Not surprisingly on the Lynden boys' basketball team, the movie "Hoosiers" is "mandatory viewing," according to coach Brian Roper.
But the truth is the Lions see the essence of the movie every day in practice and during games when they look at senior guard John Shine.
"He could have been an extra in 'Hoosiers,'" Roper said. "We say he's a throwback guy. He's an old school player. He easily could have worn the high shorts with the buzz haircut back in the '50s or '60s and fit right in. Fundamentally, he's sound at both ends. He plays without a lot of flash, but anybody who knows basketball appreciates the things that he does."
As someone who understands and appreciates the game, Shine takes his coach's comments as high praise.
"Rope's always telling me I've got an old man's game," Shine said. "I guess I could have fit in with 'Hoosiers.' ... I'm just a traditional player. I'm not super athletic or super tall. I just try to do everything I can do right."
Shine has certainly been doing things right for the Lions this season.
He's leading the Lynden with 13.3 points per game as the Class 2A defending state champions prepare to host Sumner in the regional round of the state tournament at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
Not bad for a guy that is the only new regular starter in the Lynden lineup this year. In fact he could go from key reserve last year to all-state selection this season.
"It's been an easy transition for me," Shine said. "When Nate (Wielenga) graduated last year, we knew that somebody was going to have to step up. It hasn't been hard at all. I'm used to playing with these guys."
And it wasn't like Shine came out of nowhere.
He was typically the Lions' first man off the bench as a junior, as he averaged 6.5 points in 28 games last year.
The sixth man, who played many as four different positions last year, was one of four Lynden players to score in double figures in the Lions' 66-45 victory over White River in the last year's state championship game with 12 points, and he reached double figures two other times during the postseason run.
And this season, he's picked up right where he left off, scoring in double figures in all but five games, including 20 points in an overtime win over Lynden Christian on Jan. 11 and a career-high 21 eight days later in a win over Squalicum.
"John is young for his age," Roper said. "We could always see that he had the game savvy and skill set to be successful for us. He's matured physically this year. You could see it coming last year. ... He was reliable coming off the bench for us last year, but this year the confidence and physical maturity have really kicked in for him."
Shine certainly already had the skills.
He said he picked up the game when he was in kindergarten because his father had always played basketball.
Since then, he's worked to perfect his ability to score. And Shine, who said he focuses on making sure he always takes the "right shot that helps the team," can score in a number of different ways.
"He can take it to the basket, he's good from mid-range and he can shoot the 3," Roper said. "His teammates have nicknamed him Johnny Clutch. He always sees to be in the right place at the right time to make a play for us."
That includes on the boards, where Shine, despite playing as Lynden's 6-foot, 2-inch two guard, leads the team in offensive rebounds.
Part of the reason for his rebounding success, Roper said, is Shine is a heady, complete player, who "sees plays before they happen."
Shine also owns a competitive fire he keeps well hidden below his quiet demeanor. It's a completive fire Roper said he saw in Shine when he was a fifth grader who "didn't want to lose any drills" at a basketball camp.
"I'm a competitor," Shine said. "I love to compete alongside my friends. It's been really special to share this experience with guys I've grown up with."
Saturday's game will mark the final game on their home court for Shine, Lynden's other four starters and three other seniors listed on the roster.
Of course, they're hoping to extend their time together another week with a win to earn a trip to Yakima.
"It's gone by so fast," Shine said. "It's going to be fun playing with my buddies for one last hurrah on our home court. ... We've got to come out ready to play in whatever environment we're in and have got to be focused. You can't let outside things distract you."
Though the Spartans (15-11) enter as the No. 4 seed out of the West Central District after finishing fourth in the South Puget Sound League, Sumner is a team capable of beating top teams in the state, as evidenced by its 55-53 victory over Renton Friday, Feb. 15, in the quarterfinals of its district tournament.
"They're sound fundamentally," Roper said. "They're a quick, scrappy team. They're pretty young, but they've got a real nice point guard that can shoot it."
The Spartans also have a little bit of revenge on their mind, after losing 66-55 to the Lions in the regional round last year at Mount Tahoma. Lynden also beat Sumner in the 2A baseball state semifinals last spring and the 2A state football quarterfinals last fall.
Should that recent trend continue on Saturday, chances are Shine will play a big role in Lynden winning.
"I think the No. 1 thing about John is he's such a complete player," Roper said. "He's a perfect teammate on a team full of great teammates."
No wonder he would fit into any situation on any court, from Hollywood to a tiny town in Indiana or even a small Washington town near the Canadian border.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
THIS WEEKEND'S REGIONAL ROUND
FRIDAY, FEB. 22
CLASS 2A GIRLS
At Lynden High School
Cedarcrest vs. Port Angeles, 6 p.m.
