BELLINGHAM -- In a crazy comeback that lasted more than two hours, Jake Manson created memories that will last forever for the unheralded Sehome transfer student and his seven fellow seniors.
Not many Sehome fans, however, realized that Manson's surprising seven 3-pointers -- including a game-tying shot with 7 seconds left in regulation -- were not his career high.
"I once had nine 3-pointers in a game for Battle Ground," Manson said after watching his teammates outscore Lynden Christian 10-3 in overtime to claim a marathon 56-49 Northwest Conference victory on Friday, Feb. 1.
Manson was a whole lot more excited for his teammates than he was for himself because the victory clinched a Class 2A Northwest District playoff berth.
When asked why he remained perhaps the only calm person in the Sehome gym when he took a pass from Noah Cyr-Moore and scored his seventh 3-pointer for a 46-all tie, Manson had a believable explanation.
"That shot only tied the game," said Manson, who had a game-high 22 points. "I didn't want to act excited because we weren't ahead yet."
Getting ahead did not take long for the Mariners (15-4 overall, 8-3 NWC). Fifty-one seconds into overtime, Gabe Sanchez made a steal and layup and when fouled converted a 3-point play for Sehome's first lead of the game.
Evan Miksovsky followed with two free throws at the 1:39 mark and Cyr-Moore made one free throw for a 52-46 lead. Dustin Brandsma, who led the Lyncs (15-5, 9-3) with 19 points, made a free throw, but Miksovsky countered with another free throw.
Sanchez immediately made another steal and sank another free throw, giving him all of his 10 points in the second half. That put the Mariners up 54-47 and Charlie Linneman's pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining provided the game's final points.
Manson, who said his previous season high was 12 points, had no trouble calmly explaining why he has been a reserve: "We have better defensive players. I just want to help the team win."
He did just that. As a result, LC coach Roger DeBoer had to award the "Cloud 9 Sports Cup" ball to Sehome coach A.J. LaBree - who works for DeBoer part-time at, of course, Cloud 9 Sports.
"I'm just so proud of all our guys for playing so hard with so much on the line," said LaBree, whose team trailed by as much as 15 points in the first half at 26-11. "LC gave us all we could handle. I really feel we deserve this playoff berth."
The game began as a battle between the NWC's second- and third-leading scorers, LC's Isaac Reimer (17.8 average) and Sehome's Linneman (17.7). Reimer finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds and Linneman finished with seven points and seven rebounds, but Manson was "the man" -- as the students who mobbed him after he did a quick interview could have attested.
"Since Jake is new here and we have seven seniors who have been in our program all these years, it took him until about midseason to really learn our system," said LaBree, who was especially proud of how Manson gave the Mariners a spark they had to have.
Sehome made only one of 15 shots from the field in the first quarter, including a miss by Manson on his first shot. But Manson then hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the second period and three of four 3s in the third period as the crowd seemed to respond a little louder with each shot.
LaBree gave Manson a rest during the fourth quarter until 2:20 remained. With 7 seconds remaining, the fans went nuts when the 5-foot-10 guard tied the game with his seventh 3.
Sehome's Willy Lallas made a steal with 2 seconds remaining, but the Mariners could not get off a good shot. In overtime, however, they made 8 of 11 free throws as the Lyncs endured 0 for 5 field-goal shooting.
Senior reserve Brice Longanecker also connected for a 3-pointer in the second quarter, keeping the Mariners with 28-14 at the half. Sehome's starters scored only two points combined in the first half, but they came out with obvious determination and combined to score 29 in the second half. LaBree also said he couldn't have asked for more defensive effort by everyone.
Nate Meppelink played especially hard for LC, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds despite the presence of two of the area's best big men.
The defending Class 1A state champion Lyncs will begin Northwest District play at home on Monday night against either Blaine or Coupeville, De Boer said.
SEHOME 56, LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 49 (OT)
Lynden Christian 15 13 7 11 3 -- 49
Sehome 2 12 14 18 10 -- 56
Lynden Christian: Dustin Brandsma 19, Isaac Reimer 16, Nate Meppelink 10, Levi Vander Yacht 0, Daulton Hommes 0, Truman Van Dalen 2, Zach Roetcisoender 2, Josh Hornstra 0, Jamie Heystek 0. Team totals: 14-43 15-21 49.
Sehome: Jake Manson 22, Gabe Sanchez 10, Charlie Linneman 7, Evan Miksovsky 7, Noah Cyr-Moore 6, Willy Lallas 1, Brice Longanecker 3, Mo Williams 0, Bo Banner 0. Team totals: 14-55 21-35 56.
3-pointers: LC 4 (Reimer 2); Sehome 9 (Manson 7). Rebounds: LC 34 (Reimer 15); Sehome 30 (Linneman, Sanchez 7). Fouls: LC 25 (Hommes fouled out);Sehome 21.