The talented, young Lynden Lions suddenly have more hope and the rest of the Northwest Conference boys basketball teams may have considerably less.
Trevin Hope, a 6-foot-6 junior in his third varsity game, made his first five shots and scored 14 points in a reserve role, complementing the starters’ solid play in Lynden’s 71-57 win over Squalicum on Tuesday, snapping the Storm’s eight-game winning streak.
Christian Zamora, a 6-4 sophomore, led the Lions (6-4, 4-1 NWC) with 22 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter. Zamora made nine consecutive free throws after Hope’s second 3-pointer put Lynden up 58-48 with 2:18 remaining.
The Lions needed the marksmanship because the Storm (10-2, 4-1) rallied from a 29-13 second-quarter deficit to pull within 41-38 in the last minute of the third quarter.
Lynden sophomore forward Clayton Whitman shot 7 for 12 from the field and finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Andrew Kivlighn, the Lions’ only senior starter, had 12 points, five assists and six rebounds, while 6-4 sophomore James Marsh had four blocks, six points and five rebounds. Sophomore point guard Kobe Elsner played the key minutes of the second half with four fouls.
‘Trevin has caught fire’
Zamora shot 1 for 4 in the first half as the Lions claimed a 33-23 advantage, so he was thrilled to see Hope shoot so well early on.
“Trevin has caught fire in practices,” Zamora said, noting how Hope overcame shin splints before being called up from the junior varsity.
The smooth, quick Zamora has enjoyed several big games, so his scoring was not a total surprise. Nor was his free-throw accuracy.
“I usually make in the 90s (percentage) in practice,” he said, “but I’ve never done that in a game.”
“Christian is definitely the man we want on the line,” said Lynden coach Brian Roper. “This is our biggest win to date. There’s no coach I respect more than (Squalicum’s fellow state Hall of Famer) Dave Dickson.”
The Storm did not go down easily, going on an 11-2 run when they were 12 points down midway through the third quarter.
Point guard Damek Mitchell, who led Squalicum with 22 points, converted a three-point play to start the run, then fired one of his seven assists to Jack Wendling for a layup.
Kendall Engelhart, who made 7 of 14 shots for 16 points, also took advantage of a Mitchell pass, followed by freshman Devante Powell’s consecutive drives, the first created by his steal.
But that was as close as Squalicum would come.
Zamora opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, then scored twice more before Whitman took over. Whitman’s driving layup and score off an offensive rebound kept the Lions ahead, followed by Marsh’s two free throws and Hope’s 3-pointer. Zamora removed all doubt with eight consecutive free throws for a 66-51 lead, then converted a three-point play for free throw No. 9.
“Different guys on different nights is not just a slogan for us; it’s a reality,” Roper said.
Roper noted the highly competitive Elsner’s foul trouble and a first-quarter injury to backup Blake Silves “left us to play point guard by committee for a while.” Fortunately for Lynden, Elsner displayed fourth-quarter poise and did not foul out.
Lynden now must play its final 10 games in the next 28 days.
“That’s a player’s dream,” Roper said with a grin, noting that Wednesday’s practice will be the first of only 14 more through the end of the regular season.
Lynden 71, Squalicum 57
Squalicum -- Mitchell 22, Engelhart `16, Powell 10, Peterson 2, Wendling 4, Lenderman 3, Johnson 0.
Lynden -- Zamora 22, Whitman 15, Kivlighn 12, Marsh 6, Elsner 0, Hope 14, Shine 0, Silves 0, House 2, Bode 0.