LYNNWOOD - The Class 1A Tri-District championship game between Cedar Park Christian and defending Class 1A champion Lynden Christian promised to be a prize fight between two top contenders.
The only problem was Cedar Park Christian looked like it was fighting outside its weight class.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, Lynden Christian dismantled the Eagles 52-39 to take its second consecutive tri-district tournament championship. The Lyncs advance to the regional round of the Class 1A State Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will play Saturday, Feb. 23, at Mount Vernon High School.
Lynden Christian rode the post presence of last year's 2012 1A Player of the Year Isaac Reimer. Reimer led all scorers with 15 points on 6 of 13 from the floor while also posting a game-high 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-8 senior put his full array of skills on display, sinking two 3-pointers in the contest.
"I felt like coming into the game I could attack them, and I felt like my coaches put me in a great position to score and do the things that I can do," Reimer said.
But Reimer had some assistance.
Sophomore guard Daulton Hommes added 12 points, four rebounds and a steal. Hommes was key to a third quarter run the Lyncs made to finally separate themselves from Cedar Park Christian. Nathan Meppelink and Dustin Brandsma chipped in seven and six points, respectively.
Lynden Christian coach Roger DeBoer said the contributions he receives from players with last names other than Reimer will be highly important if his team hopes to repeat as state champions.
"We continue to work on developing our team," DeBoer said. "Isaac is such a wonderful teammate; could we get him another 15 or 20 shots a game? Yeah. But we know the only way we're going to be successful and accomplish the goals we want to as a team, we're going to have to have Isaac and a lot of others along the way.
"We're really trying to develop our depth, and that's the part we're really excited about ... but Isaac is still our guy," he said.
Lynden Christian and Cedar Park Christian both matched each other's dreadful start to the contest, combining to score 12 points on 4 of 20 from the field. The second quarter didn't turn out much better, either, and the Lyncs headed into halftime with a 16-14 advantage.
"They came out jacked; they hadn't played in 11 days and I think we came out a little tired," Reimer said of the first half woes. "But as the game went on, we got used to it and we got used to the physicality."
And right on cue, Reimer opened up the second half with a physical up-and-under layup while drawing a foul. After hitting the free throw, Hommes hit back to back buckets to open up a 24-16 lead with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, Cedar Park tried to spark a run with consecutive 3-pointers by Luke Saufferer, but Hommes answered with a step-back 3-pointer of his own followed by a layup by Reimer and a 3-pointer by Levi Vander Yacht after a steal by Hommes.
The Lyncs shot 7 of 10 from the field in the third, while holding the Eagles to just 4 of 12.
"We wanted to speed the game up a little bit in the second half," DeBoer said. "Our theme tonight was tenacity, and tonight we talked about tenacity and trust, and you could see that unfold on the court. The guys trusted each other defensively."
Lynden Christian's tenacious defense continued into the fourth quarter. The Lyncs held Cedar Park Christian to 5 of 18 from the field, leading by as much as 17 points until closing out the Eagles 52-39.
Entering Saturday's game, DeBoer said he had been emphasizing the need to be a better rebounding team. In response, his team dominated the Eagles on the glass, posting a 34-15 advantage.
"Tonight on the board, we had the word, 'rebounding,'" DeBoer said. "The other night, we got crushed on the board ... and we really had to commit to it and tonight, they meant it."
Lynden Christian also managed to hold Cedar Park Christians top two scorers, Evan Scholten and Luke Sauferer to 14 points on a combined 5 of 24 from the field.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 52, CEDAR PARK CHRISTIAN 39
LC 6 10 20 16 - 52
CPC 6 8 12 13 - 39
LC: Nathan Meppelink 7, Zach Roetcisoender 1, Levi Vander Yacht 3, Truman Van Dalen 4, Daulton Hommes 12, Dustin Brandsma 6, Willy Scholten 4, Isaac Reimer 15, Josh Hornstra 0, Grant Wolffis 0, Blake Mellema 0, Jamie Heystek 0. Team totals: 18-41 11-13 52.
CPC: Nate Lundberg 0, Trey Drechsel 10, Ben Anderson 9, Luke Saufferer 8, Evan Scholten 6, Davin McLaurin 2, Daniel Christenson 0, Isaiah Penchion 2, Anthony Almeida 2. Team totals: 14-54 4-10 39.
3-ptg: LC 5 (Reimer/Hommes 2), CPC 7 (Anderson 3). Rebounds: LC 34 (Reimer 11), CPC 15 (Christenson 4). Assists: LC 5 (Van Dalen 2), CPC 3 (Scholten 3). Fouls: LC 9, CPC 13. Turnovers: LC 16, CPC 5.