1A Girls State Basketball Preview

By David Krueger

Herald Writer @Krueger_David

Thursday's Quarterfinals

King’s vs. Columbia (Burbank), 3:45 p.m.

Zillah vs. Nooksack Valley, 5:30 p.m.

Kalama vs. Granger, 7:15 p.m.

Lynden Christian vs. Cashmere, 9 p.m.

The Favorite

Lynden Christian. The Lyncs come into the tournament as the top-ranked team in the state and have won 13 of their past 14 games. Lynden Christian’s two losses this season came against Snohomish, a team that is in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, and rival Lynden — a 2A team that is also still vying for a state championship. The Lyncs have defeated fellow 1A state contenders Nooksack Valley (twice) and King’s this season.

The Dark Horse

Kalama. The Chinooks (19-5) have a pair of posts in Kaelyn Shipley and Parker Esary who could pose matchup problems for just about anyone. Shipley, a 6-foot junior forward, averages 19.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, and Esary, a 6-1 junior post, is right behind her at 19.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest. The Chinooks have won 10 of their past 11 games, with their only setback in that span a 56-53 loss to La Center in the 1A District 4 title game on Feb. 19.

Player to watch

Kara Bajema, forward, Lynden Christian. The senior averages 14.6 points per game for the top-ranked Lyncs. Bajema is a 6-foot-2 post who is closing out an impressive career for Lynden Christian, which is competing in the state tournament for the 12th consecutive season.

Did you know?

Lynden Christian has won 10 1A state titles, the most by any school in that classification and double the next-highest total (Colfax with five). The Lyncs have placed second five times, making it to 15 state-title games in the past 40 years.

Game we want to see

Lynden Christian vs. King’s in the 1A state championship. The Knights and Lyncs have won the past two Class 1A state titles. King’s won the championship last year with a decisive 43-27 victory over Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), and Lynden Christian won in 2014, defeating King’s 55-40. A rematch for the 2016 title would make for an exciting game.

Prediction

Lynden Christian gets past Cashmere in the semifinals and King’s tops Zillah. The Lyncs and the Knights meet for the state championship for the second time in three years, with King’s clinching back-to-back titles with an overtime victory.