YAKIMA — Lynden jumped out to an early lead Friday night at the Yakima Valley SunDome and Mark Morris could never catch up, losing the 2A State semifinal, 67-43.
The Monarchs play at 1 p.m. for third place against the loser of Foss or W.F. West.
“Our goal was to come here and play for a state championship,” MM coach Bill Bakamus said. “We realize now that’s not going to happen.
“I’ve got a bunch of kids with sad hearts in our locker room right now. But we’ve got a good spirit on our ballclub. Hopefully we’ll get off the mat and play well tomorrow.”
Garrett Berger led the Monarchs with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting. But the rest of his teammates shot 27 percent from the field.
Tyler Berger reached double figures with 12 but no other Monarch made more than two field goals.
The Monarchs stayed close for the first half thanks to defensive effort but watched the Lions pull away in the second half — their largest lead was the final score.
“They got us discombobulated offensively. We weren’t able to find a rhythm,” Bakamus said. “Their defense kept us from getting many open looks.”
Offensively, the Lions, who evened the state series record with MM at 2-2, used their physical edge to score.
Clayton Whitman led Lynden, who will play the Foss-WF West winner for the title, with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Christian Zamora added 18 on 6-for-8 shooting.
“Hats off to Lynden. They’re a fine basketball team,” said Bakamus. “They’ve got physicality. Size, strength, athleticism. They’re well put together and able to play for a full 32 minutes.”
Mark Morris is guaranteed its first state placing since 2014, when the Monarchs finished sixth. They can finish third for the third time in program history. They also accomplished the feat in 2002 and 2008.
The Monarchs missed the chance to play in their first championship game since 2007, when they lost to Lynden 62-44.