Few game-plan secrets exist when playing a team for the third time in a season.
The No. 4-ranked Lynden Lions knew exactly how they wanted to attack Sedro-Woolley. The Cubs did, too.
Lynden’s length and inside game fared better than Sedro-Woolley’s up-tempo style the first two times the Northwest Conference opponents met, and led by 6-foot-7 Scooter Hastings and 6-foot-5 Sterling Somers, the Lions again relied on their height to hand the Cubs a loss.
“When we got the ball inside, I thought we were very effective,” Lynden coach Brian Roper said. “and we shot 69 percent from the floor from two.”
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Somers exhibited his lethal low-post game and received plenty of help from his teammates, as the NWC champions beat Sedro-Woolley 80-66 during the first round of the Class 2A District Tournament on Friday, Feb. 13, at Jake Maberry Gymnasium.
Somers scored a team-high 19 points, with nearly all his field goals coming in the paint, and added a game-high 11 rebounds. Hastings scored 17, Jordan Wittenberg chipped in 15, Andrew Kivlign had 11 and Jonathan Whetnall produced 10, as all five Lynden starters reached double figures.
“It’s awesome,” said Somers of his teammates’ scoring output. “I feel like we are going to make a deep run if we keep playing like this as a team. Their production has been awesome lately.”
The No. 1-seeded Lions (17-4) will play Squalicum next in the district tournament semifinals at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, at Mount Vernon High School. Lynden beat the Storm 73-53 on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at home.
Lynden was in control throughout the first half and led 34-27 at the break against Sedro-Woolley, but a 15-5 third quarter closing run seemingly put the game out of reach. The Lions outscored the Cubs 27-15 in the third, thanks to eight points from Hastings, six from Wittenberg and five apiece from Somers and Kivlighn.
“We just talked about at halftime that we needed to play our game,” Somers said. “We knew we could outplay these guys. We had advantages over them all over the place.”
The Lions’ defense also did a strong job limiting Sedro-Woolley’s offensive threats. NWC leading scorer Jackson Price finished with 33 points, but 17 came in the fourth quarter when the Cubs were in a deep hole and trading free throws for easy twos.
Besides Price, no other Sedro-Woolley player scored more than nine points.
“Anytime you play Sedro it’s going to be a game of runs,” Roper said. “That’s just the way it is. You want to minimize their runs and try to make sure you get your own. ... Our philosophy, we didn’t want to let other guys get 3s. Jackson has a way of getting his regardless of what you do, so that was our plan going in, and it worked tonight.”
Wittenberg, who entered the contest averaging 6.4 points per game, gave Lynden strong minutes. His 15 points was his third straight game in double figures, and he was guarding Price most of the night.
The Lions extended their lead to 70-50 with 5:01 left in the fourth quarter. Sedro-Woolley closed the gap to 74-64 with 0:55 left, but the final surge was much too late.
Lynden 80, Sedro-Woolley 66
Sedro-Woolley: John Gaethle 2, Cade Isakson 0, Ethan Isakson 4, Jackson Price 33, Will Enniss 4, Mason Elms 7, Chad Wilberg 9, Anthony Cann 7, Lars Stenseth 0. Totals: 24-58 12-19 66.
Lynden: Noah King 3, Jonathan Whetnall 10, Clark Hazlett 2, Sterling Somers 19, Andrew Kivlighn 11, Scooter Hastings 17, Jordan Wittenberg 15, Davis Bode 3. Totals: 28-49 17-36 80.
3-point field goals — Sedro-Woolley: 6 (Price 5); Lynden: 5 (Wittenberg 2). Rebounds — Sedro-Woolley: 27 (Price 9); Lynden: 32 (Somers 11). Assists — Sedro-Woolley: 4 (Price 2); Lynden: 8 (Wittenberg 3). Fouls — Sedro-Woolley: 20; Lynden: 18 (Somers). Turnovers — Sedro-Woolley: 6; Lynden: 9.