YAKIMA With a tough loss still lingering less than 24 hours before the Lynden Christian girls basketball team played its consolation matchup against defending Class 1A champs Okanogan Friday morning, March 1, Kayla Tiemersma and the Lyncs found a way to prolong their season.
It may not have been LCs finest performance, but its hard to argue any Hardwood Classic win isnt a good win.
Lynden Christian took command early but struggled in the second half. Following a number of LC missed opportunities in the final minutes, Okanogan had a chance to tie the game on an inbounds play with less than a second on the clock, but Megan Parks off-balanced baseline shot rimmed out. LC players embraced at midcourt, as the Lyncs escaped elimination with a 44-42 win at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
I was really pleased, LC coach Curt De Haan said. The girls worked really hard. The girls were able to hold them off. Its exciting for these girls to be able to play for fourth place tomorrow.
Tiemersma led the Lyncs in scoring for the second day in a row, this time putting up 15 points with two 3-pointers. LCs lone senior was determined not to let her career end on a loss. She didnt want to leave the SunDome without a trophy, either.
Me being the only senior, it was really hard for me yesterday, said Tiemersma of the Lyncs' 61-56 opening-round loss to Brewster. After the game last night I said, Hey guys, theres one more day. We are playing tomorrow. Wipe those tears away. Yeah its sad, but I want to go out with a win. I want to go out with a trophy.
She got plenty of help from her teammates. Courtney Hollander and Makayla Lancaster were especially beneficial.
Hollander scored 10 points and hauled down a team-high eight rebounds. Lancaster put on another tremendous defensive performance and is slowly beginning to distinguish herself as one of the top defenders in the 1A ranks.
One day after holding Brewsters standout guard Chandler Smith scoreless in the first half, Lancaster effectively took Okanogans Kara Staggs out of the game. Staggs entered the tournament averaging 19.9 points and was last years Class 1A State Tournament MVP.
MJs (Lancaster) yesterday performance was phenomenal, what she did in the first half, said De Haan of his sophomore point guard. She played 24 minutes for us. Anytime your point guard has one turnover and stops their leading scorer and the way she goes after loose balls. She is kind of the heart and soul of our defense from the point position.
Tiemersma, whos been playing with the 5-foot-5 guard since she was young, tagged Lancaster the best defender I have ever seen.
Staggs finished with only two points but exited the game in the third after sustaining a head injury.
What hurt LC wasnt perimeter defending, although several Okanogan players made key second-half outside shots, it was the work of Bulldogs post Caitlyn Behymer, who finished with a team-high 15 points. She sparked Okanogans comeback when the Lyncs were leading 24-12 with 2:28 left in the first half.
LC shot 6 of 11 in the first quarter but only made six field goals the next two quarters.
I think we needed to focus, Tiemersma said. I think at the beginning of the game we were very rushed. We got ahead and then were like, Awesome, were ahead, and then we kind of cooled down. We needed to keep going. We didnt need to slow up.
Okanogan tied the game at 29 then again at 32, before Lancaster drilled a 3 as the third-quarter buzzer sounded to put LC in front 35-32.
Buckets by Tiemersma and two by Hollander gave Lynden Christian a 42-34 lead with 5:02 to play, and Karley De Jager made a key layup off a pick-and-roll pass by Hollander to give the Lyncs a 44-37 advantage with 3:19 to go. Those were the last points the Lyncs scored. They couldnt put the game away down the stretch.
They were in a zone at the end, and we were getting great looks from the outside that we just couldnt knock down that we usually knock down, De Haan said. At the end they fouled us, and we didnt make our free throws down the stretch. Those two things allowed them to get back into it.
The Lyncs shot 32 percent from the field and 42.1 percent (7 of 17) from the free-throw line.
Following a turnover with 27 seconds left, Okanogan had a chance to tie or win with the score 44-42. Bulldogs Janice Romero got a good look from the right baseline with 5 seconds on the clock, but her shot missed. Okanogan got possession on the ensuing scramble for the rebound and was awarded a controversial timeout before the game clock reached all zeros.
With the added time on the clock, we thought when they got possession of it they were out of bounds, De Haan said. They got some time on the clock, but the girls were able to hold them off.
With 0.4 ticks left, Parks shot missed to set up LC with a fourth-place game against Cascade Christian at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 2.
For me, I was like, You know what, this might be my last time ever playing with them, Tiemersma said. I was like, You know what? Its not. Im going to play tomorrow, and tomorrow will be my last game with them, and we will go out with a bang.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
Watch video of the final 0.4 seconds of the game on the Whatcom County Sports page at Facebook.com.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 44, OKANOGAN 42
Okanogan 6 9 17 10 42 Lynden Christian 16 8 11 9 44
FG FT Reb OKANOGAN Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
Peyton Oules 2 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 Cameron Moses 19 4-9 0-0 1-2 0 2 11 Kara Staggs 12 1-5 0-0 0-1 0 0 2 Megan Parks 29 1-6 4-4 0-3 1 3 6 Kelsey Chiles 6 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 Keanna Egbert 25 0-1 0-0 2-7 1 4 0 Janice Romero 24 2-7 2-2 4-9 1 4 8 Alexis Romero 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Vanessa VanderWeide 14 0-4 0-0 1-2 3 1 0 Caitlyn Behymer 27 6-17 3-5 2-2 0 1 15 Totals 14-49 9-11 14-36 6 15 42
Percentages: FG .286, FT .818. 3-Point FG: 5-17, .294 (Moses 3-6, Parks 0-3, Egbert 0-1, J. Romero 2-4, VanderWeide 0-3). Blocked Shots: 3 (J. Romero 2, Behymer 1). Steals: 5 (Parks 3, Egbert 1, J. Romero 1). Turnovers: 15 (Staggs 1, Parks 6, Egbert 1, J. Romero 4, A. Romero 1,Behymer 1).
FG FT Reb LYNDEN CHRISTIAN Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
Makayla Lancaster 24 1-5 1-2 1-3 0 1 4 Kara Bajema 12 0-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Courtney Hollander 28 4-8 1-4 3-8 1 1 10 Sally Vlas 23 1-5 1-5 2-3 1 3 3 Kassidy Aldrich 11 1-5 2-2 0-1 0 1 4 Karley De Jager 21 3-9 0-0 1-6 0 1 6 Sara Dougan 19 2-7 0-2 2-5 0 2 5 Kayla Tiemersma 22 4-7 2-2 3-4 0 4 12 Totals 16-50 7-17 18-40 3 13 44
Percentages: FG .320, FT .412. 3-Point FG: 5-18, .278 (Lancaster 1-4, Bajema 0-1, Hollander 1-2, Vlas 0-3, Aldrich 0-3, Dougan 1-2, Tiemersma 2-3). Blocked Shots: 4 (Bajema 1, Dougan 1, Tiemersma 2). Steals: 9 (Lancaster 2, Hollander 1, Vlas 5, Aldrich 1). Turnovers: 12 (Lancaster 1, Hollander 2, Vlas 2, De Jager 1, Dougan 2, Tiemersm