High School Basketball

What makes playing basketball in the town of Lynden so special?

Players such as Lynden’s Andrew Kivlighn, left, and Lynden Christian’s Avery Dykstra are living out a dream playing basketball in Lynden.
Players such as Lynden’s Andrew Kivlighn, left, and Lynden Christian’s Avery Dykstra are living out a dream playing basketball in Lynden. eabell@bhamherald.com

Growing up in Lynden, Brady Bomber idolized the Lynden boys basketball team.

As a kid, he shot hoops in his backyard pretending he was on the floor of the Jake Maberry Gymnasium. He even had a newspaper clipping signed by one of his favorite players, Treven Vander Ploeg.

In 2007, Bomber was the starting point guard on the Lynden team that won its first state title since 1992. In his locker was the signed clipping from Vander Ploeg.

Now, Bomber is the coach of the second-seeded Lynden Christian girls basketball team that will be one of four Lynden teams playing in the regional round of the state tournament Saturday in Mount Vernon in a quadrupleheader. There’s something about basketball that brings out the best in Lyndenites.

The town of about 12,000 people has churned out solid state tournament performances year after year, on both the boys and girls teams. Lynden boys won their first of eight titles in 1961, and the Lynden girls won it all in 2009 and finished runner-up last season.

Being raised in Lynden means being well-aware of the rich basketball traditions and, if you play, continuing the cycle for the next generation.

“I would look up in the stands as a kid and see generations of fans either happy when we won or crying when we lost,” Bomber said. “Everyone in Lynden appreciates that period of life.”

Two players who are in the midst of their high school careers are Lynden’s Andrew Kivlighn and Jared House.

Kivlighn said he knows the home crowd will be there supporting the team.

House, who grew up going to basketball camps put on by Lynden coaches and run by players, said he always pictured himself in their shoes.

“I remember looking up to those guys so much,” House said. “I got to run drills last summer and it was cool being the one helping the kids instead.”

At these camps, Lynden kids learn the fundamentals of the game, something that is key to the brand of basketball the Lions play.

“Lynden is known for being a team that plays the right way,” Bomber said. “It’s unselfish, making the extra pass, high basketball IQ.”

Lynden boys coach Brian Roper echoed Bomber.

“It’s guys who put the team before themselves,” Roper said. “I haven’t heard one guy talk about individual statistics this year.”

Roper said embracing tradition is important, but that each team wants to carve out its own spot in history.

“We respect the players and coaches that have laid the groundwork, but our players know they have their own identity,” Roper said.

Roper said while having a rich tradition is great, it doesn’t just happen automatically.

“This will be our 10th time in the last 12 years that we’ve gone to state, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Roper said. “We have a strong sense of accomplishment each year.”

State regional round schedule

▪ Class 1A boys: Warden vs. Lynden Christian (at Mount Vernon), noon Saturday

▪ Class 1A girls: La Center vs. Lynden Christian (at Mount Vernon), 2 p.m. Saturday

▪ Class 2A boys: Olympic vs. Lynden (at Mount Vernon), 4 p.m. Saturday

▪ Class 1A girls: Meridian vs. Seattle Academy (at Mountlake Terrace), 4 p.m. Saturday

▪ Class 2A girls: Burlington-Edison vs. Lynden (at Mount Vernon), 6 p.m. Saturday

▪ Class 1A girls: Mount Baker vs. Cashmere (at Wenatchee), 6 p.m. Saturday