Lynden’s loss during the Class 2A state championship against Shorecrest left the Lions thinking “what if?”
But there was no doubting the contributions of junior post Mariah Gonzalez, or her toughness.
“She is a warrior, and she always has that warrior spirit,” Lynden coach Rob Adams said.
Gonzalez finished with nine points, all of which came during the first half, and she gave Lynden a huge boost when it needed it.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
Gonzalez said each teammate established goals before they took the court for their 2A title game, and her objective was to fight for her teammates.
So when the Lions were struggled to solve Shorecrest’s 2-3 zone and leading scorer Elisa Kooiman had a hard time getting going early on, there was Gonzalez offering a helping hand.
“Before the game we all set goals, and my goal was just to do it for my team, so when I realized they weren’t scoring, I tried to pick them up by scoring a lot of points,” Gonzalez said.
By the 5:50 mark in the second quarter she had nearly doubled her 4.9 points per game average.
Just the fact Gonzalez was even competing during the Hardwood Classic was impressive given the news she had received earlier in the week.
Gonzalez’s shoulder had been bandaged up all tournament long due to an injury she had sustained earlier in the year.
“The past week I noticed it more,” Gonzalez said. “I was told I had a torn labrum, but he said I was good enough to play.”
Unfortunately, Gonzalez wasn’t able to finish the 2A title game. With around five minutes left in the fourth she took a hard shot to the shoulder, which sent her to the ground writhing in pain.
“Mariah is a workhorse,” Adams said. “Between her, Jasmyne Neria and Lauren (Zwiers), they all played really hard all tournament long.”