Olympic vs. Burlington-Edison 8 p.m.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
At Mount Vernon High School
Woodland vs. Cascade Christian, 6 p.m.
Hoquiam vs. Lynden Christian, 8 p.m.
At Chehalis W.F. West
King's vs. Montesano, 6 p.m.
Blaine vs. Castle Rook, 8 p.m.
SATURDAY FEB. 23
CLASS 2A BOYS
At Lynden High School
Burlington-Edison vs. White River, 4 p.m.
Sumner vs. Lynden, 6 p.m.
CLASS 1A BOYS
At Mount Vernon High School
LaCenter vs. Cedar Park Christian, 4 p.m.
Hoquiam vs. Lynden Christian, 6 p.m.
At Chehalis W.F. West
King's vs. Kalama, 4 p.m.
Mount Baker vs. Toledo, 6 p.m.
No. Player Yr. Ht. Pos. G Pts. Avg.
3. Josh Kraght Sr. 5-11 G 21 82 3.9
4. Trey Shagren So. 6-2 G 6 2 0.3
5. Kyle Mark Sr. 6-3 F 20 63 3.2
11. Zach Vis Sr. 6-4 F 23 149 6.5
20. John Shine Sr. 6-2 G 23 307 13.3
21. Dak Shagren Sr. 6-3 G 23 300 13.0
22. Jaremy Martin Jr. 6-2 F 23 139 6.0
23. Scott Hastings So. 6-6 C 23 101 4.4
24. Jalani Phelps Jr. 6-3 F 15 20 1.3
32. Sterling Somers Fr. 6-4 F 8 12 1.5
34. Matt Meyer Sr. 6-5 C 21 167 8.0
35. Marcus Fakkema Sr. 6-3 F 19 41 2.2
44. Bret DeGraaff Sr. 6-4 F 15 14 0.9
Coach: Brian Roper
NWC finish: First (12-0)
Seed: No. 1 out of District 1/2
Dec. 10 at Sehome W 68-34
Dec. 11 Mount Baker W 64-32
Dec. 12 Anacortes W 61-51
Dec. 14 Bellingham* W 66-38
Dec. 18 at Squalicum* W 57-39
Dec. 21 Burlington-Edison* W 61-33
Dec. 22 Tahoma (at Kent) L 57-43
Dec. 27 University City, Calif. W 49-35
Dec. 28 Skyline W 52-43
Dec. 29 Granite Bay, Calif. W 66-58
Jan. 4 at Anacortes* W 75-58
Jan. 7 Nooksack Valley* W 75-35
Jan. 11 Lynden Christian* W 53-48, OT
Jan. 17 at Mount Baker* W 68-17
Jan. 19 Mark Morris W 59-55
Jan. 22 Sehome* W 50-34
Jan. 25 Blaine* W 62-24
Jan. 28 at Ferndale* W 61-38
Jan. 31 Meridian* W 62-39
Feb. 5 at Sedro-Woolley* W 66-47
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 1/2 TOURNAMENT
Feb. 8 Sultan W 68-27
Feb. 11 Sehome W 46-37
Feb. 15 Burlington-Edison W 63-41
Coach: Brett McDaniel
SPSL finish: Fourth (7-7)
Seed: No. 4 out of District 3
Dec. 1 at Bainbridge L 60-45
Dec. 4 Orting W 66-41
Dec. 7 at Franklin Pierce L 60-48
Dec. 11 Steilacoom L 54-46
Dec. 12 Bonney Lake W 62-30
Dec. 14 Fife L 44-41
Dec. 15 Penninsula W 64-54
Dec. 19 at Clover Park L 60-52
Dec. 21 Enumclaw W 65-51
Dec. 22 Seattle Christian W 41-38
Jan. 4 Washington W 52-47
Jan. 8 White River L 59-47
Jan. 11 Orting W 57-29
Jan. 15 Franklin Pierce W 63-55
Jan. 18 Steilacoom W 48-44
Jan. 22 at Fife L 64-40
Jan. 25 Clover Park L 85-68
Jan. 26 Bonney Lake W 65-49
Jan. 29 Washington W 57-39
Feb. 1 White River W 62-42
CLASS 2A SUB-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Feb. 6 Renton L 57-52
Feb. 8 Steilacoom W 59-47
Feb. 13 Bremerton W 63-48
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 3 TOURNAMENT
Feb. 15 Renton W 55-53
Feb. 16 Sequim L 55-48
Feb. 18 White River L 44-40
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.