Sophomore point guard Avery Dykstra used her athleticism and growing self-confidence to help take charge of a girls’ playoff game that seemed right out of the slower 1970s.
Dykstra doubled her average with 12 points, each significant, in Lynden Christian’s 48-31 win over defensively stubborn Nooksack Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Class 1A Northwest District Tournament semifinals.
“Avery has been spending a lot of time on her game,” said LC coach Brady Bomber, whose Lyncs (19-2) clinched a Bi-District Tournament berth. “I’ve given her the freedom. If she gains the advantage, she has to go for it.”
Dykstra did just that, scoring five key points in the second quarter to go with six first-half points by freshman reserve Isabela Hernandez as the Lyncs broke from an 8-6 first quarter lead to a 20-10 halftime advantage, holding the Pioneers to 1 for 15 first-half shooting. Dykstra wrapped it up with seven fourth-quarter points.
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“Nooksack played one of the best defensive games we’ve seen,” said Dykstra, who received support from Kara Bajema (12 rebounds and 11 points), Sam Van Loo (8 points) and Haley Hollander (7 points).
Brianna Turner led Nooksack (14-9) with a game-high 16 points, including 10 of the team’s first 12. Katrina Gimmaka scored 9, including all three of her team’s the third-quarter hoops, and Arlissa Oetell had 6 as the only other scorer.
“I’m really happy with our defense,” said Nooksack coach Shane Wichers. “We wanted to make them work for every basket and we did.”
LC plays for the district title at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at Mount Vernon. Nooksack will play a loser-out game against Bothell Cedar Park Christian on Thursday, but Wichers wasn’t 100 percent sure of the site.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
… Following Turner’s third bucket of the fourth quarter, Dykstra scored on a drive, Hollander hit two free throws and Dykstra made one, an Dykstra scored on another drive for a 46-29 lead with three minutes left.
PLAY OF THE GAME
There was one 3-pointer in this old-fashioned pack-em-in defensive battle, but it was huge: Bajema’s 3 gave the Lyncs an 11-0 run and a 33-17 advantage late in the third quarter.
THE UNSUNG HERO
Hernandez scored on a steal and layup and followed with two free throws late in the first half. She made a key pass to Emmalee Bailey for a hoop during the 11-0 run.
Lynden Christian 48, Nooksack Valley 31
Nooksack Valley: Brianna Turner 16, Katrina Gimmaka 9, Arlissa Oettel 6, Jenna Tenkley 0, Olivia Berkan 0, Rachel Sande 0, Maddi Myhre 0, Jasmin Zavala 0, Emilia Gimmaka 0, Cassidy Zylstra 0. Total: 31.
Lynden Christian: Kara Bajema 11, Avery Dykstra 12, Haley Hollander 7, Sam Van Loo 8, Shaye Brandsma 0, Emmalee Bailey 2, Riley Van Hulzen 2, Isabela Hernandez 6, Torina Hommes 0. Total: 48.