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State hoops Day 2: Five Whatcom County basketball teams advance to state semifinals

Live results from Thursday's quarterfinal games

Five of the six Whatcom County teams that reached quarterfinal games in the Class 1B, 1A and 2A state basketball tournaments won their matchups on Thursday, Feb. 29.

Lynden and Lynden Christian’s pair of teams are both off to semifinal contests at the Yakima Valley SunDome, as well as the Nooksack Valley girls. All five teams won their quarterfinal games by at least 13 points.

The top-seeded Lummi Nation boys were upset in their 1B state quarterfinal at the Spokane Arena to No. 7 Mossyrock, ending their title hopes with a now-best placement of fourth or sixth for the Blackhawks.

All semifinal matchups are set for Friday, March 1.

1B/2B state tournaments: Spokane Arena

  • 1B boys consolation semifinal: No. 1 Lummi Nation (22-2) vs. No. 6 Cusick (21-4), 9 a.m.

1A/2A state tournaments: Yakima Valley SunDome

  • 1A boys semifinal: No. 2 Lynden Christian (23-2) vs. No. 3 Annie Wright (23-1), 5:30 p.m.
  • 2A girls semifinal: No. 2 Lynden (25-1) vs. No. 5 Clarkston (25-1), 5:30 p.m.
  • 2A boys semifinal: No. 1 Lynden (22-4) vs. No. 11 Bremerton (19-8), 7:15 p.m.
  • 1A girls semifinal: No. 1 Nooksack Valley (24-1) vs. No. 5 Wapato (23-4), 7:15 p.m.
  • 1A girls semifinal: No. 3 Lynden Christian (19-7) vs. No. 2 Deer Park (25-0), 9 p.m.

THURSDAY’S RECAPS

Trio of double-digit scorers lead No. 3 LC to win over No. 4 King’s

Lynden Christian’s Grace Hintz steps back for a fadeaway jumper. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

YAKIMA — Three double-digit scorers led the No. 3 Lynden Christian girls to a textbook 1A state quarterfinal win over No. 4 King’s on Thursday, Feb. 29 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The trio was led by Lyncs junior Grace Hintz (16 points), who didn’t return from an offseason knee injury until Jan. 11. LC (19-7), which has played in each of the last five state championship games, is glad to have Hintz back in the lineup with March just one day away.

“We had a period of time without Grace where girls had different roles they had to fill in different opportunities,” LC head coach Brady Bomber said, “and I think you saw girls improve over the course of our season — even though we were taking some lumps and losing some tough games.”

Hintz added six rebounds and four steals to her quality night. Junior forward Allison Shumate finished with 14 points, while sophomore guard Ella Fritts had 10.

“Meanwhile, in the background, Grace was working really hard to get back,” Bomber said. “It’s gone through a period of time where you’re trying to grow your team and improve. Now I feel like we’re playing our best basketball.”


LC knocked King’s (17-11) into the consolation bracket, while the Lyncs head to a semifinal game against either No. 2 Deer Park (24-0) or No. 9 Cashmere (20-5) at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

Lynden Christian’s Ella Fritts splits two defenders on her way to the basket. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

In the first half, LC was perfectly balanced. The Lyncs built up a 36-21 lead at the break, as Hintz (nine points), Shumate (nine) and Fritts (six) led a group of eight total Lyncs that were in the scoring column after two quarters.

“We really wanted to start fast today,” Bomber added. “We worked all week on wanting to hit that first game on Thursday at full speed, being aggressive. I’m proud of our girls. We shared the ball really well tonight.”

The biggest statistical outlier was King’s had 11 first-half turnovers to LC’s two, allowing the Lyncs to take 10 more shots (and make more than twice as many).

Senior post Tabby DeJong bolstered the Lyncs’ defense, adding four points and 10 rebounds.

LC’s lead marginally increased with each passing quarter. The Lyncs were ahead of King’s by as much as 20 in the third quarter and held a 17-point advantage at the end of the period.

The highlight for the Knights was sophomore guard Kaleo Anderson, who had a game-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds.

King’s made a late push in the fourth quarter, as Anderson continued her impressive night. Her pull-up 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining sparked the Knights, trimming their deficit to 13, and they got LC’s lead as low as 11. LC extended it back to 13, in what would also be the final margin.

