LYNDEN - Sophomore forward Kara Bajema says what Lynden Christian's girls' basketball team brings to the court can be called "the good kind of confidence."
In other words, as senior post Karley De Jager puts it, "No letdowns - we don't ever want to underestimate anybody."
If LC's season-opening 72-7 non-league win over Sehome was any indication on Thursday, Dec. 5, the depth-laden Lyncs won't have to worry about overconfidence or cockiness.
For example, the Lyncs - who have all but one player back from their fourth-place team at Class 1A state - were leading 53-4 and had long since taken off the press.
But they still played with intensity and focus, as though the game were tied, while forcing a shot-clock violation on Sehome's side of the court.
"We had only four turnovers at halftime, and that was huge for a first game," said LC coach Curt DeHaan. "The girls just went out and played with a lot of confidence."
Nobody gave a better example of "the good kind of confidence" than the smooth 6-foot-1 Bajema, who shot 6 for 6 from the field and grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds, and De Jager, who shot 7 for 8 for 14 points.
The Lyncs finished 32 for 56 from the field and outrebounded the Mariners 36-11 as Morgan Van Kooten went 6 for 9 for 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the best showing of her career. Fellow junior Kassady Aldrich went 3 for 4 from 3-point range and scored 11.
Most impressively, the Lyncs, coming off a 24-4 season with 14 wins in their last 15 games, had 21 assists, with five by Courtney Hollander, four by Sara Dougan and three apiece by guards Makayla Lancaster and Sally Vlas.
DeHaan rotated all nine players from 13 to 21 minutes apiece. That was important because the Lyncs may well find out quickly if they're as good as this victory hinted, while reminding fans of LC's 72-11 win over Hoquiam in a state regional last season.
"We face a tough December schedule," said DeHaan. "We've got King's there (Friday, Dec. 6), then we've got Ferndale on Monday (Dec. 9) and then our alumni next Friday (Dec. 13)."
LC shot to a 23-0 advantage before Sehome sophomore Jenny McIntyre scored on a drive with 5:45 remaining in the first half, but the Mariners (0-2) nonetheless refused to regress and kept their poise.
"LC is a great team," said Sehome coach Kim Kirk, who lost three solid team leaders to graduation and has one of the league's youngest and most inexperienced teams. "But we got better each quarter, and that's all I can ask of the kids."
The Lyncs made 16 defensive stops, another indication of how well they focused defensively despite the score.
Megan Bayless connected on Sehome's lone 3-pointer as the second half was played with a running clock as soon as the Lyncs went up by 40.
The Mariners will try for their first win Friday, Dec. 7, at Nooksack Valley.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 72, SEHOME 7
Sehome 0 3 1 3- 7
Lynden Christian 19 21 15 17- 72
Sehome: Megan Bayless 3, Jenny McIntyre 2, Mackenzie Caldwell 1, Danielle Strasser 1, Chanelle Eddy 0, Maddy Bryan 0, Hannah Holmgren 0, Abby Wright 0, Madison MacPhee 0, Madison Ulrich 0, Devin Grahn 0, Olivia Messenger 0. Team totals: 2-24 2-5 7.
Lynden Christian: Kara Bajema 14, Karley De Jager 14, Kassady Aldrich 11, Morgan Van Kooten 12, Courtney Hollander 7, Sally Vlas 6, Sara Dougan 5, Haley Hollander 2, Makayla Lancaster 1. Team totals: 32-56 3-6 72.
3-ptg: Bayless; Aldrich 3, Bajema, C. Hollander. Rebounds: LC 36 (Bajema 9), Sehome 11 (Bayless 3). Assists: LC 21 (C. Hollander 5); Sehome 1 (Bryan). Fouls: Sehome 6, LC 10. Turnovers: Sehome 25, LC 6.