DEMING - Lynden Christian utilized an 11-man rotation against Mount Baker, and it wouldn't be difficult to find at least one way each of the Lyncs contributed.
The LC players found plenty.
Individual praise was handed out to every single Lync during a postgame spotlighting routine inside the Lynden Christian locker room. Even injured players were commended for making the trip.
The irony is, although so many individual performances were recognized, it's been the Lyncs' balance and desire to buy into a team concept that has them tied atop the Northwest Conference standings a year after graduating a ton of talent.
Ten different Lynden Christian players scored and the Lyncs answered coach Roger De Boer's halftime challenge to earn a decisive 58-34 NWC win against Mount Baker on Tuesday, Jan. 7, in Deming.
"We may not be the most talented, but we certainly want to come together and be the best unit together, and they are starting to demonstrate that," De Boer said.
It was exhibited against Mount Baker in a game that seemingly every Lync impacted. Everyone played a role, whether it was Logan Carlson's rebounding and four blocks, Jo Meppelink's game-high three assists or Jake Poag's hot shooting from the perimeter.
What made the difference, though, was a halftime challenge from De Boer to match the Mountaineers' first-half toughness. LC (7-3, 3-0 NWC) answered by committing to the boards and applying a suffocating half-court defense.
Lynden Christian's pressure D limited Baker (1-7, 0-2 NWC) to its second-lowest scoring total of the season and held standout guard Reuben Murashov to five points on 0 for 10 shooting. Murashov entered Tuesday's contest averaging 17.5 points per game.
"Murashov, we just had to look for him and fortunately he wasn't hitting his shots tonight," LC guard Grant Wolffis said. "We just had to get a hand in everyone's face and contest every shot."
Poag and Josh Hornstra came off the bench to each score a team-high 11 points and Wolffis added 10. Lyncs leading scorer Zach Roetcisoender and Meppelink scored eight points apiece.
No Mountaineer reached double-digit scoring as Mount Baker's shooting woes continued. Andrew Zender scored a team-high seven points, and Isaac Gilmore, Conner Brandland and Murashov each scored five.
Mount Baker shot 21.6 percent from the field and struggled with LC's half-court trap, turning the ball over 16 times. The loss was Baker's seventh straight.
"You got to give them credit for how they played defense," Gray said. "At the same time, we need to make uncontested layups. We need to make our 10-foot jump shots. We had another offensive night where we weren't very good. When you play against a good defensive team, it's going to be a long night."
The Mountaineers hung with Lynden Christian early, despite its scoring troubles.
Mount Baker exerted its physical style and trailed only 8-7 after the first quarter and 25-18 at halftime.
"I tip my hat for the effort of Mount Baker tonight," De Boer said. "I mean, they set the standard."
De Boer challenged his club at halftime to meet that standard, and Lynden Christian answered by blowing the game open early in the third quarter.
Wolffis scored six of his 10 points during a 10-3 run to start the period, and Poag drilled a pair of 3s on back-to-back possessions from the same spot near the right elbow to push Lynden Christian's advantage to 41-23 with 2:27 was left in the quarter.
Hornstra, who had five rebounds to go with Carlson's team-high six, scored six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. Even with Murashov sitting most of the final period, Baker was only outscored 13-11.
"We got a lot of young guys, but everyone is stepping up and trying to be the best they can be," Wolffis said. "We got tons of guards and everything. We got posts. Everyone does their part and no one cares about the amount of playing time. Everyone is happy for everyone. It's a team."
Lynden Christian shot 42.9 percent and outrebounded Mount Baker 31-29. Murashov pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County Sports updates.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 58, MOUNT BAKER 34
Lynden Chr. 8 17 20 13 - 58
Mount Baker 7 11 5 11 - 34
Lynden Christian: Josiah Meppelink 8, Jake Van Berkum 0, Dalton Lootens 3, Jake Poag 11, Zach Roetcisoender 8, Grant Wolffis 10, Josh Hornstra 11, Koy Sterk 2, Cody Fransen 2, Logan Carlson 2, Josh Friberg 1. Team totals: 21-49 10-18 58.
Mount Baker: Isaac Gilmore 5, Reuben Murashov 5, Drew Nicol 4, Cody Larson 2, Seth Bass 3, Colton Ranson 3, Conner Brandland 5, Josh Barbo 0, Andrew Zender 7. Team totals: 11-51 11-19 34.
3-ptg: Lynden Christian 6 (Poag 3), Mount Baker 1. Rebounds: Lynden Christian 31 (Carlson 6), Mount Baker 29 (Murashov 8). Assists: Lynden Christian 9 (Meppelink 3), Mount Baker 1 (Ranson 1). Fouls: Lynden Christian 17, Mount Baker 16 (Brandland). Turnovers: Lynden Christian 9, Mount Baker 16.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.