LYNDEN - Sehome's Hallie Messenger has applied to nearly as many colleges as she had points in her last high school basketball appearance, and that's saying something.
Messenger hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final four minutes and scored nine points in the second half to give the City girls a shot, but the County girls held on to claim a 47-45 victory in the 27th annual Boys & Girls Clubs Basketball Classic on Friday, March 8, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
"I've applied to 10 colleges and have been accepted so far by three," said Messenger, who tied with Squalicum's Janna Poradun with a game-high 12 points. "At this time last year I wasn't thinking about sports in college, but I've developed a lot more passion for sports this year. So I figure I might play either basketball or softball."
It's that type of enthusiasm that typified an entertaining evening for both the boys' and girls' squads.
The boys put on an outstanding shooting show as the County rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to claim a wild 108-102 victory over the City as both teams made a whopping 18 3-pointers in a college-length score fest.
Lynden Christian's Isaac Reimer led all scorers with 28 points, including 12 during the County's 19-5 run to open the second half after the City took a surprising 54-48 halftime lead -- surprising because the County had eight players from LC and Lynden who earned trophies in the state tournaments.
Reimer won the Sportsmanship Award (Player of the Game). Nooksack Valley's team-oriented 6-footer, Melissa Stadt, claimed the girls' award while contributing eight points and at least a dozen rebounds.
Lynden three-sport standout Zach Vis won a dunk-off against Lynden Christian's Truman Van Dalen to win the dunk trophy. Sehome's Charlie Linneman and Rachel Albert won the boys and girls' 3-point contests.
The shooting in the girls' game wasn't sharp, but the competitiveness and spirit of all five Nooksack seniors who played made just enough of a difference. They combined for 33 points, including eight apiece by Stadt and Kaycee DeBruin (the 3-point runnerup), seven each by Lindy Swanson and Lauren Dykstra and three from Morgan Perry.
The County's eventual winning basket came on a pinpoint pass from LC post Kayla Tiemersma to Nooksack's Lindy Swanson for a 47-43 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
"I'm looking to play at Whatcom Community College," said Tiemersma, a 6-footer who gave a defensive clinic along with Stadt, who also said she was planning to play at a community college next season.
In the boys' game, the City gave the County a first-half scare, thanks largely to Bellingham's Alex Check and Squalicum's Alex Yuska, whose teams did not qualify for the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament. Check finished with 23 points and Yuska with 13.
Reimer had 22 of his 28 points in the second half plus well over a dozen rebounds. The other top County contributors were LC's Dustin Brandsma with 19, with five 3-pointers including three in a row to give the County an 87-73 advantage early in the fourth quarter, and Truman Van Dalen, with 11 points and two big 3-pointers during a 33-point third quarter.
Also hitting well for the County were Lynden's John Shine with 12 points, Vis with 9 and Matt Meyer with 11, including a rare 3-pointer for the 260-pound post, plus Blaine's Gabe Trump with 11. Meyer almost got into the 3-point shooting finals with eight 3-pointers in the first 30-second round, but Linneman and Bellingham's Nick Zeegers had nine apiece to make the finals.
Zeegers scored 17 points for the City, with three 3-pointers in the final moments. Sehome's Noah Cyr-Moore hit four 3s for 12 points, while Meridian's Edward Garcia scored 11, Mount Baker's Zan Roman contributed eight and Ferndale's Kendall Kelly had seven.
Lynden's Dak Shagren, who sustained a broken wrist in the semifinals at state but played out the season, provided a sentimental touch. He came into the game in the last minute and tried a couple of left-handed shots as the crowd tried to wish them into the basket without success.
Shagren, though, provided an assist to help Vis gain the dunking contest finals - and Vis showed his gratitude by signing Shagren's cast on the spot.
It was that kind of night for spirit.
In the girls' game, Lynden's Taylor VanDalen helped get the County off to a fast start with two hoops, including a 3-pointer, and teammate Miriah Brown hit a 3 in the third quarter for her only bucket. Sehome's Albert scored six points for the City and Ferndale's Koral Weidkamp had seven, including a fourth-quarter 3-pointer. Bellingham's Olivia Halverson played with her usual spunk and had four points.