In one of the earliest boys basketball openers in Lynden’s history, the Lions allowed 43 points in the second half, endured 22 turnovers overall and suffered a 28-2 run immediately after building a 36-22 advantage.
Even so, Lynden’s 63-58 loss to Stanwood on Tuesday nonetheless showed that both teams seem to have the potential to return to the state tournament.
“We wanted to play a good team to learn more about ourselves,” said Lions coach Brian Roper, who noted that the Spartans have a 56-2 record in the previous five seasons in the Wesco North.
And what did the Lions learn?
“We just have to value the ball better,” Roper said. “It was a strange game. It came down to how we struggled with our passing, and Stanwood is a good passing team.”
Marsh, Zamora shine
As ragged as the Lions were while scoring only seven points in the first and third quarters – and as potential-laden as they seemed during 22-point second and fourth quarters – Lynden appeared to retain its mental muscles in the wake of Stanwood’s 28-2 run. The run ended when Christian Zamora scored three minutes into the fourth quarter.
“I think we were still (mentally) in it,” James Marsh said, explaining how the Lions fought so hard in the final five minutes to rally within five points several times from a 50-38 deficit following the end of the Spartans’ fatal spree.
Zamora shot 6 for 9 from the field and 7 for 8 from the line for a game-high 21 points. He had a pair of 3-pointers along with three steals and five rebounds.
Marsh and Zamora – both standouts as sophomores on Lynden’s third-place trophy winner at Class 2A state last season – each had eight points in the final quarter against the quicker Spartans, who were fourth at Class 3A state.
Marsh made 8 of 13 field-goal attempts and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Matt Vail, a 6-foot-5 post who was a backup last season, led Stanwood with 20 points with at least four in each quarter.
Quick, aggressive guard Nate Kummer, one of the Spartans’ eight seniors, had 19 points with 11 in the final quarter to keep Stanwood ahead.
Kummer had seven steals with at least one in each period. Senior guard Karl DeBoer hit a game-high three 3-pointers.
Whitman breaks wrist
Late last week, 6-5 Lions junior Clayton Whitman, who was often outstanding last season, sustained a broken wrist. He is out indefinitely.
Guards Kobe Elsner and Blake Silves, both junior returnees, combined for 15 points to help pick up some of the scoring slack as the Lions shot 21 for 43 from the field and 13 for 15 from the line.
Brock Heppner, the team’s only sophomore, had seven rebounds and two steals.