LYNDEN - The Lynden boys' basketball program has suffered only two losses in the past 30 games. Both times Anacortes has been the culprit.
Entering Friday night's Northwest Conference matchup, the last memory Lynden had of playing the Seahawks was a 2013 Class 2A State Tournament crushing semifinal loss during the Hardwood Classic in Yakima.
This time Anacortes handed the Lions their first loss of season. And again, it was hard to digest.
Lynden's Sterling Somers and Jaremy Martin had a chance to tie or win the game from the free-throw line in the final seconds after the Lions staged a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback, but three free-throw attempts rimmed out and No. 8 Anacortes knocked off No. 1 Lynden 58-57 in a thriller on Jan. 10, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
"It was a heartbreaker," said Martin of the loss, "but it will be a true test of our character for our team."
While Lynden's last loss was to Anacortes last year, the Lions hadn't dropped a home game since Jan. 28, 2011, when they played, that's right, Anacortes.
The Lions (9-1, 3-1 NWC) had their chances, though.
Martin was put on the line to shoot a 1-and-1 trailing 58-57 with 3.1 seconds left after Lynden had trimmed Anacortes' lead down from 11 points with 4:10 left and to nine points with 2:29 to go.
Martin missed the front end, but Somers grabbed the offensive board and was fouled while attempting a shot with 1.1 seconds left. Somers missed the first and watched the second rattle out as the air went out of Lynden's packed gymnasium.
Scott Hastings, who finished with a game-high 19 points, scored eight in the fourth quarter and was paramount during Lynden's comeback. Martin finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Jordan Wittenberg hit two clutch fourth-quarter 3s and finished with 11.
"I was proud of our kids for continuing to compete, and we just ended up a possession short," Lynden coach Brian Roper said. "It was a fun basketball game, just a little more fun for Anacortes with the way it finished."
Lynden played catch-up most of the game, after the Seahawks (7-3, 2-1 NWC) put together a 23-point second quarter to capture a 37-29 lead heading into the break. Anacortes' Ty Johnson, who finished with 16 points to go along with Andrew Medalia's team-high 17, drove the length of the court and drilled a 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer.
The Lions inched back in the third, but picked up their defensive pressure in the fourth and finally began closing the scoring gap when Jalani Phelps hit a baseline 3-pointer to cut Anacortes' lead to 55-43 with 4:47 to go.
Wittenberg followed with another triple the next possession, and trailing 57-46 the Lions then put together a 9-1 scoring run in a 1:50 span. Lynden pressed the Seahawks into taking quick shots, and Hastings converted a three-point play and drilled a 3 to go with another Wittenberg 3-pointer cutting Anacortes' lead to 58-55 with 58 seconds left.
Hastings made a layup with 8 seconds to trim the lead to one, and Martin was fouled driving the length of the court after Anacortes missed the front end of the 1-and-1.
But neither Martin nor Somers could convert for the tie or win.
"It was in the back of my mind since me and Scoot were part of the team - we were all apart of the team," said Martin of last year's state tournament defeat. "It's a tough loss."
It was a signature win for coach Brett Senff and his Seahawks.
"We know coming up here you have to have a strong will, and you have to work harder for 32 minutes," Senff said. "I thought our kids did that, because Lynden will outwork you."
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
ANACORTES 58, LYNDEN 57
Anacortes 14 23 9 12 - 58
Lynden 16 13 11 17 - 57
Anacortes: Jake Richards 0, Ty Johnson 16, Jordan Neville 4, Daniel McInerney 10, Joe D' Amelio 11, Andrew Medalia 17, Zach Vance 0, Peter Haynes 0. Team totals: 21-47 8-12 58.
Lynden: Jordan Wittenberg 11, Parker Harrison 0, Sterling Somers 8, Trey Shagren 2, Jaremy Martin 12, Scott Hastings 19, Jalani Phelps 5, Caden Lair 0. Team totals: 18-43 16-25 57.
3-ptg: Anacortes 6 (Johnson/McInerney/D'Amelio 2), Lynden 5 (Wittenberg 2). Rebounds: Anacortes 21 (Medalia 5), Lynden 26 (Martin/Hastings 8). Assists: Anacortes 7 (Johnson/D'Amelio 2), Lynden 8 (Somers/Martin 3). Fouls: Anacortes 19, Lynden 14 (Phelps). Turnovers: Anacortes 8, Lynden 8.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.