The hardwood at Mount Vernon High School wasn’t all that kind to Lynden standout senior Sterling Somers in big games late last year.
In back-to-back games in the district championship and the regional round of the state tournament, Somers struggled to find his rhythm.
But it didn’t take him long to show that Saturday, Feb. 20, was going to be different — and it couldn’t have come at bigger moment, with his and his teammates’ season hanging in the balance. Somers scored 10 points on Lynden’s first four trips down the court to set the tone, as the Lions grabbed a 64-45 victory over Archbishop Murphy in the third-place game of the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament and earned a trip back to the regional round of the state tournament.
“I just wanted to come out and set the tone for our team and give us a spark,” Somers said. “Last year I felt my body was a little different. I worked hard to get ready this year. ... I felt like I was better prepared.”
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Somers couldn’t keep up the torrid scoring pace he set early, as he finished with 18 points, but he found plenty of other ways to impact the game, as he pulled down 16 rebounds, matching his season high, and dished out six assists.
“He’s a good scorer, but better than that, he’s a complete player,” Lynden coach Brain Roper said. “He can handle the ball, he can set guys up and rebounding is all about effort.”
The game was over when ...
Despite Lynden’s 10-0 run to start the game, the Wildcats managed to keep the game close through most of the next three quarters, but a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, keyed by three 3-pointers by Andrew Kivlighn stretched a nine-point lead to 21 with 3:30 to play.
I’ll take a dozen
With 6-foot-7 Abraham Lucas in the middle, Lynden resorted to its outside shot to take control of the game. The Lions finished with made 3-pointers — four from Kivlighn, three from Somers, two from Christian Zamora and one each from Noah King, Jordan Wittenberg and Marcos VanderVeen.
“Their 6-7 kid inside causes some problems,” Roper said. “There were some open looks. I felt like when we went inside-outside, the 3s had better rhythm and our percentage went up.”
Unsung hero of the game
Lynden’s Davis Bode did a good job battling Lucas in the middle, even though the Wildcats post finished with a double-double. Bode finished with six points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Lynden will wait until the WIAA regional draw on Sunday, Feb. 21., to find out who and where it will play in the regional round. Chances are the Lions will face a No. 1 or No. 2 seed and have to travel south as the No. 3 seed out of the Northwest District.
“We definitely wanted another week of practice with these guys,” Roper said. “Our theme tonight was find a way through.”
Lynden 64, Archbishop Murphy 45
Archbishop Murphy: Abraham Lucas 16, Andrew Carter 5, Trey Miller 0, Dillon Halpin 0, Jaylon Carter 7, Houston Schmutz 0, Josh Parafina 8, Darion Joseph 6, Bailey Halpin 3, Anfernee Gurley 0.
Lynden: Noah King 7, Clayton Whitman 0, Sterling Somers 18, Connor Shine 0, Andrew Kivlighn 14, Jordan Wittenberg 8, Christian Zamora 8, Davis Bode 6, James Marsh 0, Marcus VanderVeen 3, No. 4 0, No. 23 0.