Perennial power Lynden Christian took its first step toward winning its eighth state championship by overwhelming the visiting Coupeville High School girls basketball team 55-18 in the opening round of the district tournament Monday, Feb. 4.
Coupeville (6-15) will try to avoid elimination when it travels to South Whidbey (11-11) for a loser-out game at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. The two teams split their Cascade Conference matches this season.
Lynden Christian (18-3) used a relentless defense to roll by the Wolves. Coupeville handled the Lyncs' pressure early, but midway through the first quarter what was a trickle of turnovers became a wide-open faucet.
Lynden Christian turned four turnovers into eight points to jump to a 12-5 first quarter lead. Then came the flood.
Coupeville started the second period with five consecutive turnovers which the Lyncs converted into 10 points.
By the time the quarter was over, Coupeville failed to score and LC led 30-5.
It could have been worse, but Lynden Christian missed a handful of put-backs and connected on only four of 10 free throws.
For the game, the Lyncs scored 27 points off 40 Coupeville turnovers.
The mistakes and Lynden Christian's defense limited Coupeville's offensive opportunities. The Wolves shot only 13 percent (2-for-15) the first half and finished the game shooting 27.7 percent (8-for-30).
Bree Messner hit a hoop with 3:12 left in the first quarter, and the Wolves wouldn't hit a field goal again for 14 minutes when Bessie Walstad scored 90 seconds into the second half.
Thanks to the turnovers and an 18-5 edge in offensive rebounds, LC put up over twice as many shots (61) than Coupeville, hitting 24 (39 percent).
Lynden Christian pulled off its press in the second half, but its aggressive man-to-man defense continued to frustrate the Wolves. LC led 40-10 heading into the final period.
Walstad scored six points and had two assists to lead Coupeville. Messner finished with four points, while Kacie Kiel, Lauren Escalle, Makana Stone and Hailey Hammer had two each. Hammer collected a team-high eight rebounds.
Lynden Christian showed off its depth as 10 players scored and no starter played more than 21 minutes. Courtney Hollander hit five of six shots for 10 points and added five assists and five steals.