LYNDEN - Lynden Christian coach Roger De Boer might have to reassure himself he's seeing straight the next time he looks at the Northwest Conference standings.
"First off, I'll have to pinch myself in the morning to see if it's really true," De Boer said.
No need for verification. The Lyncs have grabbed hold of the outright NWC lead with two weeks to go in the regular season.
LC has seemingly found a different way to win each game, De Boer said, and this time its victory came by overcoming Sedro-Woolley league scoring leader Jackson Price.
The No. 7-ranked Lyncs received key minutes from Josh Hornstra in the fourth quarter and outplayed the Cubs down the stretch to earn a 79-70 conference win in a matchup of the NWC's top two teams Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Lynden Christian.
Grant Wolffis scored a team-high 24 points, Zach Roetcisoender added 16 and Hornstra scored 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter.
"It's definitely a goal to have, but we have to finish off this week and get through the 1As," said Hornstra of being atop the league standings. "We just believed from the very get-go. When nobody else did, we believed."
Hornstra, who has enjoyed a recent string of good fortune against the Cubs (10-4, 6-2 NWC), gave the Lyncs (12-4, 7-1 NWC) a terrific fourth-quarter spark. Protecting a 54-50 lead, LC opened the period on a 9-2 run. The LC senior forward scored all nine points.
Hornstra helped push the score to 63-52, which was Lynden Christian's largest lead of the game.
"We always go to Sedro for team (summer) camp," Hornstra explained. "We played them a few times over the course of that, and every time we played them it seemed like they were a team that I could take care of."
De Boer also learned during that time how lethal a guard Price is. He called the 5-foot-10 junior "one of the toughest person to guard" that he's had to game plan for.
Price still managed to score a game-high 29 points, which was better than his conference-leading 27.4 points per game average, but LC's Cody Fransen and Jake Van Berkum held Price in check most of the game.
"We felt the more we could keep it out of his hands the better," De Boer said. "We exerted a lot of energy tonight to make that happen."
Price scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter with 10 of them coming at the free-throw line. He only made two second-half field goals after scoring 13 first-half points.
He helped Sedro-Woolley take early command of the game. The Cubs built an 18-11 lead - their largest of the contest - after Jackson hit a triple with 1:45 to go in the first quarter.
But LC answered back with a 13-4 scoring run to start the second. Wolffis and Roetcisoender combined for 14 of LC's 21 points, and the pair finished the quarter with back-to-back driving layups to give the Lyncs a 34-30 halftime advantage.
Meanwhile, Lynden Christian forward Logan Carlson created matchup problems for the undersized Cubs. Carlson finished with six points, but his contributions came in the paint, where he snatched a game-high 12 rebounds and blocked five shots.
De Boer called him a "difference maker," and his performance came while nursing an injured ankle. De Boer said he was a late lineup add after Carlson pleaded with De Boer to let him give it a go.
Six different lead changes took place in the third quarter, and Van Berkum drilled a buzzer-beating 3 to put the Lyncs up four points heading into the final quarter.
After Hornstra's big effort, Sedro-Woolley put the game in limbo once more when Will Enniss and Price hit back-to-back 3s to pull the score to 69-66 with 1:58 left, but Wolffis and Roetcisoender made clutch free throws and LC forced a pair of turnovers to seal the game.
"I am so proud of them," De Boer said. "These kids continue to find a way in different types of games. They have such heart, the chemistry, the way they play together."
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 79, SEDRO-WOOLLEY 70
Sedro-Woolley 18 12 20 20 - 70
Lynden Chr. 13 21 20 25 - 79
Sedro-Woolley: Blaine Hindman 13, Ethan Isakson 2, Jackson Price 29, Will Enniss 9, Anthony Cann 3, Mason Elms 4, Michael Moser 8, Chad Wilburg 2, Evan Davenport 0. Team Totals: 21-48 20-25 70
Lynden Christian: Josiah Meppelink 2, Jake Van Berkum 7, Jake Poag 0, Zach Roetcisoender 16, Grant Wolffis 24, Josh Hornstra 14, Cody Fransen 8, Logan Carlson 6, Lucas Roetcisoender 2. Team totals: 31-58 16-27 79.
3-ptg: Sedro-Woolley 7 (Price 3), Lynden Christian 1 (Jake Van Berkum 1). Rebounds: Sedro-Woolley 21 (Elms 4), Lynden Christian 31 (Carlson 12). Assists: Sedro-Woolley 9 (Elms 3), Lynden Christian 7 (Hornstra 2). Fouls: Sedro-Woolley 16 (Hindman/Moser), Lynden Christian 24. Turnovers: Sedro-Woolley 16, Lynden Christian 14
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.