3/2/19: The Lynden Lions pose for a team photo after winning the 2A state championship in the Yakima SunDome. PHOTO: Ted House
REPEAT: Lynden Boys Rule 2A Again
March 3, 2019
Back to back. It's a repeat for Lynden boys basketball as 2A state champions for the second straight year. The Lions survived a second half scare Saturday night at the Yakima SunDome to beat Selah 60-51. The win gives Lynden their 10th boys basketball state title overall.
Senior post Clayton Whitman led the Lions with 19 points and 9 rebounds to claim his second straight tournament MVP. Christian Zamora turned in a 19 point 11 rebound double-double. The senior swingman earned 2nd team All Tourney honors.
The top-seeded Lions built a lead as big as 21 points midway through the 3rd quarter before the No. 7 Vikings made a run to cut the lead down to 5 into the final 5 minutes of the 4th quarter. Elijah Pepper led the charge with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, his brother Noah Pepper added 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Lynden responded with a 10-5 run over the final 2:30 of the game to put it into the win column. Speaking on the NFHS/Eli Network postgame show Whitman said it's always fun to finish with a close game.
"I don't want to finish sitting on the bench." said Whitman. "It got a little bit too close with 5 points, but then we just fought back and extended the lead."
The big difference came from long range. The Lions nailed four more 3-balls than Selah, outscoring the Vikings 24-to-12 from beyond the arc. Lynden also won the rebounding battle 39-29 and doubled up Selah on second chance points at 12-to-6.
Lynden coach Brian Roper told the NFHS/Eli Network postgame show he was proud of his guys and how they responded after seeing their big lead cut down to size.
"Our kids were really positive. You know it''s hard to lose a lead like that, but they stayed together, said Roper. "They kept talking... hey we're up, we've got 5 minutes to go, let's get some stops and guys started making plays."
Lynden finishes the year with a record of 26-and-1. It's the third time the Lions have won back-to-back state championships also pulling off the feat in the 1961 and 1962 season as well as the 1990 and 1991 campaigns.
- Doug Lange
The Lynden boys celebrate winning the 2A state championship. PHOTO: Ted House