For Lynden Christian junior guard Zach Roetcisoender, who in two seasons playing varsity ball has established himself as one of the premium scorers in the Northwest Conference, it’s odd to think only three to four years ago he couldn’t shoot.
His mid-range game is lethal now, but in middle school? Not so much, he said.
“My shot from mid-range has always been my thing,” Roetcisoender said in a phone interview. “Back when I was little in seventh or eighth grade I couldn’t shoot at all, so my dad made me switch my shot to over-the-head. I wasn’t strong enough to shoot 3s, so I’d work on my mid-range, and that’s been my thing.”
Roetcisoender, who’s been on LC’s varsity team since he was a freshman, isn’t solely a scorer, but his versatility on the offensive end certainly is hard not to notice.
He has myriad ways to attack defenses.
“He is a guy we can use in a lot of different ways,” Lyncs coach Roger DeBoer said in a phone interview. “He is the type of kid who can post up, shoot the 3, he’s got a mid-range game.”
The Lynden Christian 6-foot-1 junior has developed his game like most, committing countless hours in the gym playing for AAU teams.
But when asked specifically how he’s added so many elements to his offensive arsenal, he had a simple answer for his post-up game.
“I was always big when I was little,” said Roetcisoender, who admitted he hasn’t went through a growth spurt in some time. “That’s how that came about.”
Roetcisoender averaged 3.4 points per game as a freshman, playing in 27 of LC’s 29 games the year the Lyncs placed fourth in state. Last season he flourished, averaged a team-leading 14.1 points per game with game-highs of 27 points twice. His strong season was rewarded with an all-Northwest Conference first-team selection.
But while Roetcisoender received the all-NWC accolade, he surely would have traded it for a stronger team finish.
Lynden Christian had a fine season, finishing 17-8, but the Lyncs struggled down the stretch. They lost to Meridian in the Class 1A District Tournament, which gave them a lower seed in the the 1A Tri-District Tournament. LC took a 62-59 opening-round loss Cascade Christian, a team Roetcisoender said Lynden Christian could have beat, and the Lyncs’ streak of three straight state appearances was snapped.
The loss stung the whole team, but has added motivation for this year’s campaign.
“After a situation like that, there was a bit of shock,” DeBoer said. “That comes with losing and things ending so suddenly. I think Zach and all his teammates take it as a challenge of, ‘Hey, let’s get back and see what we can do?’”
And strong team chemistry is one of the Lyncs’ top qualities this year, DeBoer said.
Everyone plays a role in that, but having a go-to scorer who is well-like by his teammates certainly helps.
“I think when you have a guy on the team others sense as a go-to guy or teammate, they can be difficult people,” DeBoer said. “(Roetcisoender) is such a great kid, and the coaches and players genuinely enjoy him. He’s a really good teammate.”
Roetcisoender said he learned the importance of being a team player his freshman year. The season prior to his first season, Lynden Christian had won a state championship, and Roetcisoender recalled he was nervous to step on anyone’s toes.
But senior team leader Isaac Reimer would frequently make him feel a part of the team.
“That was a huge confidence thing,” Roetcisoender said, “knowing the best player would do that to me, and that is how my approach has been. It’s all business on the court, but I like to have a friendship with all my teammates.”
This season Roetcisoender, who is only halfway through his high school career, doesn’t have any specific personal goals. Mainly, he said, he wants to play the best he can for his team and do everything in his power to help the Lyncs get back to the state tournament.