YAKIMA - Sometimes, box scores do lie.
If you look at the stats from the Lynden Christian boys' basketball team's 60-51 victory over Cashmere in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A State Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 28, you'd think the Lyncs didn't have much of a contribution from their bench.
After all, the LC reserves combined to go 0 for 9 from the field and collected four rebounds.
In fact, the only Lynden Christian reserve to score on Thursday was Truman Van Dalen, who went 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
Not real impressive, is it?
But if it weren't for the Lyncs' bench, Lynden Christian quite possibly would be playing in a consolation game on Friday, March 1, rather than taking on King's in state semifinals and looking for a shot to advance to the state championship game for a second straight year.
"We got great minutes from our bench," LC coach Roger De Boer said. "Our depth is so incredible. They may not have had the big stats, but they had a huge impact on this game. They had the type of minutes that help you win a game like this."
The stat that mattered most from the Lyncs' reserves was the minutes played - 21:00 by Van Dalen, 11:06 by Zach Roetcisocender, 6:15 by Josh Hornstra and 6:06 from Willy Scholten. Even Blake Mellema, Jamie Heystek and Grant Wolffis got to take the court for the final 13 seconds.
"This is a three-day tournament, and every minute those guys played was important," De Boer said. "Tomorrow, every minute will be even more important. And if we're playing for a championship on Saturday, they'll be even more important."
The reason they were so important, even if they didn't score, is LC got 45 minutes, 6 seconds of rest for its starters.
And while Thursday's four primary reserves were on the court, LC hardly seemed to lose a step or a point on the scoreboard.
"The first half was fierce," Lyncs senior Nathan Meppelink said. "Those guys came in and played great and gave us a chance to catch our breath."
That was a major issue for Meppelink and the rest of the Lyncs' starters on Thursday during a physical, up-and-down game against a state semifinalist from last year.
"About 10 minutes in, Nate came over to the bench and said, 'Is anybody else having problems catching their breath like I am,'" De Boer said. "That was a fast-paced game, and we were able to keep our guys fresher because we are so deep. They may not have had the big stats, but they came in and they helped us maintain things."
By comparison, the only Cashmere reserve to see more than a minute's worth of action was Connor Badgley, who played for 12:47 - 5:44 of which came after starter Coleman McElroy fouled out.
In fact, the Bulldogs got only 13:27 of playing time from its bench before emptying it with 13 seconds left with the game already decided.
As a result, starters Casey Ruether, Dylan Boyd, Mason Elliott and Jordan Christensen all saw more than 30 minutes of action, and Cashmere did not get a single point from its bench.
LC meanwhile had only one player - Meppelink - play more than 26 minutes.
And as big as that was Thursday, just imagine how big that could end up being Friday or even Saturday.
"Those guys really came in and picked us up today," Meppelink said. "Everybody on this team played a big role in this win."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.