Nooksack Valley senior Katrina Gimmaka continued to show she can likely score against pretty much anyone among the state’s Class 1A girls basketball powers.
Undefeated Lynden Christian, meanwhile, demonstrated once again how the tall, muscular Lyncs likely can rebound with any contender for state honors.
LC struggled much of the time against the Pioneers’ feisty defenders, as most teams have, but the Lyncs’ 54-39 Northwest Conference win Friday was primarily due to their 50-24 rebounding advantage and sheer defensive determination.
That, plus 6-foot-1 junior Isabella Hernandez’s most productive best game of the season for LC (11-0 overall, 4-0 NWC) with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
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Gimmaka, who came in averaging about 19 points and 15 rebounds for Nooksack (7-4, 2-2), finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, including 10 points in the final quarter.
“I was extremely happy with our effort,” Pioneers coach Shane Wichers said of his team, only the fourth to hold the high-scoring Lyncs in the 50s. “That was our best defensive game of the season, no question.”
The dynamic 5-11 Gimmaka fell to floor in pain as the game-ending buzzer ended when she took her last shot.
“I’ll be OK,” she said a few minutes later. “It was just a (strong) cramp.”
The Lyncs did well to limit her to 7 for 20 shooting, including two 3-pointers. Gimmaka was at her best in the fourth quarter, hitting 3 of 5 shots.
THE KEY STRETCH
Nooksack trailed only 27-21 early in the second half when Hernandez converted a three-point play. Avery Dykstra then hit a 3-pointer and Grace Sterk muscled in a basket for the game’s largest lead at 35-23.
Nooksack freshman Maya Galley rolled to the hoop to score a stylish basket off a pass from Karley Stremler and Gimmaka followed with a hook shot. But LC junior Josie Bocci took a fine assist from Hernandez and converted a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer for a 38-27 advantage.
Dykstra finished with 14 points, six steals, seven rebounds and four assists. Sterk scored 11 points and Sam Van Loo contributed 12 rebounds and eight points while Riley VanHulzen grabbed eight rebounds and sophomore Riley Dykstra had six.
Stremler and sophomore Kora Larsen scored seven apiece for Nooksack.
‘WE CRASHED WELL’
“Coach (Brady Bomber) had us prepared well,” Hernandez said. “The whole team played outstanding defense. Now our challenge is to stay hungry and don’t get satisfied.”
Bomber admired the grinding defense of both teams.
“We did a great job of staying active. Isabella really was good on the deflections,” Bomber said. “Nooksack did a great job of packing the lanes.”