LYNDEN - The first thought to go through Lynden Christian senior Dustin Brandsma's mind after he was whistled for his second foul only 3 minutes, 10 seconds into a Northwest Conference meeting with Anacortes on Tuesday, Jan. 8?
"Oh no, not again," Brandsma said with a smile. "It happened to me in our last game, too (Thursday, Jan. 3, at Burlington-Edison). ... It's kind of frustrating knowing you're going to be sitting there on the bench, and all you can do is cheer your teammates on."
Brandsma made up for lost time in the third quarter, though, when he recorded all seven of his points and helped spur a Lyncs' comeback from a six-point halftime deficit, as they went on to a 57-48 victory in a hard-fought game between two teams that figure to still be playing in March at Yakima.
Isaac Reimer turned in his traditional double-double for Lynden Christian, recording 12 points and 17 rebounds - 12 of which came in the second half - and added six blocked shots.
The Seahawks (8-4, 2-2 NWC), who probably have seen enough of defending state champions from Lynden in the past five days, were without guard Matt Aldridge, who was out with the flu. They still managed to outscore LC (9-3, 4-1) 19-8 in the second quarter to take a 30-24 lead into the locker room.
But after sitting on the bench stewing for the final 12:50 of the first half, Brandsma was anxious to get back out on the floor and be more than just a cheerleader.
"The thing I've always said about Dustin, is when we really need him the most, that's when he's at his best," Lyncs coach Roger De Boer said. "We really needed him in that second half tonight, and I could tell from the look in his eye, that he was going to give us everything he had."
The Lyncs still trailed by five two minutes into the second half, but a 9-0 run keyed by Brandsma put LC on top to stay at 36-32.
Nathan Meppelink got the run started when he hit one of two free throws with 5:41 to play in the third.
Brandsma then hit a short jumper off an assist from Truman Van Dalen on the Lyncs' next trip down the court.
After Daulton Hommes and Reimer each went 1 for 2 from the line on LC's next two possessions to tie the game, Meppelink gave LC the lead with 3:35 to play in the quarter, before Brandsma's lay-up on the next possession made it a four-point game.
"It was nice to be off the bench and actually helping my teammates," Brandsma said.
But he wasn't finished helping.
He hit on a nice up-and-under move and drew the foul with 1:48 to play in the quarter. His free throw completed his scoring for the night and gave the Lyncs a 41-34 lead.
"You're going to remember the up-and-unders on the offensive end, but that's not all that Dustin brought tonight," De Boer said. "He played defense exceptionally well. He picked up some key rebounds that we needed. He did the things we needed him to do to get this win."
Brandsma recorded seven second-half rebounds and played a big role in slowing up Anacortes' dribble penetration, which the Seahawks effectively used to kick out for the open 3 in the first half.
"I think we did a better job coming off their screens and knowing who their shooters were," Brandsma said.
Van Dalen picked up where Brandsma left off in the third quarter on the offensive end, as he scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth to help the Lyncs put a little more breathing room on the scoreboard, as Anacortes seemed to have problems keeping up with his lightning-quick drives to the hoop. Van Dalen also had six rebounds, while Meppelink also finished with 11 points for the Lyncs.
Anacortes got 15 points each from Sam D'Amelio and Billy King, while King and A.J. Yost each recorded 10 rebounds.
Despite the impressive win over a highly regarded opponent from a bigger school, the Lyncs don't get much time to enjoy Tuesday's victory.
If they needed any reminder of what's next for them, they only needed look up in the bleachers high above their bench, where most of crosstown rival Lynden had turned out to watch in anticipation of a Friday, Jan. 11, showdown between the defending Class 1A and 2A state champions. The Lyncs and Lions will meet at 7:30 p.m. at Lynden's Jake Maberry Gymnasium, following a 5:45 p.m. girls' game between the two schools.
"This week is something special," De Boer said. "I believe that we're going to be playing the two best 2A teams in the state this year in Anacortes and Lynden. ... In the grand scheme of things, the outcomes of those games are going to have a big impact on what we're trying to do this year, but we're going to get better playing that type of competition. We're going to be a better team on Saturday morning than we were on Monday afternoon."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 57, ANACORTES 48
Anacortes 11 19 10 8 - 48
Lynden Christian 16 8 20 13 - 57
Anacortes: Ty Johnson 1, Jeremiah Stielow 0, A.J. Yost 9, Sam D'Amelio 15, Alex Luevanos 3, Andrew Medalia 5, Zach Vance 0, Billy King 15, Tristan Hayes 0, Joe D'Amelio. Team totals: 18-67 6-16 48.
Lynden Christian: Nathan Meppelink 11, Zach Roetcisoender 0, Levi Vander Yacht 9, Truman Van Dalen 11, Daulton Hommes 5, Jamie Heystek 0, Grant Wolffis 0, Josh Hornstra 0, Dustin Brandsma 7, Willy Scholten 2, Isaac Reimer 12. Team totals: 19-47 12-24 57.
3-ptg: Anacortes 5 (S. D'Amelio 4), Lynden Christian 7 (Vander Yacht 3). Rebounds: Anacortes 40 (Yost 10, King 10), Lynden Christian 45 (Reimer 17). Assists: Anacortes 9 (King 3), Lynden Christian 10 (Van Dalen 4, Hommes 4). Fouls: Anacortes 19, Lynden Christian 19. Turnovers: Anacortes 5, Lynden Christian 11.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.