LYNDEN — As the tallest eighth-grade girl in her school, Joanie Reimer didn’t like basketball enough to even try it.
Now that she’s a 6-foot-2 Lynden Christian senior, it’s her opponents who often find they aren’t crazy about the game.
Reimer, Whatcom County’s leading field-goal shooter, topped even her high standards with 6 for 6 shooting in LC’s 67-41 victory over Mount Baker on Tuesday in a matchup of unbeaten Northwest Conference contenders.
Reimer, who came in shooting 58.2 percent from the floor while averaging nearly 10 points per game, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds as the Lyncs improved to 13-0 overall and 6-0 in the NWC. Baker fell to 7-5, 4-1.
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Senior teammate Jill Elgersma has watched Reimer improve since the LC center first tried basketball as a freshman.
“Joanie is way better than she was last year,” Elgersma said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a game like this one,” said Reimer, who is usually overshadowed by high-scoring Brianne Ryan and Kenzie De Boer.
Reimer couldn’t recall exactly why she didn’t like basketball before coming to LC, but she came up with a logical explanation.
“Maybe it was because I just grew so fast, and I wasn’t comfortable with my body yet,” she said, recalling she was about 5-11 in eighth grade. “I remember a lot of people being frustrated (that I wouldn’t play) because I was so tall. Finally, I decided to go out at the request of my freshman coach, Jeff Thomas, and I found out I loved basketball.”
She had no trouble, however, explaining why she has fit in so well for a relative novice on an experienced team.
“I played on a select AAU traveling team from Seattle, The Way to Win, last summer with Brianne Ryan,” she said. “I thought all those girls must be absolutely amazing, but I found that I fit in OK.
“Now I’m interested in trying basketball in college.”
Reimer scored all 14 points in the first three quarters, mostly on pin-point passes from guard Shannon Brandsma over Baker’s 1-3-1 zone.
Brandma finished with eight assists. Ryan had 19 points on 8 for 16 shooting and De Boer scored 16 with 6 for 9 accuracy, including three 3-pointers. De Boer has eight 3-pointers over a two-game span.
“I thought Tara Visser did a nice job of defense off the bench against Courtney VanBrocklin,” said LC coach Curt De Haan, who had to assign others to guard VanBrocklin after Ryan got two fouls in the first three minutes.
“I thought we did OK against Courtney,” De Haan said of LC’s defense, which produced 14 steals, including five by De Boer. Van Brocklin, who came in as the county’s leading scorer with a 23.5 average, finished with 17 points, but was held to nine points and two rebounds in the first half as the Lyncs ran to a 41-16 lead.
Nicole Buchanan had 11 points for Baker.
How good was LC? At the point the Lyncs led 51-19 three minutes into the third quarter, they had connected on 20 of their first 32 shots and had 26 rebounds to Baker’s 11, plus 11 steals.
“We didn’t play as well as I thought we could,” said Baker coach Brenda Ellis, who couldn’t use 3-point leader Brandi Anderson and Danielle Leech more than a few minutes because of illnesses. “I thought we were a little intimidated. We just couldn’t find any energy.”