With 50 seconds left and the Lynden Christian boys’ basketball team trailing in the Class 1A State Championship, senior Cody Fransen went up for a rebound, got tangled with a King’s player and fell to the ground awkwardly.
The senior stayed on the ground for a couple seconds and it appeared his injuries had finally caught up to him.
The Lyncs’ 15.9 points per game player has been playing with torn ligaments in both wrists all season and nagging shin splints.
But Fransen, who’s had to take several ice baths and train in the hotel room to even play this weekend, got up gingerly, saying after the game he twisted his knee in the wrong direction.
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“It didn’t feel the greatest,” said Fransen, who’s been known to underplay his injuries.
The coaching staff would keep him out of certain drills during the season so he would be healthy for games, but if coach Roger DeBoer stepped out of the gym for a second, there was Fransen sneaking back into competition with his teammates and always with a little grin on his face, DeBoer said.
So it came as no surprise to DeBoer that Fransen was pleading not to be put on the bench — despite the limp he paced around with after picking himself up off the floor — with just seconds remaining in his high school career.
“He said, ‘Don’t take me out, don’t take me out,’” DeBoer explained. “He just won’t come out.”
DeBoer sat the 6-4 forward anyway, but he returned just two seconds later after a pair of free throws by King’s.
“It shows what kind of heart that kid has,” DeBoer said. “I think he just does an amazing job of blocking the pain out. Cody is one of our guys. What he demonstrated is how much he wanted to be successful tonight.”
He finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds in Lynden Christian’s 45-40 loss on Saturday, March 7.
His performance exemplifies what the Lyncs went through to get to the championship game.
Blake Mellema was coming off hip surgery and still isn’t fully healthy. Mellema also was dealing with a sprained ankle. Josiah Meppelink pulled his hip flexor and had back problems. Daulton Hommes tore his ACL for the second time. The Lyncs also all caught the flu at one point during the season, to go along with five players being suspended for two games.
“It was just one thing after another, and we thought if we could come through it, we could be pretty special by the end,” DeBoer said. “We continued to grow stronger and stronger.”
For as much as the Lyncs went through during the 2014-15 season being in a state title game was a testament to their toughness.
“To make it to the championship game just showed the characters of every single one of the guys on this team,” Fransen said. “We show a lot of heart and we don’t back down to anything. We’re relentless and you can see that on the court.”
It certainly showed on Saturday night.