Coach Brady Bomber had no doubt his unbeaten Lynden Christian girls’ basketball team had just played its best game.
“Haley Hollander made the right play every time and so did Kara Bajema,” an enthused Bomber said of his standout seniors, who most of all provided outstanding leadership in LC’s 57-49 win over Class 2A state power White River on the opening night of Lynden Christian’s Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Hollander enjoyed likely the most productive game of the quick guard’s career, with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-2 Bajema finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a match-up of last year’s Class 1A and 2A fourth-place state trophy winners.
The scoring and rebounding balance was remarkable for the Lyncs (8-0). Avery Dykstra had 8 points, Sam Van Loo scored six, and Emmalee Bailey and Riley Van Hulzen had five and four, respectively, with all four contributing vital second-half hoops to help negate Kendall Bird’s 22 points for White River (6-2). Dykstra finished with eight rebounds and Shaye Brandsma and Van Loo each had six.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN …
With 40 seconds left, Bajema grabbed a rebound and scored on a classic hook shot for a 55-47 lead. Hollander followed with two free throws for the game’s final points with 16 seconds remaining.
“Haley was definitely our leader tonight with a great effort,” said Bajema, who shook off 4-for-14 field-goal shooting to play brilliantly in every other aspect.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Bajema blocked a shot and grabbed the rebound in the same motion. She then immediately fed Riley Van Hulzen on a quick break for a 46-41 advantage nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter. Hollander and Bajema quickly traded assists to produce baskets for each standout.
Bailey scored on a long 3-pointer from the corner — LC’s only 3 — to snap a 36-all tie midway through the third period, giving the Lyncs the lead for good. At that point, seven girls had scored for LC, including freshman Isabela Hernandez, whose old-fashioned 3-point power shot provided the Lyncs with their largest lead of the first half at 32-27.
Class 3A Glacier Peak (9-1), a 71-40 winner over Gig Harbor, will face the Lyncs at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30.
“We’ll really be tested this week,” said Bomber, whose team tackles Class 4A Snohomish on Saturday.
“I really love playing teams in higher classifications,” Bajema said. “That’s good for us.”
Lynden Christian 57, White River 49
Lynden Christian: Haley Hollander 21, Kara Bajema 10, Riley Van Hulzen 4, Avery Dykstra 8, Sam Van Loo 6, Emmalee Bailey 5, Isabela Hernandez 3, Shaye Brandsma 0. Totals: 22-67 12-26 57.
White River: Kendall Bird 22, Georgia Lavinder 9, Lucy Rasmussen 2, Maci Goethals 4, Darian Gore 2, Sofia Lavinder 2, Sydney Andersen 8, Sidney Schultz 0, Kayla Howard 0, Dallas Bushaw 0. Totals: 17-65 14-21 49.
3-point field goals — LC 1 (Bailey); White River 1 (Goethals). Rebounds — LC 59 (Hollander 10); White River 44 (Bird 10). Assists — LC 9 (Bajema 5); White River 7 (Goethals 3). Fouls — LC 14; White River 22 (Gore). Turnovers — LC 11; White River 11.