LAKEWOOD Losing to Lynden in their Feb. 21 playoff opener didnt seem like such a bad thing for Lakewood girls basketball.
The way the regionals bracket was designed, the winner of their game would face Anacortes, the states top-ranked 2A girls team, a team considered among the best in the state at any level.
Were feeling pretty good about our chances, Lakewood coach Chris Walster said after his teams victory, that would pit them against Sehome, who played Anacortes in their opener.
Except Sehome surprised Anacortes in the first round, advancing to face Lynden. It pitted Anacortes against Lakewood in Mount Vernon for a loser-out game Feb. 23. Anacortes punished the Cougars for their previous loss, winning 78-52 and ending a memorable season of Lakewood basketball.
Despite the loss to Lynden, things had looked up for the Cougars. Lakewood kept the game close for three quarters, thanks to an early offensive run by junior guard Anna Work and senior post Jennifer Lind. While the girls combined for 32 points, Lakewood was unable to accomplish much else offensively. Lynden, on the other hand, had meaningful contributions from four players, led by junior Brandi Benners 16 points and sophomore Kellie Fluits 14, to keep pace with Lind and Work. The output by the rest of their team put them over the top.
But before learning of his teams match-up with Anacortes, Walster was optimistic about Lakewoods playoff future. Reliable scorers Aly Stewart and Jeneca Hoidal had combined for just nine points against Lynden with a strong effort from the two seniors, Lakewood should be able to play against almost anybody.
The people usually depended on … didnt hit one until late, he explained. If we can get those guys back on track, well be in great shape.
The game was also characterized by a smothering defensive effort from Work, who would often announce her presence to whoever she was covering by bumping and aggressively getting the girls back.
She has been kind of our defensive leader on the nights when she harnesses her overaggressive play, Walster said. Shes diving for a ball with three-tenths of a second left and never quits.
Lakewood retires five seniors Karli Hesselman, Emily Steinborn, Stewart, Hoidal and Lind. The Cougars finished the season with a 10-4 conference record.
At Lakewood H.S.
Lakewood 12 13 10 10 45
Lynden 17 10 15 14 55
Lakewood Hesselman 4, Stewart 6, Hoidal 3, Work 12, Lind 20. Lynden Toronchuk 4, Benner 16, Salminen 4, Miller 2, Korthuis 8, Swanson 7, Fluit 14. 3-point goals Work 2, Hoidal 1, Benner 4, Korthuis 1, Swanson 1.
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