Lynden one year ago in Lynden Christian’s gym struggled mightily on offense, suffering its first defeat to the Lyncs in the last decade.
In front of what Lynden coach Brian Roper estimated as 2,500 fans, the Lions, on their home court, decisively reclaimed the title of best team in town.
And this time Lynden Christian had few answers for Lynden’s offense.
But on Coaches vs. Cancer night when the community rallied together to honor those affected by the disease and raise funds to fight it, a special performance by Lynden’s Andrew Kivlighn stood above the rivalry.
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Kivlighn, who lost his older brother this past year to cancer, and his family’s story was shared at halftime. The sophomore guard ended up engineering a career performance.
Kivlighn, who converted four of the Lions’ eight 3s, scored a team-high 16 points, helping No. 3-ranked Lynden to a comfortable 62-44 Northwest Conference win over Class 1A No. 7-ranked LC on Thursday night, Jan. 22, at Lynden High School.
“Andrew Kivlighn had a career night,” Roper said. “It was fun. It was emotional. It was great to see a kid on a night when we honor his brother who passed away last year, to go out and play the best game of his career.”
Kivlighn was one of four Lions in double figures. Sterling Somers finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists, Scooter Hastings recorded 11 points and 10 boards and Jonathan Whetnall scored 11 points to with six rebounds.
The win was the sixth straight for the Lions (12-3, 6-1 NWC).
Lynden Christian (10-6, 4-4 NWC) never got into a great offensive rhythm, but Cody Fransen supplied plenty scoring, recording a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Roetcisoender chipped in 13, and the duo accounted for 36 of the Lyncs’44 points. Fransen scored 14 of LC’s 20 second-half points.
Lynden only trailed once early in the first quarter with the game at 7-6. The Lions were in command the rest of the way thanks to a balanced offense attack featuring strong inside play by Somers and Hastings combined with Kivlighn’s and Whetnall’s deep sharpshooting.
Three of Kivlighn’s triples came in the first half, while all three of Whetnall’s 3s came in the third quarter.
“(Lynden Christian) Coach (Roger) DeBoer is known for taking away strengths, and our strength is inside,” Roper said, “so we knew we had to have our shooters shoot and still try to find that inside-outside balance, and our guys shot with confidence.”
The offensive showing was far more impressive than the Lions’ 48-39 loss to the Lyncs a year ago.
Lynden led 20-13 at the end of the first and with the help of Kivlighn, Somers and Hastings, extended the halftime lead to 33-24.
The Lyncs were still in the game down nine, but a 7-0 run to open the third crippled LC. In less than a four-minute span Whetnall’s three 3-pointers pushed the Lions’ lead to 46-29 with 2:45 left in the third.
Fransen helped trim the deficit to 52-41 with 3:15 to go, but that was the closest the Lyncs would get.