine at the end of the first quarter and another buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Josh Kraght right before halftime.
"That was crazy," said Vis, who led Lynden with 14 points and 10 rebounds. "I don't think we've ever had a first half like that before. Usually we're in a slow-it-down, defensive battle. To score 50 points in a half and be halfway to 100, it was amazing."
Lynden can thank its team-first attitude for that kind of production.
Lions' passes were quick, crisp and almost always seemed to find the open man in perfect position.
"What I really liked to see is we were making the extra pass," Lynden coach Brian Roper said. "Sometimes we were making the extra, extra pass."
With passing like that, Lynden hit 18 of 31 shots from the floor in the half.
And on nine of their 13 misses, the Lions grabbed the offensive rebound, resulting in 15 second-chance points.
"That was probably one of the better halves of basketball we've had, at least offensively," Roper said.
So good that Roper and his staff didn't want to let the Lions cool off during the halftime break, as they sent them back out on the court with 51/2 minutes still remaining before the start of the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Lynden, things still cooled off quite a bit, as it converted on only four of its 15 third-quarter possessions for points. The Lions went 3 for 9 from the field and committed six of their nine turnovers in the quarter.
And as any good team would, Anacortes (8-3, 2-1) capitalized.
"You expect any good team to make a run at you, and Anacortes is certainly a very good team," Roper said. "The problem with Anacortes is they have so many guys that can shoot the 3, that if you start to crowd them a little bit, they'll take it to the hoop. They started to do that to us there in the third quarter."
By the time Billy King got a quick steal and bucket at the third-quarter buzzer, the Seahawks had trimmed Lynden's once-comfortable lead to 58-48, and a pair of free throws from A.J. Yost to open the fourth made the margin only eight.
"We just relied on our chemistry," Vis said. "We came together and started making good passes and looking for the team's shot again."
Doing that resulted in a Matt Meyer 3-point play off an assist from John Shine, a put-back bucket from Vis, a drive from Shine off an assist from Kraght and another Meyer bucket off an assist from Dak Shagren on Lynden's next four possessions, and the Lions re-established a 69-54 lead and pulled away down the stretch.
Shine and Shagren joined Vis in double figures with 12 points, each, as did Meyer with 11. Kraght logged a game-high five assists, while Vis and Jaremy Martin each had four.
Martin also scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds and was a big part of a productive bench for Lynden that included back-to-back momentum-building 3-pointers from Kyle Mark in the second quarter and two steals by Scott Hastings.
"Jaremy Martin sparked off the bench," Vis said. "He got a lot of hustle points and brought a lot of energy to the court."
Matt Aldridge scored eight of his game-high 16 points during Anacortes' third-quarter rally, and Yost scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
Lynden next hosts Nooksack Valley on Monday, Jan. 7.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
LYNDEN 75, ANACORTES 58
Lynden 22 28 8 17 - 75
Anacortes 15 12 21 10 - 58
Lynden: Josh Kraght 7, Kyle Mark 6, Zach Vis 14, John Shine 12, Dak Shagren 12, Jaremy Martin 8, Scott Hastings 3, Matt Meyer 11, Marcus Fakkema 2. Team totals: 27-53 13-20 75.
Anacortes: Matt Aldridge 16, Ty Johnson 2, Jeremiah Stielow 6, A.J. Yost 10, Sam D'Amelio 9, Andrew Medalia 8, Zach Vance 0, Billy King 7. Team totals: 21-43 9-17 58.
3-ptg: Lynden 8 (Kraght 2, Mark 2, Shine 2), Anacortes 6 (Aldridge 2, Stielow 2, D'Amelio 2). Rebounds: Lynden 33 (Vis 10), Anacortes 20 (King 5). Assists: Lynden 18 (Kraght 5), Anacortes 11 (Johnson 3, Yost 3). Fouls: Lynden 15, Anacortes 13. Turnovers: Lynden 9, Anacortes 10.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.