MOUNT VERNON — Sophomore post Payton Mills scored 18 points for Lynden and the Lions bolted to a second straight 2A District 1 championship appearance with a 60-20 thumping of Sehome on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Mount Vernon High School.
It was a wire-to-wire win for top-seeded Lynden (22-1), which is in pursuit of its first 2A state championship since 2020 following consecutive first-round state exits from 2021–23.
Lynden head coach Rob Adams, who led the Lions to that last title before taking two seasons off, said the dominant postseason win over a county rival was a testament to the team “trending in the right direction.”
“We’re having to do so much learning in real-time,” Adams said. “Like I’ve been saying all year, this is one of the most difficult years I’ve had because we’re trying to teach standards and collective responsibility and culture, and we’re doing that all while we’re throwing the ball up and trying to keep score.”
Adams complimented his team’s defense, noting it’s been an emphasis as they try to avoid repeat postseason collapses that can come simply from having a poor offensive night.
That focus has paid off, as the Lions didn’t allow Sehome to eclipse more than nine points in any of the game’s four quarters.
“They’ve done a remarkable job of being coachable, they’ve really bought in, they’ve stayed connected, and I think in the last couple ballgames we’re trending in the right way defensively,” Adams said. “At the end of the day, defense always travels.”
For No. 4 Sehome (12-7), its previous season-low scoring output was 30 points. Head coach Kim Stensgar said they understand the mission Lynden is on and were aware it was going to be a difficult contest.
“We knew coming into this game that we were going to have to probably pull off nothing short of a miracle,” Stensgar said. “That’s a team [Lynden] that’s out to make a statement about what’s happened to them in the last two seasons, and like they’re taking no prisoners.”
It was utter domination by Lynden from the tip-off, as the Lions did not allow a single field goal to Sehome in the first quarter.
The Mariners’ lone point in the first eight minutes was on a free throw by senior guard Madi Cooper. Lynden closed out the first quarter leading 21-1, and the Lions led 28-1 early in the second quarter.
The lid finally came off the basket for Sehome a few minutes into the second quarter when senior guard Emmy Hart knocked down a 3-pointer — beginning a 9-4 run by the Mariners that included a pair of triples from senior post Natalie Brewer.
Lynden then shut down the Mariners’ offense for the remainder of the first half, and an 8-0 Lions’ run to conclude the second quarter made it 40-10 at halftime.
“I thought, as far as a half of basketball, I thought that was as well as we have played defensively [this season],” Adams said.
Both defenses tightened up in the third quarter, leading to a combined 11 points in the period. With its firm 48-13 lead, the Lions cruised to victory — and its second straight district championship berth.
Sophomore post Rian Stephan and junior post Kiki York each scored nine points for Lynden, while freshman guard Finley Parcher added seven.
Sehome was led by Brewer’s six points while senior guard Emmy Hart had four.
“We’re enjoying the experience. We’re trying to make it as far as we can,” Stensgar said. “We’ve got a really good group of seniors that have worked really hard and deserve to have this experience and end on a positive note.”
Lynden now heads to a 2A District 1 championship game against No. 2 Archbishop Murphy (18-4) at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
Sehome will need three more wins to reach the 2A state tournament, beginning with a consolation quarterfinal game against No. 6 Anacortes (11-11) at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Connor J. Benintendi is CDN’s sports editor; reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-922-3090 ext. 104.