Saturday’s State 2A Boys Basketball: Bearcats Come Up Short Against Lynden in Championship Game
SO CLOSE: W.F. West’s Run in State Tournament Ends With Second Place Finish
By Matt Baide
YAKIMA — W.F. West’s run in the State 2A Boys Basketball Tournament saw them defeat the No. 2 team in the state and the defending state champions to earn a spot in Saturday’s title game.
The Bearcats didn’t quite have enough to win the state title, as Lynden led from start to finish to defeat W.F. West 57-53 to capture the state championship.
Brandon White led the Bearcats with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Bailey Cooper recorded 14 points and Jordan Thomas added 12 points.
“I’m really proud of them. I thought the halftime adjustment to go to the 3-2 zone, the kids really bought in and really battled hard and I was really proud of them,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “We didn’t shoot free throws particularly well, I think it was 57 percent. They’re heart was just as big as their body. I’m just so proud of them.”
Lynden’s Clayton Whitman and Christian Zamora each scored 17 points.
This game was much different than the game just a week ago in regionals, when Lynden defeated W.F. West 73-46 in Mount Vernon.
The Lions started off strong and led 14-5 after the first quarter and built the lead to 28-18 at halftime.
“Halftime we changed up our zone, it looked really good. It’s just a little different dynamic out there as far as matching up their perimeter guys,” White said. “Unfortunately, they found a couple high-lows and a couple sneaky little cuts in the middle that led to and-1’s and they were really big plays when it was real close. It was unfortunate.”
The defensive switch in the third quarter fueled the Bearcats back into the game, cutting the Lynden lead to 37-32 going into the fourth quarter.
W.F. West cut the lead to 42-39 with less than six minutes left in the game, but that was as close as the Bearcats would come as Lynden was able to pull away late and and clinch the win with some free throws to win the state championship.
“I just kept challenging my guys. I said hey, do you want the gold ball? We’ve got to go for it, we’ve got to be fighters,” White said. “I just told my guys in the locker room as much as this hurts, it’s been one heck of a ride and stories for life and family for life. The lesson you might get from this might be bigger than the gold ball in your life but you’ve got to keep your head up.”
Even with the loss, it was a tremendous run for W.F. West. The Bearcats started the tournament on Wednesday in a loser out game and defeated North Kitsap in overtime.
W.F. West then defeated No. 2 Selah in the quarterfinals and knocked off defending champion Foss in the semifinals.
“I can’t even begin to express how much it means to me and to our guys and to our staff and our community. I’m just really proud of these guys in all aspects of their life and I just, I know I’ll find strength,” White said. “It hurts really bad right now but I’ll find strength knowing that these guys are going to be winners in their lives. They’re going to be fine young men.”
White was able to coach his two son’s Brandon and Colby. Brandon is a senior and it was a special season to share as father and son.
“It was the best thing ever,” White said. “Sometimes, I warp ahead to when these days are long gone and how much I’m going to miss it, so it means a ton.”
LIONS 57, BEARCATS 53
Lynden 14 14 9 20 —57
W.F. West 5 13 14 21 —53
Lynden (53) — Elsner 6, Silves 9, Marsh 2, Whitman 17, Zamora 17, Heppner 4, Baar 2
FG: 18 of 41 —.439 FT: 15 of 28 —.536 Reb: 29 (Elsner, Whitman 7)
W.F. West (57) — Wollan 3, Thomas 12, White 17, White 3, Cooper 14, Dobyns 4
FG: 18 of 42 —.429 FT: 15 of 26 —.577 Reb: 29 (B. White 9)