— Connor J. Benintendi, Sports Editor

No. 2 Lynden boys shake off slow start, trounce No. 10 Sammamish

Lynden’s Anthony Canales (21) smiles as he draws a foul late in the game Thursday, Feb. 29 as Lynden beat Sammamish 58-41 in the 2A state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

YAKIMA — Junior forward Brant Heppner scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds and the No. 2 Lynden boys beat No. 10 Sammamish, 58-39, in a 2A state quarterfinal Thursday, Feb. 29 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Lynden (22-4), the two-time defending 2A state champion, simply stayed on schedule by reaching another semifinal — now heading to their eighth in a row. The Lions have won four titles since 2018, and Heppner made it apparent they aren’t satisfied.

“[There’s] no time to celebrate. It’s time to move on,” Heppner said. “We’ve got a game tomorrow — a tough team tomorrow … today may not cut it tomorrow.”

The Lions will face No. 11 Bremerton at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, March 1 for a spot in the title game. Sammamish (19-9) dropped into the consolation bracket.

Sammamish was determined to slow Lynden’s offense early. Both teams combined for 10 points through nearly the first seven minutes of the opening quarter.

The Redhawks entered the second quarter with a narrow 8-7 lead after eight opening minutes of turnovers, fastbreaks and quality shot contests at the rim.

Sophomore Rakin Showki was Sammamish’s leading scorer, but he wasn’t efficient. Showki scored eight points on 3-for-11 shooting in the first half (finishing 6 for 17), and the Redhawks shot 27% as a team in that same span.

Lynden’s Brant Heppner looks up at the basket as two Sammamish players try to time their blocks. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

The second quarter housed five lead changes alone. Heppner became the offensive focal point in the period for Lynden, as he nailed three triples in the first half and led the Lions with 13 points at halftime.

“I felt once we started going inside to Brant, were able to create some easy shots,” Lynden head coach Brian Roper said. “It wasn’t our A-game, but this time of year, it’s about finding a way to win.”

With Heppner’s help, Lynden concluded the half on a 16-7 run to lead by eight at the break.

Lynden led by as much as 17 in the third quarter before Sammamish found a tinge of momentum. Roper burned a timeout midway through the period after Sammamish trimmed the Lions’ lead to 10, but that was soon extended back to 15 by the end of the third quarter.

Sammamish never pulled close in the fourth quarter, as the Redhawks finished the game shooting 30% from the field. Lynden didn’t have its best night, shooting 41% overall.

Senior guard Anthony Canales, who recently became the program’s all-time leading scorer, had a down night scoring with 14 points, but he did have 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

“We don’t even think about it; we just play,” Heppner said of picking up the offensive burden. “I mean, we know each other’s game. We’re going to pick each other up … we’re going to help each other. That’s the whole team — not just me and him.”

— Connor J. Benintendi, Sports Editor

Top-seeded Nooksack Valley girls roll to semifinals

Nooksack Valley’s Devin Coppinger gets an uncontested layup Thursday, Feb. 29 as Nooksack Valley beat Seattle Academy 60-22 in the 1A state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

YAKIMA — The No. 1 Nooksack Valley girls opened play in the 1A state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 29, like they’ve done a state-run before, walloping No. 10 Seattle Academy, 60-22, at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The Pioneers (24-1) began defense of their first state title in team history with an eye toward another gold ball. And they used plenty of defense to make it happen.

Nooksack Valley showcased a 10-3 spurt to start the game, creating a cushion over the Cardinals. The Pioneers continued to accelerate offensively to squash any Seattle Academy (16-10) hopes. Then, in the second half, it was all about defense, holding the Cardinals without a field goal for the final 15:30 of the game.

“That’s great,” Devin Coppinger said about the second-half defense. “It is always that we are going to hustle and play our best defense.”

The win sends the Pioneers into the state semifinals against No. 5 Wapato at 7:15 p.m. on Friday.

Nooksack Valley showed more scoring weapons than Coppinger, the reigning state tournament MVP. The four other Nooksack Valley starters all scored before the senior took a shot, but that doesn’t mean Coppinger didn’t make her presence felt throughout the contest.

Nooksack Valley’s Lainey Kimball leaps for a shot at the basket. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Coppinger led the Pioneers with 21 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Senior Tana Hoekema added 10 points and seven rebounds, senior Lainey Kimball had seven points and eight rebounds, and sophomore Grace DeHoog had nine rebounds. Sophomore Payton Bartl knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to provide a spark.

“It is my favorite thing seeing my teammates do their thing,” Coppinger said. “I have confidence in every single person on my team. They can all score.”

Nooksack Valley head coach Shane Wichers said playing a lot of girls means any one player can get the team going.

“It could be anybody, anytime,” he said.

