Lynden coach Brian Roper’s nightmare scenario was realized.
“I thought our worst fear was that they would hurt us on the boards, and they out-rebounded us by 15,” said Roper of the Lions’ Class 2A District Tournament semifinal matchup against Wesco’s Shorecrest.
That was half of the equation that spawned a hard-to-swallow 63-44 postseason loss Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Mount Vernon High School.
Thirty-four percent shooting from the field and a 26-percent clip from distance was the other responsible party.
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The No. 2-ranked Lions trailed 46-41 entering the fourth quarter, but Lynden went ice cold during the game’s final eight minutes, watching shot after shot miss its mark.
3 Number of points Lynden scored during the fourth quarter
The Lions were outscored 17-3 in the final period. Lynden’s only field goal came via a Noah King 3-pointer with 1:43 to play.
“That’s just not going to get it done,” said Roper of Lynden’s atypical porous shooting night. “I just didn’t think it was possible for us to shoot this poorly, but give credit to Shorecrest.”
King, sporting a vivid black eye after taking a shot to the face early in the game, scored a team-high 14 points, Sterling Somers added 13 and 10 rebounds and Andrew Kivlighn chipped in 10 points.
The loss snapped Lynden’s 11-game win streak, and now it faces Anacortes in a district tournament loser-out game at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Mount Vernon High School. The Lions will need to win that game, plus one more, to earn a state regional berth.
Our offense definitely dried up in that fourth quarter. When you're working hard defensively ... there was sequence where we kept getting stops but we couldn't convert, and after a while it's hard to play from behind when you can't finish on a shot.
Lynden coach Brian Roper
Lynden started slow, falling behind 11-2 to Shorecrest, but the Lions rallied back to take their first lead, 24-23, with 3:35 to go until halftime.
An 8-1 Shorecrest run at the end of the third put the Scots in front 46-41, and the Lions never recovered.
Shorecrest guard Malcolm Rosier-Butler scored a game-high 24 points, and Phillip Pepple had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
If there is any team that can overcome disappointment and turn the page quick, it’s Lynden. The Lions have played plenty of big games, and there is no reason to believe any hangover will be present Thursday. “It’s disappointing,” Roper said, “but this is the time of the year it’s all about redirecting your emotion and focusing on the next game.”
The Lions looked like a shell of themselves during the final eight minutes. Lynden was getting defensive stops, but it simply couldn’t get the ball to go in. Three-point shots from reliable deep threats King and Kivlighn missed, and Somers couldn’t convert any of his one-on-ones.
Lynden’s lack of an inside, physical presence really showed. Give credit to Lions big man Davis Bode. He pulled down five boards and tried to hang with the ultra-physical Pepple, but the Scots got way too many second-chance opportunities.
Shorecrest 63, Lynden 44
Shorecrest: Malcolm Rosier-Butler 24, Chris Lee 4, Tobyn Lawson 14, Aubry Victor 6, Simon Acker 0, Steven Lin 0, Ben Smolen 0, Phillip Pepple 15.
Lynden: Noah King 14, Sterling Somers 13, Connor Shine 0, Andrew Kivlighn 10, Jordan Wittenberg 5, Christian Zamora 0, Davis Bode 2, James Marsh 0.