Lyncs cruise into semis with 63-40 win over Granger (w/game video)

The Bellingham HeraldMarch 6, 2014 

YAKIMA - Lynden Christian overwhelmed Granger with its height, athleticism and suffocating defense, ensuring its state-title dream was still alive after day one of the Hardwood Classic.

It was a different feeling from a year ago, when the Lyncs suffered a first-round loss to defending Class 1A champion Brewster.

"It feels really good, because obviously we played Brewster in the first round," LC forward Kara Bajema said. "This year we just came out strong, wanting to win this game, and I think that's just it."

LC didn't waste time distancing itself from Granger, and overcame an early game-ending injury to starting point guard Makayla Lancaster to earn a 63-40 Class 1A State Tournament quarterfinal win Thursday evening, March 6, at Yakima's SunDome.

Bajema recorded game highs of 18 points and nine rebounds and was rarely challenged in the paint against the undersized Spartans.

Lynden Christian senior guard Sally Vlas added 13 points, and Karley De Jager chipped in 12.

"Kara had the height advantage, so we were looking to run some back-door stuff and get her the ball in position where she could be successful with it," Lyncs coach Curt De Haan said. "She did a great job of finishing and a great job on the offensive boards, too."

LC (23-3) set the game's tone from the start with its high-energy, in-your-face 2-2-1 full-court press.

Vlas scored eight of LC's first 10 points, and Lynden Christian generated five of Granger's 20 turnovers within the opening five minutes.

The defensive speed of Vlas combined with the height of Courtney Hollander and Bajema frustrated Granger's guards. The Spartans' ability to break the press and get into their half-court set seemed like an accomplishment each possession.

"I think they got frantic when we started with the 2-2-1," Bajema said, "and it's hard to see around us, so I think that got it all started."

However, less than three minutes into the game Lynden Christian had to deal with its own adversity, after Lancaster went down with an apparent right leg injury. Lancaster, a three-year starter and arguably LC's top defensive player, writhed in pain and was attended to for nearly 10 minutes before she hobbled to the bench with a soft cast wrapped around her leg.

Lyncs reserve Kassady Aldrich replaced Lancaster, and LC never wavered. Haley Hollander also elevated her game in Lancaster's absence.

"I thought the girls remained focused even though they lost her," De Haan said. "They responded real well. Haley came in and did a good job offensively and defensively. We got some good looks for Aldrich as well."

LC put together an 11-0 first-quarter scoring run to take a 14-3 lead 5:10 into the game, but the Spartans cut their deficit to 20-13 early in the second quarter before the Lyncs went on another run that ultimately put Granger in too deep a bind.

Bajema and Hollander each chipped in four points and De Jager converted a bucket, as the Lyncs posted 10 straight points to extend their lead to 30-13 with 3:00 in the second quarter.

Granger never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

And a big reason was LC's ability to crash the glass. Lynden Christian outrebounded Granger 44-21 and owned a 19-4 offensive rebounding edge.

Twenty-two of LC's points were in the paint compared to the Spartans' six.

"We knew they were real quick, but they were a younger team," De Haan said. "We thought we'd have a lot of success with our size."

The Lyncs now turn their attention to Caribou Trail League powerhouse Cashmere. The undefeated Bulldogs beat Kalama 59-23 in their quarterfinal.

LC will be looking to avenge an early-season 51-39 loss to Cashmere.

"Oh yeah, we've been talking about them since we lost," said Bajema, answering whether she was excited to get another shot at the Bulldogs. "We have been keeping the pressure up for those kinds of games, so we can be ready."

Reach Andrew Lang at or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

Class 1A State Tournament semifinal

7:15 p.m. Friday, March 7, at SunDome

Lynden Christian vs. Cashmere

Looking ahead: The No. 1-ranked Cashmere Bulldogs (25-0) easily defeated Kalama 59-23 in their opening-round game in the Class 1A state championships. Cashmere's defense held the Chinooks to less than eight points in each of the four quarters, and Lauren Johnson and Breanne Knishka both had 19 points from the floor. Knishka was 4 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line, and she also added three assists and six rebounds. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 30-12 lead heading into halftime, and had a 20-point third quarter to put things away for good.

Quote: "I ended up guarding little girls half my size, and they were guarding me, so we could use the advantage inside, and that's where I got most of my points. The game I didn't get an outside shot." - Kara Bajema

Beyond the Box: Leading 20-13 with 6:03 left in the second quarter, the Lyncs went on a 10-0 run to seemingly put the game out of reach. Kara Bajema and Haley Hollander recorded eight of LC's 10 points.


Granger 7 12 9 12 - 40

Lynden Christian 16 18 19 10 - 63


Granger M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Kiki Rodriguez 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Sierra Heitzman 2-3 0-0 0-5 1 4 6

Shaniya Gunnier 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 1 2

Rikki Zavala 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 0 2

Angelica Oliveros 4-7 0-0 0-0 0 0 8

Mayu Molina 1-5 0-2 0-1 0 3 4

Brook John 0-3 0-0 0-3 0 0 0

Alexis Castro 5-13 1-4 1-2 3 1 12

Lindsey Carpenter 1-5 0-0 2-4 0 2 2

Paige Blodgett 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0

Vanessa Vasquez 2-5 0-2 0-0 0 0 5

Totals 15-41 5-12 4-21 12 12 40

Percentages: FG 36.6, FT 41.7 3-Point FG: 5-11, 45.5 (Heitzman 2-2, Molina 1-2, Castro 1-4, Vasquez 1-3). Blocked Shots: 4 (John 4). Steals: 8 (Castro 3, Heitzman 1, Gunnier 1, Oliveros 1, Blodgett 1, Vasquez 1). Turnovers: 20 (Heitzman 4, Castro 6, Molina 4, Oliveros 3, Gunnier 1Blodgett 1, Carpenter 1).


Lynden Christian M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Makayla Lancaster 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Haley Hollander 3-4 0-0 0-3 1 1 6

Kara Bajema 6-11 6-6 4-9 2 4 18

Courtney Hollander 0-1 2-2 1-4 2 2 2

Sally Vlas 4-6 3-4 2-4 2 13

Kassady Aldrich 1-4 1-1 0-4 0 3 3

Karley De Jager 6-13 0-0 0-1 0 1 12

Sara Dougan 3-11 1-2 1-3 0 0 7

Emmalee Bailey 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Brittany Te Velde 0-0 0-2 0-1 0 0 0

Shaye Brandsma 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Morgan Van Kooten 1-5 0-2 3-6 0 1 2

Totals 24-56 12-18 19-44 8 13 63

Percentages: FG 42.9, FT 66.7 3-Point FG: 3-5, 60 (Vlas 2, Aldrich 1). Blocked Shots: 1 (Van Kooten 1). Steals: 11 (Vlas 3, Bajema 2, Haley Hollander 1, Courtney Hollander 1, Aldrich 1, De Jager 1, Dougan 1, Van Kooten 1). Turnovers: 12 (Bajema 2, Courtney Hollander 2, Aldrich 3, De Jager 2, Dougan 1, Bailey 1).

WATCH VIDEO iframe width="600" height="420" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

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