When Lynden scoring leader Elisa Kooiman hit the floor with a palpable thud after a rebound in the opening minute, fellow junior Jasmyne Neria thought Kooiman “absolutely set the tone” and somehow also executed a difficult assist on her back.
Sophomore Natalie Amos turned Kooiman’s odd assist into a 3-point play and the Lions (19-2) were off to a 58-23 win over Sedro-Woolley (6-15) in the opening round of the Class 2A Northwest Conference Tournament on Friday, Feb. 12.
We’ve talked all year about energy
Lynden coach Rob Adams, pointing out how the Lions continued to bring energy even though they shot only 4 for 14 in the opening quarter
Kooiman’s shots weren’t falling as often as usual, but she worked ferociously for 18 rebounds, all in the first three quarters, and played lights-out defense to help the Lions bolt to a 39-3 run after they trailed 14-10.
“Elisa definitely inspired us. She made us work harder,” said Neria, who played like she was indeed inspired with game highs of 13 points and six assists.
18 The rebound total Lynden’s Elisa Kooiman had in three quarters of the Lions’ 58-23 win over Sedro-Woolley.
Coach Rob Adams, thrilled with Kooiman’s intensity, said Neria put it perfectly.
“Elisa and I have spent numerous times talking about what her career legacy is going to be,” Adams said. “She knows she has to lead by example and do all the other stuff besides scoring.”
Lynden will play at 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 15, against Shorecrest (11-9), a 51-24 winner over Lakewood (14-7). Sedro-Woolley will meet Lakewood at 4 p.m. in a loser-out game.
WHAT IT MEANS
If the Lions win Monday, they will clinch a spot in the state regionals and also gain the chance to defend their district title.
A SUPERB SEVEN
Neria, Sierra Smith (11 points), Emily Holt (9) and Amos (7) enjoyed their best combined game and gave the Lions the balance and energy they need when Kooiman (9 points) has an off-shooting game. The foursome combined to shoot 13 for 24 with six 3-pointers. Lauren Zwiers contributed three steals, three assists, four points and four rebounds, and Mariah Gonzalez had four second-half rebounds.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
… After six different Lions scored on a 16-0 second-quarter run, Neria opened the second half with a 3 and a steal for a layup and Holt made her second and third 3-pointers as part of a 12-0 run and a 38-16 bulge. At that point, the intense Lions had played with so much poise that they had been whistled for only three fouls.
Lynden 58, Sedro-Woolley 23
Sedro-Woolley: Taylor Torgeson 7, Mikayela Nutting 4, Samantha Cox 4, Kate Morgan 2, Jordan Stapleton 2, Maren Mihelich 4, Taylor Manning 0, Kristina Norris 0, Zoe Demming 0, Mariko Meyer 0.
Lynden: Elisa Kooiman 9, Jasmyne Neria 13, Lauren Zwiers 4, Mariah Gonzalez 2, Natalie Amos 7, Emily Holt 9, Sierra Smith 11, Heidi Lankhaar 3, Olivia Bonsen 0, Morgan Black 0, Kyla Bonsen 0, Ali VanZanten 0.