The Pioneers led 22-11 after the first quarter and held a 36-19 halftime advantage. Nooksack Valley shot 50% from both the field and the 3-point line in the first half and continued to pour it on in the third quarter, holding Seattle Academy to one made field goal and three total points in the entire half, all of it coming in the first few seconds of the half. The Pioneers led 47-22 after three, making the final eight minutes void of drama.

“They had a tough game last night, so we knew fatigue could be an issue,” Wichers said, adding the defensive focus was “don’t let them go right and keep them off the boards.”

This is the third straight season the Pioneers have advanced to the state semifinals. They won both their past two appearances.

The Pioneers have a mix of experience and youth, but Coppinger said they have confidence in each other up and down the roster.

“Anyone,” she said, “can step out there and give it what they have.”

— Tim Newcomb, CDN Contributor

Lynden girls survive poor shooting in 2A girls quarterfinal win

Lynden players give a thumbs up Thursday, Feb. 29 after the Lions beat Columbia River 50-34 in the 2A state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

YAKIMA — Shooting in the Yakima Valley SunDome can take a bit of acclimating, and No. 2 Lynden missed its first 12 3-point attempts before draining its 13th en route to a 50-34 victory over No. 8 Columbia River in the 2A state quarterfinals Thursday, Feb. 29.

The win sends the Lions (25-1) to the state semifinals against No. 5 Clarkston (25-1) on Friday, March 1 — the Lions’ first final-four appearance since winning the state championship in 2020.

Lynden controlled much of the game, but the Lions’ poor shooting allowed the Rapids to remain in touching distance for just over a half of play. The first triple didn’t come until 6:41 left in the fourth quarter, and it was the Lions’ only one on the afternoon, shooting just 1-for-18 from distance.

“We shot a whopping 5 percent from the 3-point line and still managed to win the game by 16, so credit to our kids for a great defensive effort and rebounding,” Lynden head coach Rob Adams said. “We’re going to chalk that up to the first day of the dome, playing like this, and hopefully we shoot better tomorrow.”

With Lynden’s shaky shooting, the Lions went inside, relying on sophomore post Payton Mills and freshman guard Finley Parcher. Mills ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Parcher had 13. Junior post Kiki York scored eight for Lynden.

Lynden’s Rian Stephan grabs a rebound over two Rapids players. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Lynden gave up a 3-pointer to start the game, but then went on a 9-0 run to take control of the first quarter. After leading by as much as nine in the second quarter, the Rapids closed the gap to 22-19 at halftime, one of the lowest scoring outputs for the Lions in a first half all season.

Lynden shot 0-for-10 from the 3-point line and just 34% in the half. Columbia River hit five 3-pointers in the first half.

Shortly after the half, a pair of Mills buckets and another two from Parcher helped the Lions open a 10-point lead halfway through the quarter. The Lions continued to pull away for the remainder of the contest.

Lynden doubled up Columbia River in total rebounds (40-20), led by Mills and Parcher (seven). Senior Haylee Koetje added five rebounds and three assists.

The Lions are seeking their 13th state trophy and fourth 2A state title after winning it all in 2009, 2017 and 2020.

“This is what we’re used to,” said Adams, who led Lynden to all three of its championships before taking a two-year break after the 2020 title. “[During] my first go-around here, you’re used to playing on Saturday.”

— Connor J. Benintendi, Sports Editor

Lynden Christian steamrolls familiar foe King’s in 1A boys quarterfinals

Lynden Christian players celebrate as their name is moved to the semifinal slot of the bracket Thursday, Feb. 29, after beating King’s 61-32 in the 1A state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

YAKIMA — No. 2 Lynden Christian used a potent 27-point third quarter to fuel a 61-32 win over No. 9 King’s in the 1A boys state quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

It was the first non-championship state meeting between the two programs since 2018, after playing in the final game of the year each of the past three seasons.

“It was a little weird at the start, but it was kind of fun to play them early in a different scenario, other than just a championship game,” Senior forward Jeremiah Wright said.

LC (23-2) has now won the past three postseason matchups as Class 1A’s two-time defending champions, and the Lyncs sent King’s (17-9) into the consolation bracket far earlier than the Knights are accustomed to.

Wright, the reigning 1A state tournament MVP, led the Lyncs with 18 points (7-of-10 shooting), 10 rebounds, two steals and a block.

The Lyncs are headed to a semifinal matchup against No. 3 Annie Wright (23-1) following the win, and that game will be at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1. By reaching the semifinals, LC is also now guaranteed a trophy.

