Emily Holt turned to Lynden’s bench and screamed “Truth!” after one of her three second-half 3-pointers helped the Lions earn a 55-45 comeback victory over Lynden Christian and gave Lynden the Northwest Conference lead over the Lyncs.
“Average players want to be left alone, good players want to be coached and great players want to be told the truth,” Lions coach Rob Adams said late Friday, Jan. 22, before one of his most thrilling wins. “That’s what I told the girls.”
In this case, the truth was that Holt, Jasmyne Neria and Lauren Zwiers went scoreless in the first half and combined for only four shots. In the second half, they gutted it out to combine for 27 points, including 10 by Neria, 8 by Zwiers (including a 3-pointer to give the defensively relentless Lions the lead for good at 37-35 to open the fourth quarter) and Holt‘s 9, all on 3-pointers to begin Lynden’s march to its 12th consecutive win.
The fourth-ranked Class 2A Lions (14-1, 7-0 NWC) trailed 28-13 midway through the second quarter, but nine points each by Elisa Kooiman and Maria Gonzalez kept Lynden alive while trailing 28-20 at the half.
“I just wanted to make my mom proud of me,” said Gonzalez, who scored Lynden’s only three hoops in the first quarter after her touching tribute was read to the crowd about her mom’s battle with lymphoma on Coaches vs. Cancer Night before a packed LC house. She had 10 points and Kooiman scored 16.
The top-ranked Class 1A Lyncs (14-2, 7-1 NWC) ran to an 11-0 lead as every starter — Kara Bajema, Shaye Brandsma, Haley Hollander, Sam Van Loo and Avery Dykstra — scored. Bajema finished as the only double-figure scorer with 14, including 10 in the first half, as the Lions limited the Lyncs to 5 for 23 second-half shooting after LC went 12 for 25 in the first half.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN …
… Neria converted a 3-point play for a 50-42 lead with 1:03 remaining and Kooiman and Gonzalez soon followed with free throws for 52-42 for 22 seconds to play.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Holt heard her teammates count down the final seconds of the third quarter and responded with a desperate baseball-type shot for a stunning 3 at the buzzer, cutting LC’s lead to 35-34 as the crowd went nuts.
“I’m a goalie in soccer,” Holt said with a shy grin, explaining her unorthodox style on that shot.
WHAT IT MEANS
With five league games left, Lynden controls the path to a top seed in the Northwest District Tournament.
Lynden hosts Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and LC welcomes Blaine on Friday, Jan. 29.
Lynden 55, Lynden Christian 45
Away Team: Elise Kooiman 16, Mariah Gonzalez 10, Jasmyne Neria 10, Emily Holt 9, Lauren Zwiers 8, Natalie Amos 2, Olivia Bonsen 0, Heidi Lankhaar 0. Totals: 15-31 20-24 55.
Home Team: Kara Bajema 14, Haley Hollander 9, Shaye Brandsma 5, Sam Van Loo 7, Avery Dykstra 7, Isabela Hernandez 3, Emmalee Bailey 0, Riley Van Hulzen 0. Totals: 17-48 9-15 45.
3-point field goals: Lynden 5 (Holt 3); LC 2 (Brandsma, Hollander). Rebounds: 23 (Kooiman 8); LC 23 (Hollander 8). Assists: Lynden 7 (Kooiman 3); LC 8 (Brandsma 4). Fouls: Lynden 16, LC 22 (Hollander).