Lynden Christian had to wait a year for the chance to redeem itself after losing in the Hardwood Classic’s opening round last winter. As if the 364 days weren’t enough, the tournament draw gave LC another excruciating wait before redemption could be earned.
But tipping off at the 9 p.m. time slot Thursday, March 3, gave the Lyncs plenty of time to think about how much a semifinal berth would mean.
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“Last year coming off a loss in the first game I think it was just like, ‘We are going into this, and we are not losing,’” Lynden Christian senior forward Kara Bajema said. “That was kind of going through our heads, especially us seniors.”
And when adversity hit this time, the Lyncs were ready.
Twice Cashmere put Lynden Christian on its heels during the second half, trying to wrestle the game’s momentum. But both times LC responded in impressive fashion, earning a 51-40 Class 1A State Tournament quarterfinal win Thursday night, March 3, at the Yakima SunDome.
30 Number of points Kara Bajema and Haley Hollander combined for
The win advances Lynden Christian to the Class 1A State Tournament semifinals where the Lyncs will face Granger at 9 p.m. Friday, March 4.
Bajema finished with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds, Hollander scored 14 and hauled in seven boards and Avery Dykstra had eight points.
“We talked about when the storm comes, we have to stick together,” LC coach Brady Bomber said. “A lot of things might not go our way that we can’t control, but the things we can control, if we take care of those and do those things, we still have a chance to win.”
The Lyncs first faced pressure when they got into early foul trouble. Reserve’s Riley Van Hulzen and Emmalee Bailey provided Lynden Christian critical minutes. Van Hulzen had six points and took three charges, and Bailey converted two 3-pointers during important moments.
We got into foul trouble early, and Riley Van Hulzen and Emmalee Bailey came off the bench and made huge plays for us.
Lynden Christian coach Brady Bomber
During a back-and-forth start to the first quarter, LC captured the game’s momentum when in one possession the Lyncs scored five points. Bailey hit a 3, and on the shot Lynden Christian was fouled. Moments later Hollander made a layup giving the Lyncs an 11-6 advantage LC would never relinquish.
Lynden Christian extended its lead to 34-23 with 2:55 to play in the third, but Cashmere’s Cami Knishka hit two 3s during the quarter’s final 12 seconds, pulling the Bulldogs to 37-32.
“We were only up five, but it didn’t matter,” Bajema said. “We weren’t going to get frazzled.”
Cashmere used a 6-0 run midway through the fourth, trimming LC’s lead to 41-38, but Hollander scored four straight points to help turn the Bulldogs’ rally away.
Lynden Christian 51, Cashmere 40
Lynden Christian: Isabela Hernandez 0, Haley Hollander 14, Shaye Brandsma 0, Kara Bajema 16, Sam Van Loo 5, Riley Van Hulzen 2, Avery Dykstra 8, Emmalee Bailey 6.
Cashmere: Molly Thies 0, Cassidy Boyd 2, Jade Jaspers 0, Ellen Sangster 0, Cami Knishka 15, Makenna Faulkner 9, Sydnee Mongeon 2, Abbie Johnson 12.