Lynden Christian’s Gannon Dykstra throws a no-look pass. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Junior guard Gannon Dykstra did most of the heavy lifting for LC in the first quarter, dropping in eight of the Lyncs’ 14 points in the period. LC’s five-point lead after one quarter ballooned in the second, largely because of its defense.

King’s didn’t score until there was 2:39 remaining in the second quarter. LC forced the Knights into exclusively mid-range and 3-point shots, and the rim was not in their favor. Meanwhile, LC built a 22-12 while holding the Knights to just 26% shooting in the first two quarters.

Nobody on the Knights scored more than seven points in the game.

Wright capped off the second quarter with a one-handed dunk with about six seconds left and LC led 27-16 at halftime.

Junior forward Luke VanKooten, senior guard Dawson Bouma and Dykstra started firing away from 3-point range in the third quarter, and the Lyncs caught fire. Dykstra finished with 13 points while VanKooten had nine — all on 3-pointers.

LC embarked on a 25-4 run over the first six minutes of the period to put the game out of reach early. Overall, the Lyncs outpaced King’s 34-16 in the second half.

“We kind of regrouped at halftime and coach [Tim Zylstra] gave us some pointers in there and we just executed it,” Wright said. “Everyone came out and started making shots that we were not making in the first half.”

— Connor J. Benintendi, Sports Editor

Mossyrock knocks off top-seeded Lummi in stunner

Lummi Nation junior forward Karson Revey drives the lane Thursday, Feb. 29 as the Blackhawks fell to Mossyrock, 59-43, in the boys 1B state quarterfinals at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. (Photo by Joshua Hart)

SPOKANE — All streaks eventually end. For Lummi Nation’s boys basketball team, a 22-game winning streak screeched to a halt at the worst possible time on Thursday, Feb. 29 at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. A surging Mossyrock, fresh off a momentous round-of-12 win, toppled the top-ranked Blackhawks 59-43 in the 1B state quarterfinals.

The No. 7-ranked Vikings advance to play No. 4 Desales in the semifinals at 3:45 p.m. Lummi Nation now falls into the consolation bracket, where it will play No. 6 Cusick at 9 a.m. Friday, March 1, in a loser-out game. The best the Blackhawks can finish is fourth place.

“They came out firing on all cylinders and we just didn’t step up like we needed to today,” Lummi coach Jerome Toby said. “The boys played hard but we didn’t execute at the level we need to when you get over here to Spokane.”

So what went so differently in Lummi’s quarterfinal defeat compared to the teams’ first meeting in December — a 73-53 Blackhawks win?

First and foremost, the Vikings shifted to a box-and-one, keyed in on shutting down sophomore standout guard Jerome Toby, who shares a name with his father and coach. It was a scheme opponents have tried against the Blackhawks this year, albeit with little success.

But in the vast expanse of the Spokane Arena, Lummi Nation shot just 39% (16 of 41) from the field and 32% (6 of 19) from beyond the arc. Toby finished with a team-high 11 points; junior Tony Abrams added 10 points and six rebounds.

Lummi Nation freshman guard Dyson Edwards is fouled by Mossyrock junior guard Easton Kolb. (Photo by Joshua Hart)

“Today, shots weren’t falling so they stayed in it,” coach Toby said. “You need some other guys to make some baskets, and today, we didn’t get any.”

With a lid on the bucket, Lummi Nation pushed the issue and committed 25 turnovers as a result, the majority in the first half when Mossyrock built a 34-19 lead.

After a last-second victory over Summit Classical Christian the day before, the Vikings used the momentum to start strong and never slow. Zack Munoz finished with a game-high 31 points to lead the Vikings, and Easton Kolb added 14.

“This team’s beat us by 20, they are the No. 1 team. You can get a little freaked out about it,” Mossyrock coach Tom Kelly said of the feeling entering the game. “We needed to start right and we did. The (players) just kept getting more confident.”

Lummi rallied in the third quarter, though. Behind a 2-2-1 full-court press, the Blackhawks got several consecutive stops and Deandre James’ nifty post move cut the deficit to 36-29 with 4:05 to play in the frame.

Kolb responded with a 3-pointer for Mossyrock to make it double digits again. With the tides no longer surging toward the Blackhawks, the Vikings maintained their double-digit advantage until the reserves started to enter the game with 3 minutes left.

Lummi Nation, which lost its first game since the season opener against La Conner, can still compete for a trophy, their first since 2022 when they finished fourth.

“We get to lace them up again and not a lot of teams get to,” coach Toby said.

— Joshua Hart, CDN Contributor

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