LYNDEN - The Lynden Christian boys' basketball team hadn't beat Lynden since the 12 players on the Lyncs' roster were in elementary school.
It's been 10 years since LC got the better of its city rival, but that all changed after Lynden Christian put together and executed a masterful defensive game plan Friday, Jan. 17, on the Lyncs home court.
Lynden Christian coach Roger De Boer stressed to his club the need for a gutsy, passionate effort before the game, admitting LC wasn't as athletic or talented as the Lions. And that's just what he got.
The Class 1A No. 9-ranked Lyncs flustered the 2A No. 2-ranked Lions on the offensive end, holding leading scorer Scott Hastings in check. LC built an early lead, held on and earned a 48-39 Northwest Conference win in front a jam-packed audience.
"It's a huge confidence booster," said LC guard Zach Roetcisoender, who scored 12 points to go with six rebounds. "It gives us that confidence that we can beat anyone in Class 1A if we can beat Lynden."
Senior guard Grant Wolffis led the Lyncs (9-4, 5-2 NWC) with 16 points and nine rebounds, Logan Carlson had eight points and seven boards and Cody Fransen added five points and was paramount in limiting Hastings to only four points.
Lions sophomore Sterling Somers scored a team-high 13 points, and Jaremy Martin added nine points and a team-best 11 rebounds. It was Lynden's second loss this week after losing to Anacortes by one point Friday, Jan. 12.
Lynden (11-2, 3-2 NWC) had no answer for LC's defense, which was daring the Lions to shoot 3s. The Lyncs ran a compact-zone scheme and had Fransen, most of the night, shadow Hastings everywhere he went.
LC made scoring in the paint nearly impossible.
The Lions shot 1 of 14 from beyond the arc in the first half, were 5 of 27 from the field and followed up a four-point first quarter with a measly seven points in the second.
"We felt like we really needed to plug the paint, just make a lot of interference inside the paint," De Boer said. "We knew going in we were going to give up some outside shooting. Our hope and prayer was that they'd miss just enough shots to keep us in the game."
Lynden Christian executed its game plan flawlessly, De Boer said, and he gave Fransen tremendous praise.
"I tip my hat to Cody Fransen, what an amazing defensive job he did tonight," said the LC coach. "We told him we needed to tap into his soccer toughness. We were going to give up 4 or 5 inches and 40 or 50 pounds to Scooter, but we needed him to be really tough in defending him."
Carlson also helped slow Hastings, and the Lynden 6-foot-7 junior didn't score his first bucket until the 5:57 mark of the third quarter.
Lynden Christian quickly raced out to a big lead thanks to Roetcisoender's and Wolffis' offensive production. The Lyncs led 11-4 after the first quarter and 27-11 at halftime. The guard duo combined to scored 17 of LC's 27 first-half points, and Jake Van Berkum hit a 3-pointer right before the break to give the Lyncs an extra bit of momentum heading into the locker room.
Lynden's scoring troubles continued in the third and it wasn't until halfway into the fourth quarter that the Lions began hitting shots.
Lynden went on a 10-1 run to open the fourth. Somers hit a pair of important 3s from the right elbow, and Martin scored twice to cut the Lyncs' lead to 34-30 with 4:40 to go.
Jordan Wittenberg made a triple and a Jalani Phelps free throw made it 40-34 with 2:42 to play, but Lynden couldn't get any closer after Hastings, Somers and Wittenberg each fouled out.
Lynden's 39 points marked a new season low, and the Lions shot 24.5 percent from the field.
"They came out with a box-and-one, and we really didn't see that coming," Hastings said. "We didn't shoot the ball very well. That didn't help us at all."
De Boer said LC has to quickly move on from the win in order to prepare for Ferndale next, but did want his team to savor the moment, at least for a night.
"We have to keep it in perspective," said De Boer of the win, "but when it's been 10 years and you're playing your cross-town rival, I want the kids to enjoy it."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 48, LYNDEN 39
Lynden 4 7 9 19 - 39
Lynden Chr. 11 16 6 15 - 48
Lynden: Jordan Wittenberg 4, Parker Harrison 4, Sterling Somers 13, Trey Shagren 3, Jaremy Martin 9, Scott Hastings 4, Jalani Phelps 2, Caden Lair 0. Team totals: 15-61 3-8 39.
Lynden Christian: Jo Meppelink 0, Jake Van Berkum 4, Jake Poag 3, Zach Roetcisoender 12, Grant Wolffis 16, Josh Hornstra 0, Cody Fransen 5, Logan Carlson 8. Team totals: 12-34 19-32 48.
3-ptg: Lynden 6 (Somers 3), Lynden Christian 5 (Roetcisoender 2). Rebounds: Lynden 31 (Martin 11), Lynden Christian 35 (Wolffis 9). Assists: Lynden 4 (Martin 2), Lynden Christian 8 (Meppelink 3). Fouls: Lynden 24 (Hastings/Somers/Wittenberg), Lynden Christian 13. Turnovers: Lynden 8, Lynden Christian 12.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.